Construction sector’s MCO phase one shutdown dealt RM11.6b blow to Malaysian economy, says senior minister

A general view of the Pavilion Damansara Heights construction site March 18, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
A general view of the Pavilion Damansara Heights construction site March 18, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — Malaysia’s economy suffered about RM11.6 billion in losses, after the construction sector was shut down during the first phase of the movement control order (MCO), Senior Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said.

In an interview with Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) last night, the works minister said that the government has therefore decided to strike a balance between saving lives and ensuring people’s livelihoods continue, to prevent a more devastating effect.

“In the construction sector, there is a multiple value. We spend RM1, the multiple value is at least RM2, because it would also give opportunities for other sectors to operate. The supply sector, construction materials, transportation, professional services and many other services would also reap from what we have opened up.

“That’s why it is hoped that with this, we can afford to manage; in addition to managing health matters well, we can also balance economic needs, because in the development sector or construction sector alone, on average, annually, we spend approximately RM120 billion. Imagine the second time (of the MCO), what was the effect on the economy, job opportunities and others?

“And when we stopped (construction work) in the first MCO, the effect it had on the economy, actually in the construction sector alone, we recorded losses of about RM11.6 billion. That is for the construction sector only. Not including other sectors yet,” Fadillah said.

He said that while the construction sector is allowed to operate, it must comply with strict regulations and limitations, and the industry is not fully operational as it was before the Covid-19 outbreak.

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