By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Feb 25: The state government will consider reviewing the multiplier factor rates for engineering firms since it has not been reviewed since 2011, to cope with the increasing cost of construction projects.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state’s engineering fraternity under the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM) Sarawak Branch should form a committee with the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation and Ministry of Finance to discuss this matter in detail.
After that, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing could bring up the issue to the state cabinet to be deliberated and considered for approval.
“I would suggest that a committee be formed, representing ACEM, our Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation. Let us deliberate first then the government will look at the recommendation by this committee.
“Of course you have your basic data already. Just deliberate them, then you recommend what is the appropriate rates. Then I’m sure after that Masing will bring it up to the cabinet, and we will decide,” he said in response to ACEM Sarawak’s appeal during a dialogue session between him and ACEM Sarawak Branch members this morning.
Abang Johari said ACEM should also consider the trend for the next 10 years when deciding the appropriate rates their multiplier factors should be.
“You have to take into account the inflation rate, cost of living and all that. It has to be calculated at least for the next 10 years, up to 2030.
“That’s where you deliberate among yourselves and then the SFS (State Finance Secretary) Office will look into all that. Of course, it must be reasonable so that it can be sustained,” he advised.
Earlier, ACEM Sarawak Branch member Roland Ling presented to Abang Johari and his delegates the appeals from the association’s members.
One of the appeals was to revise the multiplier factors for professionals to be at least at 2.2, while for sub-professionals at 1.85.
Currently, Ling revealed, the minimum multiplier factors for the state were at 1.7 for professionals and 1.4 for sub-professionals, with which was very low and hard for engineering firms to break even.
Other appeals from ACEM Sarawak included reimbursement for site allowances and supervision of soil investigation works and to unify and adopt the federal Ministry of Finance’s site allowances for professionals at RM950 per month and sub-professionals RM800, compared to the current minimum of RM675 and RM535, respectively.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari also reminded ACEM that the state government had provided a revolving fund for engineering firms and consultants, where they would be paid in advance for their consultancy works even before the project is approved.
“I must inform you the cabinet has decided to have a revolving fund for projects. We are giving special funds to the state Works Department (JKR), and when they appoint consultants, they get ready the fees or money to pay the consultants. They don’t have to wait for the project to start because we have a revolving fund.
“Meaning, for example, we have JKR having a revolving fund of RM100million to disperse to the project for the initial part-study by consultants,” he explained. — DayakDaily