Sarawak least reliant on using foreign construction workers in Malaysia

Datuk Ahmad 'Asri Abdul Hamid

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Oct 4: Sarawak is the State least reliant on the use of foreign construction workers in Malaysia, says Akademi Binaan Malaysia (ABM) chairman Datuk Ahmad ‘Asri Abdul Hamid.

He said according to a survey by ABM during the Covid-19 pandemic, only 30 to 40 per cent of the projects in Sarawak use foreign labour.

“Compared to other states such as Kelantan and Terengganu, 50 per cent of their construction workforce are foreign workers. Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor’s peak is at 85 to 90 per cent.

“So if there are a lot of infrastructure projects being implemented in Sarawak, this will benefit the local workforce.

“However, it is also important for us to move towards providing attractive fields that provide high salary,” he said during the ABM Sarawak and Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Technologies Graduation Ceremony at CIDB Convention Centre Sarawak here today.

He also commended the State government for establishing Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (Centexs) which is also capable of supplying workforce for the local construction industry apart from ABM and CIDB.

Additionally, Ahmad ‘Asri said it is a known fact that the construction industry in Malaysia is constantly facing issues such as low productivity, unsatisfactory levels of safety and quality, as well as dependence on unskilled foreign workers.

The construction industry is also associated with 3D (dirty, difficult and dangerous) jobs which does not attract the interest of local workers.

Following that, CIDB has taken steps to transform the industry by using new methods based on technology including Industrialised Building System (IBS), Building Information Modeling (BIM) and 3D printing.

“Will this burden the workers? No, because they will support.

“For an example, if we use IBS, we still need to use cranes and the operator must be trained with high-impact training.

“We no longer want to teach workers to lay bricks because our locals do not want to do that. But crane operators, they will like this because there is air-con in the machinery.

“If you want to make it even more attractive, pump up the salary. Then, people will be interested,” he added. — DayakDaily