Infrastructure Update: March 27, 2020

Infrastructure Update | March 27, 2020
Authors: Jack Myint and Minh Vu
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Asian Development Bank (ADB) to Provide Indonesia with US$2.7 Billion in Loans to Support Human Capital, Infrastructure Development

On March 3, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa met with Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to discuss the an expansion of ADB support for the country’s development priorities in areas such as human capital development, infrastructure connectivity, and climate change, through sovereign lending, knowledge support, private sector operations, and transaction advisory services. Following the meeting, ADB released a statement to reaffirm the Bank’s commitment to provide US$2.7 billion in 2020 loans to support Indonesia’s development priorities. ADB also reaffirmed commitment to finance severa­­l projects in South Sulawesi including the Mamminasata toll-road project, low-cost apartment developments and a clean water program. The ADB is also working on the Indonesia Country Partnership Strategy 2020-2024 to be approved by April 2020, which would detail how the ADB support the government’s development priorities and seek to catalyze private sector financing, promote innovation and new technologies. President Jokowi in his inaugural speech at the beginning of his second term in late 2019 announced human capital and infrastructure development as the goal of his administration. He aimed to set Indonesia on the path to enter the global top five economies by 2045.

Singapore to Help Digitalize the Construction Sector

In a bid to digitally transform the construction sector to boost productivity, the Singaporean Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad on March 4 spoke in the Parliament that the Government will provide some SG$120 million (US$82 million) for public sector agencies to adopt design for manufacturing and assembly (DfMA) methods in projects launched by 2021. The funding will come from the Ministry’s budget and from the Public Sector Construction Productivity Fund to achieve the target of 70 percent of projects will adopt DfMA methods by 2025. For 2020, the Minister aims for the adoption rate to achieve 40 percent of projects, up from 31 percent in 2019 and 22 percent in 2018. DfMA method is a highly productive method of construction where parts of buildings are made in a manufacturing facility before being sent to a site for assembly to ensure construction become faster, cleaner, quieter, and of higher quality. The Minister also said to help achieve the adoption target, the Ministry in 2020 will further enhance the Buildability Framework by progressively requiring higher buildability standards for other development types, including commercial and institutional buildings. The Buildability Framework was implemented in 2001 to boost productivity of the construction sector and was amended in May 2017 and November 2019 to help the sector adopt DfMA and other technologies.

In the same speech to the Parliament, Minister Mohamad also said that the Government will provide SG$19 million (US$13 million) until January 2023 to fund small and medium-sized enterprises to adopt digital solutions under the broader secto ral digital transformation. The Minister noted that the adoption of other digital technologies such as Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) will allow faster adoption of the DfMA method. IDD technology allows companies to digitize various stages of building, including design, fabrication, construction and asset delivery and management and BIM technology allows architects and engineers to design and build virtually. The Minister noted that the adoption of DfMA will help Singapore improve the sector’s productivity compared to its neighbor. According to an International Construction Costs Report by Arcadis in late 2019, Singapore is ranked 24th globally in terms of the sector’s growth and innovation, below Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Vietnam National Assembly Reviews Draft Law on Public-Private Partnership

On March 24, the Vietnam National Assembly’s Standing Committee held a session to review and discuss a draft law on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) which was drafted and submitted by the Ministry of Planning and Investment on February 26. The draft law aims to address issues in transparency, flexibility, and regulatory clarity in the current PPP regime by addressing the revenue risks allocation, minimum investment capital, minimum equity of investors, government guarantees for project revenue and governing law. The draft law also expands the range of permitted sectors including, among other sectors, transportation, power plants and public lighting systems, water treatment infrastructure, urban zone infrastructure, offices and residential housings, ICT, and commercial infrastructure including development of economic zones. During the session, members of the National Assembly questioned the revenue risks allocation and revenue sharing model to avoid taking on more public debt. In addition, they also questioned how the government’s auditing and inspection work would apply to a PPP project. The draft law is slated for approval by May.

Given the rapid economic growth rate of Vietnam that increases the demand for infrastructure connectivity, Vietnam needs a Law on PPP to accelerate greater private investment into infrastructure projects. According to estimates provided by the World Bank, up to US$25 billion of capital will be needed annually for infrastructure projects in Vietnam. As the government has been running a budget deficit for the past few years, coupled with a self-imposed 65% debt-to-GDP ceiling, state capital is unlikely to be able to meet the required funding needs of such projects.

