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MBAM hopes govt increase infrastructure spending in 2021 Budget

Source from: New Straits Times, Original Article

KUALA LUMPUR: The Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) hopes the government to increase project spending and inject capital to create and roll out new projects, especially the one that benefits the masses and general public.

President Foo Chek Lee said the association is proposing the government to resume all mega such as MRT3, KL- Singapore High Speed Rail and JB-Singapore RTS.

“Besides that, the government should also look into implementation of other mega projects that have a high impact on our economy,” he told the New Straits Times.

For the 2021 Budget, Foo also recommends the government to reduce financing cost for projects through interest subsidy or government guarantee for project loans to lower the cost and ensure viability.

Further, he said the wage subsidy program (WSP) should be extended for another six months.

“This will help the industry greatly to retain and afford to pay their workers while helping the business cash flow,” he said.

MBAM urged the Ministry of Human Resource and CIDB Malaysia to work together to provide and encourage locals to join the industry since many will lose jobs due to present economic conditions.

Foo said the government or rather Ministry of Works must come out with one holistic plan both short term and long term plans to resolve the shortage of worker supply to the construction industry.

“We proposed that the part of training grants should be given directly to industry through the recognised training centres run by the construction associations.

“This is important as the industry knows what they need and type of training required. Furthermore, those trainees can continue to work while undergoing training,” he said.

Property developer Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd has lauded the government’s proactive measures to boost the property sector in recent years, and hopeful it will consider additional incentives for homeownership.

Its managing director Ho Kong Soon said the removal of stamp duty on the sale and purchase agreement and financial instruments will reduce monthly commitment by homebuyers.

“While allowing for more flexibility on the withdrawal of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions towards deposit payment and monthly instalments will further improve affordability, especially amongst the most vulnerable of property buyers,” Ho said.

Ho said in order to encourage for a more robust property market, temporary measures such as the temporary exemption of Real Property Gains Tax should be extended further (past the December 31, 2021) and reduction on foreign ownership threshold for property purchases could be implemented to be more ‘friendly’ (much lower than the current RM600,000) to absorb the overhang issue.

Concerted efforts towards the provision of quality affordable homes can provide the badly needed short to medium term stimulus in the sector.

To this, he said the formation of an Affordable Housing Committee, similar to HDB in Singapore, should be considered, to act as the country’s universal coordinator with strong support and input from government agencies, developers, property experts, economists, financial institutions and consumer groups.

“Furthermore, the burdening issue of affordability can also be addressed with the review of the current lending guidelines to ensure sufficient and attractive financing available to homebuyers.

“This will entail striking a right balance between a higher debt service ratio, higher margin of financing or longer loan tenure,” Ho added.


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