Construction stakeholders share aspirations for TN50

YB Dato’ Sri Haji Fadillah Bin Haji Yusof with invited guests and participants of TN50

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Malaysia conducted a Transformation 2050 (TN50) dialogue session with construction industry players and stakeholders at Dewan Tun Dr Ismail, PWTC on 24 October, 2017.

CIDB Chairman Tan Sri Dr Ir Ahmad Tajuddin Ali in his opening speech explained that the dialogue session was aimed at gaining input from the audience to ensure the successful implementation of TN50.

“We are aware of the challenges faced by the construction industry, which is why we have this initiative planned for the next 30 years. If I live to see 2050 I would be grateful but it is essentially the duty of future generations to fulfill this goal.

“Today we are here to solicit and collect your views in order to ensure the success of the TN50 initiative,” said Ahmad Tajuddin.

Works Minister Dato’ Sri Fadillah Yusof who chaired the session meanwhile said TN50 was an important government agenda to transform the country to be the frontier not just in construction but also in all industries.

“What’s ahead for the next 30 years? It is with this question in mind that we developed TN50 and we are here today because we want to hear from all sections of community on how to make this a successful initiative, just like the Construction Industry Transformation Programme (CITP), which ends in 2020,” said the minister.

CIDB Chief Executive Dato Ir Ahmad ‘Asri Abdul Hamid acted as moderator and began the dialogue session. Before taking the session to the floor, Ahmad ‘Asri explained that it was more accurate to call this an engagement session rather than a dialogue session.

“We want to know your aspirations for TN50 so that we can get clearer ideas before establishing our aims and visions. We are here to discuss the direction of our future to becoming a top 20 nation with balanced development.”

Lack of local manpower

Most members of the floor highlighted manpower as the most critical component that needs addressing. Suggestions were given to create initiatives for contractors to employ locals as currently developers and contractors are only concerned about cost and quick completion of projects.

A participant highlighted the danger of foreign workers learning the trade from Malaysia and taking their expertise back home with them, citing the example of how the construction industry now has moved from reliance on Indonesian labourers to Bangladeshi and other workers.

The importance of creating competent and knowledgeable labour force remained the main concern of several participants with suggestions to plant interest in construction at school level as many young people are unaware of the professional scope of the construction industry. The major suggestion was to create positive perception about the industry.

While acknowledging that Malaysian workers lack competency, the minister explained that CIDB was already working towards spurring Malaysian youth into coming into the construction industry.

Tajuddin meanwhile gave as examples various initiatives under the Construction Industry Master Plan (CIMP) and CITP such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) to improve performance across the value chain. BIM’s role is defined as a modelling technology and associated set of processes to produce, communicate, analyse and use digital information models throughout the construction project life cycle.

“IBS was introduced in Malaysia 25 years ago but only now we are really serious about making it mandatory. Another change agency is Akademi Binaan Malaysia which is also committed to training locals in construction industry related skills,” said Tajuddin.

Another participant pointed out that while Malaysia has all the initiatives in place, enforcement remains a problem. Also highlighted was the lack of research in the industry and the huge gap between industry and the academia.

“Industry and academia must be more involved with each other. There’s no point in Malaysian players going abroad using foreign technology. Where are our inventions? I feel opportunity is lacking for members of the academia to share their research and findings with the construction industry,” said a participant.

One participant started by talking about the monopoly of big players in the industry that hinders the development of young people. He tied it up with the issue of there being no centre of information – a data centre that gathers and stores submissions for industry stakeholders to refer to and learn from.

This was followed up by another comment on how development is localised at cities and involving only big developers, leaving small contractors in the lurch.

Women participation needed

Other issues highlighted in the dialogue session were incorporating ethical values and specifications into construction, increasing planning variations during pre launch stage which in turn would make our contractors more reliable as is the case with consultants, establishing more overseas collaborations and incorporating more women into the industry which remains male dominated.

Also raised were issues focusing on digital economy instead of just physical construction in order to become a high income nation and to look into enforcement and policy problems that cause overlap of authorities working on one project such as road maintenance, which frequently results in roads being dug up and resurfaced numerous times due to lack of ordination between authorities.

The dialogue session ended on a successful note with the minister and his team ensuring participants that due respect would be given to all matters brought up on the day.

At the event, the minister also launched a special book entitled ‘Malaysia’s Construction Marvels in 60 years of Merdeka’.

[October 24, 2017]