 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Brunei
Pan Borneo Highway to be continued as per previous govt’s conventional project approach
Temburong Bridge operating hours revised
Brunei inaugurates cross-sea bridge with Chinese contractor
Temburong bridge to boost economic activities

Cambodia
Japan-Cambodia National Road 5 renovation project locked in
Cambodia halts Mekong River dam plans ‘for 10 years’
$800K dam deal inked to provide clean water
Hun Sen launches $133M road from Pursat to Thailand’s Trat province
PM announces new National Road 10

Indonesia
AP 1 to integrate privately funded new airport with Surabaya’s Juanda
Asahan III power plant resumes development, expected to operate by 2023
Government to prioritize development in 222 outermost sub-districts
City continues stadium construction amid unfinished legal matters
ADB to provide Indonesia with $2.7b in loans to support human capital, infrastructure development

Laos
Huayxai airport expansion is over 50 percent complete
Construction of China-Laos railway power supply project starts
Laos Establishes Committee to Inspect Safety of Nation’s Dams

Malaysia
Construction stocks hit on Bursa Malaysia amid equity rout
Kejuruteraan Asastera bags RM28.6m contract from China Construction Development
Govt approves RM200m for Jernih Dam project in Melaka
UEM Edgenta to expand Indonesian operations 
RM120 million to revive 1Sulaman Platinum Tower project
Penang PAS wants new govt to review Transport Master Plan
CM: Good road infrastructure will spur economic development in Sarawak

Myanmar
Domestic investments touch K1,084 bln, $233.47 mln in current fiscal year
EIA process for Kyaukphyu port to start
Four-lane elevated expressway to build in the middle of roads mostly in Ygn
Upgrades for Thandwe airport runway
Locals voice approval for Yangon Elevated Expressway
Firms invited to bid for upgrade of Yangon-Mandalay expressway

Philippines
New Philippines expressways being built
Metro Manila construction materials prices rise in Feb.
Gov't eyes infrastructure work as another exemption to Luzon lockdown
Gov’t to boost spending amid outbreak
Construction starts decline in Q4 2019
Construction of the Philippines’ longest bridge, a legacy—PCOO chief
New road to Sangley starts construction in Q2
Construction of China-funded Kaliwa Dam eyed by July

Singapore
Coronavirus: Singapore housing projects using prefab parts stalled by Malaysia lockdown
Aussie joint venture lands $265 million deal to build three Jurong Region Line stations
Parliament: Building control law amended to improve safety of high-rise buildings in Singapore
Help for construction firms facing delays due to virus outbreak
Measures to encourage electric vehicle use: Allowing tech that can charge car in 30 minutes, electric motorcycles on expressways
Parliament: Construction sector to digitalise building processes to boost productivity

Thailand
Lockdown leaves migrant workers exposed
KRNA-led consortium selected for HSR Management project in Thailand
B39bn Don Mueang 3rd phase gets nod
Red Line train trials to begin in October
Tussle over Chiang Mai's tramway
Medium-size reservoir eyed for East
Orange Line work on course

Vietnam
NA Standing Committee discusses draft law on PPP
Expressway component projects to be shifted to public investment
Five local contractors pass preliminary rounds for North-South Expressway components
Construction sector struggling because of coronavirus
KTG starts construction of ready-built factory in Nhon Trach 3B Industrial Centre
Central city to upgrade fishing port
Central Vietnam seeks solutions for large-scale projects across sectors
PM orders acceleration of transport projects
Work set to restart on Côn Đảo Passenger Port
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Brunei

Pan Borneo Highway to be continued as per previous govt’s conventional project approach Borneo Post Online 12th Mar 2020
The construction of the Pan Borneo Highway will continue, through the use of the conventional project approach adopted by the previous government following the termination of the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) contract which took effect on Feb 20 this year. Nevertheless, the new Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said the government would study the approach in detail to ensure the project is completed on time and that construction quality is guaranteed. Speaking at a press conference here today, the senior minister said this will include checks on two cost-saving amounts comprising RM3.1 billion and RM2.8 billion respectively, which were announced by two Pakatan Harapan (PH) ministers in the past.

Temburong Bridge operating hours revised Borneo Bulletin 19th Mar 2020
The time to use the Temburong Bridge has been revised to 6am-6pm daily from March 19 as a precautionary measure to control and contain the spread of COVID-19 virus. Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II, Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Amin Liew bin Abdullah at a press briefing yesterday said the move was also made as the number of bridge users is causing a huge traffic congestion at Pekan Bangar area and big crowds at Pekan Bangar food stalls. The temporary opening of the bridge linking the Brunei-Muara District and Temburong District is intended to facilitate the people to make essential travel such as employees involved in containing COVID-19, officers and staff from government and private sectors. The minister said there were also motorcycle riders who raced and stopped at the side of the road without a reason. Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew said authorities such as the Royal Brunei Police Force will conduct patrols and users found violating the rules will be punished. Authorities will also monitor and review the use of the bridge.

