GEORGE TOWN: The value of construction jobs given out in the country in the first quarter of this year fell to RM11.6bil from RM12.5bil in the corresponding period a year ago.
The number of jobs contracted out in the nation has also declined to 614 from 671, according to the latest Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) report.
The real property gains tax, the difficulties in obtaining housing loans from banks and the impact of the goods and services tax had affected demand, which in turn slowed down the number of new property launches, Penang Master Builders and Building Materials Dealers’ Association president Datuk Lim Kai Seng (pic) told StarBiz.
“During the first-quarter of 2015, the number of residential projects dropped to 179 from 207 in the same period in 2014, while the non-residential figure shrunk to 239 from 268.
“In the corresponding period, the number of private projects given out also plunged to 459 from 537, while the number of government projects increased to 150 from 131.
“Normally, the first quarter is a slow period for the construction industry, due to the Chinese New Year celebration and holidays,” he said.
Lim said the rapid progression of mega projects such as the light rail transit (LRT) and mass rapid transit lines in the Klang Valley, and the efforts by the Federal Government to revive 74% of the abandoned housing projects in the country, should see more jobs being contracted to the construction industry this year.
Last December, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had said some 10.7% or 23 of these abandoned projects were in the process of rehabilitation, while 33 or 15.35% were in the planning stage.
“The total value and the number of construction jobs to be given out in 2015 are expected to improve by a strong single-digit percentage in 2015.
“Last year, a total of 7,180 projects worth RM149.5bil were given out nationwide,” Lim said.
In Penang, the number of projects contracted out for the first quarter 2015 was 55 compared with 44 in the same period a year ago.
Lim said the delay in the issuance of advertising permits and developer licence by the Federal Government to developers in Penang had led to fewer projects being awarded in the first quarter of 2015.
“This delayed the commencement of work for most of the projects, slowing down the jobs awarded.
“The residential projects given out declined to 10 from 16 in the first quarter of 2014, while the value of the residential projects contracted out increased substantially to RM936.89mil from RM391.50mil.
“The value has appreciated because the density of units per project has increased.
“The units launched are also of higher value,” Lim said.
According to the CIDB report, the number of government projects given out in first-quarter 2015 was nine compared with 17 in the corresponding period in 2014, while the number of private projects shrunk to 35 from 38.
Lim said with the implementation of the RM27bil Penang Transport Master Plan, scheduled to take off this year, the local construction industry could expect some RM400mil to RM500mil worth of jobs to be outsourced.
“These jobs are related to the alignment and soil studies for the LRT system,” he said.
By David Tan The Star/Asia News Network