Prioritize the construction industry and related supply chain for vaccination and reopening

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VACCINATION Priority should be given to workers in the construction industry and those involved in the construction material supply chain as part of phase 2 of the national Covid-19 vaccination program, with a goal of full vaccination – ie two doses – by the third quarter of 2021. Facilitate the reopening of the construction industry in stages according to priorities.

Following the government’s announcement that Phase 1 of the National Recovery Plan (PNR), which includes full policing of nationwide movement control, will be extended, most economic activities are still not allowed. The construction industry has been one of the most affected sectors since the announcement of the national MCO on June 1, 2021.

Currently, the exploitation rate of construction sites is low and most of the working contractors have seen a shortage of stocks of construction materials, which will most likely run out in the near future.

In response, the Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM), along with 35 associations in the construction industry, sent a joint memorandum to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

In general, we strongly support the efforts and initiatives of the Special Committee to Ensure Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply and of the Covid-19 Vaccination Working Group to date. However, we hope that the vaccine supply schedule will be improved to achieve the set vaccination rates.

The industry is also pleased with the implementation of the Construction Industry Vaccination Program (Civac), an effort by the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia, led by the Ministry of Public Works, to accelerate hand vaccination. – construction work in order to obtain the appropriate collective immunity.

However, Civac vaccines were only allocated for 40,000 workers in phase 1 and 100,000 workers in phase 2, which represents only 10% of the total workforce in the construction industry, i.e. about 1.4 million people. We fear that the target of collective immunity networks will not be reached according to the government’s plan.

At the same time, a more pragmatic and humane approach to the treatment of foreign workers in the construction industry should be considered by the government, especially those who hold expired travel documents and / or work cards but are stranded. in Malaysia due to lack of transportation. return to their country of origin.

Since the success of national immunization strategies is highly dependent on immunizing as many people as possible within Malaysia’s borders, excluding a large group may affect the time to obtain collective immunity. Although this is not an ideal solution, we believe that for now, priority should be given to national vaccination targets rather than the enforcement of immigration rules.

In addition, we would like to appeal for the vaccination process of construction workers to be carried out in mobile vaccination centers deployed in dormitories or worker-centered residences. This would reduce mass movements and minimize interaction between workers and the local community, especially those from vulnerable groups.

We also believe that the reopening of the construction industry should start now and not in PNR phase 3, as the use of threshold values ​​collectively at the national level as opposed to the use of specific local situations is not very useful for planning. The extension of Phase 1 until July 2021 without a clear end date is also a sign that the move to the next phase of the PNR remains subjective.

Therefore, we recommend that the reopening of the construction industry be implemented in stages and in order of priority. Flexibility can be given to certain sectors of industry to resume their activities when part of their workforce has been vaccinated. All companies or businesses licensed to operate must, of course, adhere to strict SOPs, even among fully vaccinated employees.

It should be emphasized here that the construction industry supply chain, which includes suppliers of building materials and professional services or consultants, also requires authorization to work on the same schedule as contractors.

In the meantime, we also ask that SOPs for the construction industry and all related sub-sectors be published early in advance of the implementation date of any new restrictions or regulations, rather than being introduced at the last minute. . It’s about helping contractors and all elements of the construction supply chain to adequately prepare for any change.

The reopening of the construction industry can be assessed and implemented according to different time frames and determined by both objective and localized factors.

Other issues and proposals included include a study on expanding the operational coverage of the price variation clause and automatic extension of the deadline to construction projects in the private sector as well as amendments to the 2019 Law on temporary measures to reduce the impact of coronavirus diseases Covid-19) 2020 to expressly include requests for time and cost sharing.

Stakeholders in the construction industry very much hope that the proposals of our joint protocol will be duly considered and then accepted for swift implementation.

TAN SRI SUFRI HJ MHD ZIN

President, Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM)

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