Brunei inaugurates cross-sea bridge with Chinese contractor Xinhua 18th Mar 2020
Brunei on March 17 inaugurated the cross-sea Temburong Bridge linking the capital Bandar Seri Begawan with the Temburong district. To curb the spread of COVID-19, Brunei has banned all residents from leaving the country and decided to open the Temburong Bridge partially built by a Chinese company. The Brunei government said on March 17 that the country's total cases of COVID-19 have risen to 56. With a population of about 440,000, the incidence rate has exceeded 1 in 10,000. Temburong has been geologically isolated from the rest of Brunei which has hindered the economic growth of the district. The sea-crossing Temburong Bridge is one of the key national balanced development projects promoted by the Brunei government, and also the largest bridge construction project ever built in Brunei. According to the manager, the CC4 section constructed by CSCEC since Oct. 1, 2015 spans 12 km in length including a fully prefabricated viaduct, which crosses Brunei's uninhabited forests and swamps. The 30-km bridge will substantially reduce travelling time between Brunei's capital and the Temburong district by bypassing Malaysia's Limbang. It is the longest bridge in Southeast Asia followed by Malaysia's 24-km Second Penang Bridge.

Temburong bridge to boost economic activities Borneo Bulletin 12th Mar 2020
A spur of economic activities is expected with the completion of the 30km bridge linking Bandar Seri Begawan and the Temburong District. Several Legislative Council (LegCo) members suggested development plans to ensure that Temburong District can reap the benefits of the new bridge, in line with the Brunei Vision 2035, during the afternoon session of the 16th LegCo session. LegCo member Yang Berhormat Haji Mohimin bin Haji Johari @ Jahari sought to establish a feasibility study on using solar energy. He added that the projects can be offered to local companies or foreign direct investors to ensure renewable energy. Meanwhile, LegCo member Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Putera Maharaja Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Ghani bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Dewa Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Rahim proposed to establish a special government fund that will provide financial assistance to local Temburong residents who are keen to start a business on their property.

Cambodia

Japan-Cambodia National Road 5 renovation project locked in Khmer Times 25th Mar 2020
The Japanese and Cambodian governments have inked a financial cooperation agreement for the renovation of National Road 5 spanning 366 kilometres from Kandal province’s Prek Kdam area to Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet city. The project will be funded through soft loans provided by the Japanese government. A joint statement from the Finance Ministry and Japan International Cooperation Agency said the project is divided into three sections. The first section covers 84 kilometres from Battambang to Serey Sophorn cities. The second covers more than 146 kilometres from Thlea Ma’am to Battambang city and from Serey Sophorn city to Poipet city while the third section covers over 135 kilometres from Prek Kdam bridge to Pursat province’s Thlea Ma’am.

Cambodia halts Mekong River dam plans ‘for 10 years’ Bangkok Post 18th Mar 2020
Electricity-starved Cambodia will not develop new hydropower dams on the Mekong River for the next 10 years, a senior energy official said on Wednesday, as it reviews its policy to seek energy from coal, natural gas and solar. The decision means that neighbouring Laos, which has opened two new dams on the mainstream Mekong in the past six months, is the only country in the Lower Mekong Basin planning hydropower on the river that sustains some 60 million people. Victor Jona, director general of energy at Cambodia's Ministry of Mines and Energy, told Reuters the government was following a study done by a Japanese consultant that recommended Cambodia seeks energy elsewhere.

$800K dam deal inked to provide clean water Khmer Times 11th Mar 2020
The Chinese-owned Sinohydro Kamchay Hydroelectric Project Co will start construction of an $800,000 overflow dam in Prek Kampong Bai, Kampot province. The project will provide a supply of water to be held for treatment at a plant in Kampot and flow through the hydropower dam in Kamchay. In addition, the government aims to give access to clean water to everyone in the country by 2025.

