Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Malaysian contractors making inroads abroad

MALAYSIAN contractors are making inroads abroad, having directly been involved in 614 construction projects worth US$24.34 billion (RM80.81 billion) in several countries, Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said.

"Of these, 489 projects worth US$9.35 billion have been completed, while the remaining (125 projects worth US$14.99 billion, or RM49.77 billion) are under construction," he said at an industry forum on liberalisation in the construction sector in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He said local construction-based professional services companies have also shown remarkable performance globally, whereby out of 361 firms registered with the ministry's Professional Services Deve-lopment Corp, 109 have started to make inroads, being involved in 412 overseas projects.

"Of these, 208 projects that the local professional service providers are involved in have been completed," he said.

Shaziman urged local professional service players to further tap the opportunities available overseas. He suggested that local companies merge or operate under one multi-disciplinary entity, as well as set up a consortium to compete globally.

"This is because most clients are confident with companies that can offer a total solution to their respective projects," he said.

Speaking to reporters later, Shaziman said the ministry is studying details on the possibility of amending the existing laws, pertaining to professional services under the construction industry.

"This is to provide clarity and streamlined regulatory framework for foreigners who want to offer their professional services as the country moves towards a fully liberalised services sector by 2012," he said.

Three Acts, which are currently under study, are the Quantity Surveyors Act 1967, the Architects Act 1967 and the Regulatory Engineers Act 1967.

Shaziman said two of these Acts, namely the Quantity Surveyors and Architects, are now in the hands of the legal advisers and are expected to be tabled in Parliament by the end of this year.

"While the Engineers Act needs more time for implementation, we have no choice but to amend it so that we would be able to prepare ourselves to face the challenges following the full liberalisation of the services sector by 2012.

"We expect this Act to be presented in Parliament for approval by the first quarter of next year," he said.

He noted that the government has decided that the services sector will be fully liberalised within the next two years to attract more foreign direct investments into the country.

Last year, the construction industry contributed 3 per cent to the country's gross domestic product.

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