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Works Minister tells small contractors to buck up, be prepared for CPTPP

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi hopes small time contractors can upskill themselves to stay relevant in the coming years as Malaysia prepares to enter into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) phase.

He urged them to think out of the box and find ways to be relevant and not to be over reliant on government contracts as Malaysia’s debt currently sits around RM1.3 trillion.

This he said has affected the roll out for some projects and the government needed a new wholistic approach to tackle the constantly rising price of raw materials as well as cost of goods.

“Can’t be relying mostly on government contracts and I hope the G1 to G3 contractors can improve themselves so they can compete with others.

“The CPTPP is coming and it will open up job opportunities for them when foreing contractors arrive. We at the ministry are aware of your concerns that locals could lose out to foreign companies but I feel otherwise.

“We should be open to them, be prepared to work with them and not look at them as obstacles as the partnership can be mutually beneficial,” he said during a townhall session with G1-G3 contractors today.

According to the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) a G1 contractor can take a project worth up to RM200,000, G2 up to RM500,000 and G3 up to RM1million. Exceed them and you’ve broken the law.

Most of the complaints from attendees today were the lack of government projects, illegal or foreign contractors undercutting the locals, rising cost of good, prices of raw materials like cement and sand constantly fluctuating and a severe lack of manpower.

Nanta said he was aware of these issues but cannot confirm that when CPTPP starts it will have a negative impact on the industry.

He said experts have also said that CPTPP was good for the country so the best way forward was to be prepared to work with overseas companies.

“Overseas companies will need local help once they come here so these jobs they create will invigorate the economy.

“Hence please be wise and snatch these opportunities while we at the ministry figure out ways to help you guys. I will make sure that no foreign companies exert too much influence and locals are prioritised,” he assured the attendees. The CPTPP took effect on November 2022.

MIDF research expects Malaysia’s external trade activities to expand steadily beyond 2023 amid the impacts of this trade agreement.