Hun Sen launches $133M road from Pursat to Thailand’s Trat province The Phnom Penh Post 10th Mar 2020
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday inaugurated National Road 55 which cost $133 million to build. The 182km road is funded by the Chinese government with contributions from Cambodia to clear mines and unexploded ordnance. He also announced the construction of National Road 10. National Road 55 links from National Road 5 in Pursat provincial town to the province’s Thma Da commune, which borders Thailand’s Trat province. Hun Sen said in future, the government will make efforts to open the Cambodian-Thai frontier through the Thma Da entrance to aid the import and export of goods between the two countries and raise the people’s standard of living.

PM announces new National Road 10 Khmer Times 10th Mar 2020
Prime Minister Hun Sen has revealed plans for the construction of a new highway, National Road 10, from Battambang to Koh Kong province. When combined together, the strategic routes will create an important economic corridor between Cambodia and Thailand, the premier believes. The construction cost $132.8million and was funded by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, together with the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Compensation Fund for tackling the impact of Unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance and construction.

Indonesia

AP 1 to integrate privately funded new airport with Surabaya’s Juanda The Jakarta Post 12th Mar 2020
State-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I will manage a planned privately funded airport in Kediri and integrate its operations with Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport to accommodate rising travel demand and economic activity in East Java. AP I signed a memorandum of understanding with publicly listed tobacco company Gudang Garam on Tuesday to develop what would be called Dhoho Kediri Airport 20 kilometers from central Kediri. Gudang Garam’s subsidiary Surya Dhoho Investama will be in charge of developing the first-ever airport to be fully funded by the private sector in Indonesia.

Asahan III power plant resumes development, expected to operate by 2023 The Jakarta Post 11th Mar 2020
Construction on the 174-megawatt Asahan III hydropower plant in North Sumatra has resumed after authorities settled administration problems that have extended the facility’s development period by nine years. State-owned electricity firm PLN, set to be the offtaker of the electricity produced by the plant, said in a statement on Tuesday that work on the power plant had reached 5.11 percent completion. Developers are digging an 8-kilometer tunnel to channel water to the plant’s turbines. Development first kicked off in 2011, when developers began installing access roads. The facility was initially expected to be completed by 2014, but the completion date was pushed to 2023 due to permit-related setbacks and one corruption case.

Government to prioritize development in 222 outermost sub-districts Antara News 11th Mar 2020
The Indonesian government will prioritize development in 222 sub-districts out of the country's 780 outermost sub-districts by 2024, General Tito Karnavian, the home affairs minister, concurrently chairman of the Border Management Agency (BNPP), stated. "Some 780 sub-districts are located in the border regions. We will not be able to develop them simultaneously (as) everything increasingly depends on fiscal capacity, state financial capacity. Hence, based on the results of discussions with Bappenas (National Development Planning Agency), the funds that may be available are for 222 sub-districts," Karnavian noted here on Wednesday. "They have economic potential there, be it fisheries, plantations, agriculture, or tourism. They could become a growth area that can stimulate other regions," he remarked.

City continues stadium construction amid unfinished legal matters The Jakarta Post 7th Mar 2020
Around 20 excavators and giant cranes could be seen operating on a muddy 26-hectare site in Papanggo subdistrict, North Jakarta, on Tuesday afternoon. The ambitious Rp 4.5 trillion (US$315.5 million) project is expected to finish by the end of October 2021. However, while construction rolls on at the site, legal matters relating to land clearance remain. An appeal to the Supreme Court has been filed by private developer PT Buana Permata Hijau (BPH) against the city administration’s construction of the stadium on the site.

ADB to provide Indonesia with $2.7b in loans to support human capital, infrastructure development The Jakarta Post 3rd Mar 2020
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide around US$2.7 billion in loans this year to support Indonesia’s human capital, infrastructure and green energy development. ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa said the bank planned to provide Indonesia with more loans this year than the $1.7 billion it provided in 2019. The bank plans to provide Indonesia with $500 million for a competitiveness enhancement program and another $500 million for a financial inclusion program this year. After meeting with Jokowi, Asakawa said the bank would focus on providing support in a range of areas including clean energy, higher education and skills development as well as innovative green and blue financing.

Laos

Huayxai airport expansion is over 50 percent complete Vientiane Times 18th Mar 2020
The work on the Huayxai airport expansion project in Bokeo province is now over half complete, with the project scheduled to be completed this year. The runway at Huayxai Airport in Bokeo province is being extended to serve the needs of regional transport and to absorb the growing tourist inflow. The project began on September 24, 2018 and is expected to be completed by November 2020. It consists of the expansion of the runway and better layout for aircraft parking, passenger terminal and the parking lot. The project costs of over 149 billion kip and is fully funded by the government.

