KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 — The Works Ministry (KKR) will focus on the implementation of public infrastructure construction and maintenance projects next year, which are deemed to be a catalyst for the country’s economic growth.

Senior Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said that the implementation of the public projects was seen to be able to have double economic impacts on various sectors, thus benefiting the people as a whole.

“When a project is developed, it not only provides economic opportunities to the project contractor, but it goes beyond that.

“It is because many parties are involved in one project, not only contractors but also architects, suppliers of equipment and machines, banks, lawyers and many more,” he said in an interview with the media on the 2021 Budget at the KKR Complex here today.

He said that the double economic impacts could be seen not only in high priority projects but also in small scale projects involving the G1 to G4 contractors.

He said that the small-scale projects would boost economic growth at a time when various parties were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With the allocation given to the ministry, we are not only focused on the implementation of major projects such as Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Pan Borneo Highway, but also in small projects so that these projects can run which ultimately boosts the economy at the grassroots level,” he said.

Fadillah added that his ministry would also allocate RM3.8 billion for seven new projects nationwide under the 2021 Budget.

Among the projects are the construction project of the Klang Third Bridge, Central Spine Road (CSR), upgrading bridge across the Marang River as well as upgrading the Pulau Indah Highway.

“A total of RM620 million has been also allocated to the Works Ministry to maintain and build new roads.

“Of that amount, RM420 million will be allocated under concessions (highways) while another RM200 million is specifically for the G1 to G4 contractors,” he said.

Fadillah said that his ministry would also take the approach of reducing the country’s dependence on foreign workers in the construction industry to provide opportunities for locals to fill job vacancies.

In this regard, he said, his ministry has been working closely with the Ministry of Human Resources to train locals to be absorbed in the construction industry as skilled and semi-skilled workers.

“Any individual who has been laid off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and is interested in working in the construction industry is strongly encouraged to apply.

“They can register with the Malaysian Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and will be given training so that they can use their skills in this industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fadillah said that the Pan Borneo Sabah and Pan Borneo Sarawak Highway projects recorded the latest progress of 34 and 53 per cent respectively.

He said that Pan Borneo Sarawak is expected to be fully completed by 2022 as scheduled while Pan Borneo Sabah is experiencing a slight delay.

“We expect Pan Borneo Sabah to be completed in 2023 and not 2022. It is a slight delay due to several factors including the consequences of the MCO (movement control order) due to Covid-19 and also the change of acquisition of the project during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government administration,” he said.

In the presentation of the 2021 Budget on Nov 6, KKR as a whole received an allocation of about RM7.3 billion, involving operating expenditure amounting to RM1.26 billion and development expenditure of RM6.09 billion.

The allocation also includes expenditure to continue large-scale infrastructure projects, road construction and maintenance. — Bernama