Sarawak assistant minister tells construction industry to resolve disputes before embarking on new projects

Sarawak’s Law, State-Federal Relationship and Project Monitoring Assistant Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the construction sector in Sarawak is expected to grow strongly at 16.8 per cent in 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Sarawak’s Law, State-Federal Relationship and Project Monitoring Assistant Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the construction sector in Sarawak is expected to grow strongly at 16.8 per cent in 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Nov 29 — Assistant Law, State-Federal Relations and Projects Monitoring Minister Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali today stressed that it is crucial for construction industry players to identify potential land and building issues that may happen at the earliest stage possible before embarking on their projects in the state.

She said this will help reduce the number of abandoned or delayed projects due to unresolved disputes.

“Particularly in Sarawak, construction projects often involve issues surrounding native customary rights and adverse soil conditions, which are distinct from the rest of the country,” she said in her keynote address at the Asian International Arbitration Centre’s (AIAC) Standard Form of Building Contracts and Alternative Dispute Resolution Sarawak Roadshow held here.

She said it is also important to understand the cultural differences between contracting parties, especially in light of the increased participation from international players.

“Needless to say, effective alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are vital to overcoming legal risks,” she said.

Hasidah said the construction sector in Sarawak, driven by higher spending by the state government on infrastructure projects, is expected to grow strongly at 16.8 per cent in 2019.

“The various development projects implemented under the current 11th Malaysia Plan and going into 12th Malaysia Plan will continue to spur the growth of the construction sector, 2020 and beyond,” she added.

“Consequently, as a result of huge implementations of projects, there will be an unprecedented rise in the number of disputes, especially in the construction sector.

“It is therefore important for local players to equip themselves with the requisite tools for effective

management of projects and understanding alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in fostering an

environment of dispute avoidance — and the best route to resolve inevitable disputes,” she said.

She pointed out that if any dispute arises, it typically stems from the contract itself, including the related sub-contracts.

“Therefore, forms like the AIAC’s SFCs which are aimed at stopping the problems before they start are pivotal to use,” Hasidah said.

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