Construction of China-Laos railway power supply project starts The Star Online 18th Mar 2020
The power supply project for the China-Laos railway, which was fully carried out on Wednesday (March 18), lays foundation for its scheduled operation in 2021. Along all the four bidding sections of the project in northern Laos, Chinese and Lao engineers cast concrete to cement the first four power tower foundations along the railway. The power supply project for the China-Laos railway is the first BOT (build-operate-transfer) power grid project in Laos, a key project to guarantee the scheduled operation of the China-Laos railway and of building the China-Laos community with a shared future. It is also a symbolic project of the Belt and Road Initiative to advance infrastructure connectivity.

Laos Establishes Committee to Inspect Safety of Nation’s Dams Radio Free Asia 3rd Mar 2020
The government of Laos has established a committee of local and foreign experts to inspect the safety of the nation’s dams, an official said Tuesday, as it forges ahead with plans to supply regional power despite several catastrophic accidents in recent years.

Malaysia

Construction stocks hit on Bursa Malaysia amid equity rout The Edge Markets 13th Mar 2020
Construction stocks fell sharply the morning of March 13 as investor sentiment turned negative on the local bourse amid views that there would be less infrastructure spending this year, compounded further by the global equity rout. As of 11:34am, shares in Jaks Resources Bhd were down 14.94% or 13 sen at 87 sen on a trading volume of 48.88 million shares. Shares in Ekovest Bhd also fell, declining 10.20% or five sen at 44 sen a piece. The Lim Kang Hoo linked counter saw 33.06 million shares traded. Gamuda Bhd was not immune to the bearish sentiment either, as the counter fell 11.52% or 38 sen to RM2.92 on a trading volume of 8.52 million shares. Econpile Holdings Bhd also posted declines, falling 16.67% or 8.5 sen to 42.5 sen, while Vizione Holdings Bhd fell 34.69% or 17 sen to 32 sen. At the time of writing, Bursa Malaysia’s construction index was down 10.27% or 16.93 points at 147.86 points. In a note this morning, AffinHwang Capital Research viewed that there could be lower infrastructure spending by the government as there would be less development expenditure. The lower development expenditure is due to the government not wanting to increase its deficit, particularly as Brent crude oil, which accounts for some 30% of government revenue, has seen a significant fall in prices. Therefore, this would have an impact on construction companies that are looking to bid for such contracts.

Kejuruteraan Asastera bags RM28.6m contract from China Construction Development www.thesundaily.my 11th Mar 2020
PETALING JAYA: Kejuruteraan Asastera Bhd (KAB) has secured a RM28.6 million contract from China Construction Development (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd for the latter’s serviced apartment project, Agile Bukit Bintang. KAB said in a filing with the stock exchange that the contract consists of design, supply, delivery, installation, testing and commissioning, and maintenance of electrical and extra-low voltage services work in the three-block project. The work commenced on March 11, 2020 and is scheduled to be completed by January 9, 2024. The contract is expected to contribute positively to its future earnings for the duration of the contract.

Govt approves RM200m for Jernih Dam project in Melaka Malay Mail 11th Mar 2020
The Federal Government has approved an allocation of about RM200 million, namely, an increase of RM36 million, for the construction of the Jernih Dam here to solve the state’s water supply problem. Chief Minister Datuk Sulaiman Md Ali said the previous Ministry of Economic Affairs had approved the allocation in a letter dated Feb 14. The Jernih Dam project was put off in 2018 but had been rejuvenated to avoid a water calamity. Melaka required the additional fund, apart from an initial amount which had been earlier approved by the federal government for the project, due to hike in costs. Sulaiman said the Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources’ Water Supply Division was expected to issue the tender for the Jernih Dam project by next month (April). The project was expected to be completed in 30 months. To date, he said the Durian Tunggal Dam only had 16.1 per cent (4,970 million liters), Jus Dam had 24.2 per cent (10,475 million liters) and the Asahan Dam had 68.9 per cent (480 million liters) of water left. Previously, the water supply rationing in Melaka was implemented for the first two weeks starting from January 29, involving 550,673 people, namely, 62.8 per cent of the population and continued for the second phase on Feb 10 involving hospitals, industrial areas and tourism centers. Melaka currently has three dams, the Durian Tunggal Dam here and the Jus and Asahan Dams in Jasin.

