SARIKEI (Sept 11): The construction sector in the country is facing a serious shortage of 3D (dirty, difficult and dangerous) workers causing some major projects to fall behind schedule, said Senior Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
Relying heavily on foreign workers for the job, contractors found it hard to catch up with the schedule despite the fact that the construction sector had been allowed to operate with full force during the recovery phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.
One such major project is the ongoing Pan Borneo Highway Project where some Work Package Contracts (WPCs) might not be completed by September 2022.
“Locals are not keen to work in the area (3D). We do not have problems with semi-skilled and skilled areas as the locals will fill in for the job.
“We are depending on workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh and India to do the 3D jobs,” he told reporters after a site visit on Work Package Contract 06 of the Pan Borneo Highway in Bintangor today.
Unfortunately, he said, it was really challenging to get enough foreign labour from these countries at the moment due to the Delta variant threat.
Moreover, with states such as Sarawak doing a lot of major projects of their own, there is a need to get many foreign workers for both federal and state projects.
“Sarawak has its own guidelines on bringing in the foreign labour so the state and federal government need to sit down and find ways to bring in the workers,” he said.
Acknowledging the labour problem faced by the Pan Borneo WPC concessionaires, Fadillah urged them to focus on the main work of the construction, which is to build the road so that it can be completed by September 2022.
Other job scopes can then come as secondary matters which could be completed by December 2022, he said.