Monthly Archives: July 2012

No cement price hike in S’wak – Abdul Karim

ALL EARS: Curtis (left) talking to Sheda vice-president Troy Yaw Chee Weng and Bintulu Development Authority general manager Datu Mohidin Ishak (right) during the Sheda Home and Property Roadshow on Saturday.

BINTULU: The price of cement in Sarawak will stay put. Assistant Minister of Housing Abdul Karim Hamzah gave this assurance at the Sheda Home and Property Roadshow here on Saturday.

He said reports in national dailies that the price of cement could go up by RM1 per 50 kg bag and RM20 per metric tonne was applicable only to the peninsula, and not in Sarawak.

“This (price hike) is not true, and is not happening in Sarawak. We won’t worsen the current situation by increasing the price of cement,” Abdul Karim said.

Meanwhile, CMS Cement Sdn Bhd, Sarawak’s sole cement producer and manufacturer, also gave an assurance that they would not be raising the price of cement as they respected the Malaysian Competition Act.

It added that they would not engage in price discussions with any Malaysian cement producers.

Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad group managing director Datuk Richard Curtis said CMS Cement had always remained committed to the socio-economic wellbeing of the state.

“Even though cement production in Sarawak poses a logistical challenge due to terrain, raw materials and geographical population spread, we will not be increasing our prices.

“While the perception is that Sarawak is a cement monopoly, in truth any person can set up operations just as CMS Cement does, import cement to cover unexpected demand surges or disruptions to its own production,” said Curtis in a statement.

He added despite the logistical challenges that might have deterred other cement producers, CMS Cement would continue to play their part to support the state’s development.

“In 2011, similar baseless price hike rumours were reported, and we reiterate today exactly the same points we had made at that time as our position and stance on the matter has not changed.”

He added that as a responsible corporation, CMS Cement was fully aware that the local market depended on them to ensure reliable supply of quality cement for its infrastructure needs.

“This is especially important now as SCORE’s potential is being realised.

“We always consider the impacts that our actions have on the construction sector, and, therefore, our preference is not to pass on the increased costs of doing business to the customers.”





Sheda: Profit margin of housing developers low


BINTULU: Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) said it was erroneous to think that housing developers here were now laughing all the way to the bank just because the prices of houses has skyrocketed in recent years.

Its president Zaidi Ahmad said in reality the developers were only making a small percentage of the selling price because the lion’s share went to expensive construction materials and land cost.

For instance, he said housing developers typically make a net profit of only about five per cent for houses costing RM200,000.

This is because to build such houses, about 60 to 65 per cent of the selling price is construction cost, excluding compliance cost, while land ate up a further 20 to 25 per cent.

“At the end, our net profit is only about 5 per cent as we have to endure compliance cost as well – the cost we have to pay to meet government approval,” said Zaidi when met at Sheda Home and Property Roadshow in Bintulu on Saturday.

Zaidi said to ease the burden on housing developers, low cost houses should be built by the GLCs (government-linked companies) or the government.

To make houses affordable to those in the low income group, he said that the state government and the Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) should figure out ways to make use of the ample state land which were still available here for housing.

The property market in Bintulu has been experiencing double digit growth since 2011 following the influx of domestic and foreign employees and contractors to Samalaju Industrial Estate.

To meet increasing demands, Zaidi gave an assurance that Sheda was prepared to work closely with the government to ensure that the housing industry remain robust.





It takes 2 to tango, says Sheda veep


BINTULU: Building consultants and developers must both embrace new technologies if properties in the state were to adopt new building methodologies and materials.

Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) vice-president Troy Yaw Chee Weng said it wouldn’t work if only one side adopted that initiative.

“Not only developers have to be flexible and responsive to all new construction methods and building materials, but I do think consultants too have to be flexible as well,” he said at the Sheda Home and Property Roadshow 2012 at ParkCity Everly Hotel here on Saturday.

Yaw said this was needed because local contractors needed their (consultant) stamp of approval before they could use methods which had been found practical in other countries.

He said the time was right to modernise as Bintulu developers had been enjoying unexpected growth in the past one year.

Yaw, however, said the biggest concern of housing developers here now was the escalating cost of general labour.

“I was told that general labour is nothing less than RM60, with some as high as RM80 per day.

“I would like to appeal to the government to assist in the import of foreign workers to fill in the gaps. Some of our members are already experiencing shortage of labour, and in addition the price of building materials are also increasing.”