Construction industry wants Covid-19 vaccination priority and gradual reopening to begin

The association also urged the government to allow the reopening of the construction industry in stages now and ‘by priority’. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
The association also urged the government to allow the reopening of the construction industry in stages now and ‘by priority’. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — Vaccination priority should be given to construction industry workers and those in the building materials supply chain under Phase Two of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), with a target of full vaccination — or two doses — by the third quarter of 2021, said the Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM).

The association also urged the government to allow the reopening of the construction industry in stages now and “by priority.”

Its president Tan Sri Sufri Zin said under the Construction Industry Vaccination Programme (CIVac), only 40,000 vaccines were allocated for workers in Phase One and 100,000 in Phase Two, accounting for only 10 per cent of the total construction industry workforce comprising about 1.4 million people.

“Hence, it is feared that the target of herd immunity networks will not be achieved according to the government’s planning,” he said in a statement today.

According to Sufri, the association has also agreed that the reopening of the construction industry should start now and not in Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

“The use of threshold values collectively at the national level, as opposed to the use of specific local situations, is not very helpful in our members’ planning,” he said.

Sufri said the extension of Phase One to July 2021 without a clear-end date is also a sign that the transition to the next NRP phase remains subjective.

“Therefore, we recommend that the reopening of the construction industry be implemented in stages and in order of priority, with flexibility given to some (segments) in the industry to resume operations when part of their workforce has been vaccinated,” he said.

Sufri said MBAM, along with 35 other associations in the construction industry, has sent a joint memorandum to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in this regard.

“Among other issues and proposals included are a study expanding the operational coverage of the variation of price (VOP) clause and an automatic extension of time (EOT) for construction projects in the private sector, as well as amendments to the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease Act 2019 (Covid-19) 2020 to expressly include claims for time and cost-sharing,” he said. — Bernama

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