UEM Edgenta to expand Indonesian operations  NST Online 10th Mar 2020
UEM Edgenta Bhd is looking to expand its healthcare support and infrastructure services segments in Indonesia in the next two years. Managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Azmir Merican believes Indonesia has vast opportunity to leverage on UEM Edgenta’s services backed by its presence there for the past four years. The Indonesian market contributes about five per cent to UEM Edgenta’s revenue. This is mainly from Cikampek-Palimanan highway maintenance via a partnership with Astra group. Azmir said the company would promote its technology-enabled solutions namely the road asset management system (RAMS) and pavement research centre to sustain its growth. RAMS is UEM Edgenta’s in-house system to manage and monitor infrastructure mainly highways. It allows the company to digitize its operations (workforce) and thus increase productivity (40-50 per cent) and reduce manpower and maintenance cost while automating the work with realtime to improve services delivery on the ground. Azmir said the group’s ordebook stood at RM13.2 billion as at December 31 2019 that will give earnings visibility until 2038. UEM Edgenta remains cautious of its outlook for the short-term on the back of adverse macroeconomic conditions, exacerbated by the threat of the global coronavirus outbreak. As such, Azmir said this year will be a year of resilience through operational and organizational excellence to sustain the company's profit margins.

RM120 million to revive 1Sulaman Platinum Tower project Borneo Post Online 10th Mar 2020
The abandoned 1Sulaman Platinum Tower will be revived, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal. He said that RM120 million will be used by the developer of the project, Fasa Harmoni Sdn Bhd, along with the liquidator of the project to carry out rectification works on the project stalled since 2016. He cited that the initiative to cooperate is the best remedy to resolve the problems faced by the buyers of the project.

Penang PAS wants new govt to review Transport Master Plan www.thesundaily.my 10th Mar 2020
PAS wants the new government to review the Penang Transport Master Plan project, claiming that is has caused anxiety among villagers and fishermen. It party’s central committee member Mohd Yusni Mat Piah, who is also Penaga assemblyman, said one part of the project - the Penang Southern Reclamation (PSR) segment - should be scrapped. Under the RM70 billion project, which has already been approved by the previous government, three artificial islands with a total land area of 1,800ha, will be created off the coast of Teluk Kumbar.

CM: Good road infrastructure will spur economic development in Sarawak Malay Mail 6th Mar 2020
The Sarawak government’s main focus is to build roads connecting urban and rural areas in order to boost economic development in the state, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said on March 6. “If we have good roads and other amenities, the economy will be stimulated,” he said during the 138th anniversary dinner of the state Public Works Department (PWD). “And of course, the private sector will come in and that will definitely enhance our economic development,” he said. The chief minister said bringing infrastructure to rural areas is crucial not only for spurring economic development, but also, most importantly, to improve connectivity for rural communities. “Although Sarawak is still sparsely populated, our people must be given good roads. We will use our own state funds to build the roads, particularly coastal ones as well as bridges,” he added. Earlier in his speech, state PWD director Datuk Zuraimi Sabki said among the most notable projects under the department’s purview are the on-going coastal road and second trunk road projects, with a combined estimated cost of RM11 billion.

Myanmar

Domestic investments touch K1,084 bln, $233.47 mln in current fiscal year Global New Light Of Myanmar 15th Mar 2020
Domestic investments by Myanmar citizens, including expansion of capital by existing enterprises, reached K1,084 billion and US$233.47 million as of 6 March in the 2019-2020 financial year, according to a press statement issued by the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC). Domestic investments flowed into the real estate, manufacturing, hotels and tourism, construction, industrial estate, energy, mining, livestock and fisheries, agriculture, and other services sectors, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). To simplify the verification of investment projects, the Myanmar Investment Law allows the region and state Investment Committees to endorse local and foreign proposals, where the initial investment does not exceed K6 billion, or $5 million.

EIA process for Kyaukphyu port to start The Myanmar Times 11th Mar 2020
Chinese state-owned CITIC is set to initiate bidding for its environmental impact assessment (EIA) consultant for its port project in central Rakhine following the environmental ministry’s response to its project proposal. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (MONREC) last month designated the Kyaukphyu deep-sea port project as an EIA-type project after screening the proposal submitted by the consortium led by CITIC in September 2019. Through a bidding process, the consortium will choose an independent consultant to conduct EIA, the statement said. After the selection, it will have to submit the information of such a third party for the ministry’s further verification before an EIA could officially take place.

Four-lane elevated expressway to build in the middle of roads mostly in Ygn Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 10th Mar 2020
Four-lane elevated expressway will be built in the middle of roads mostly in Yangon and it will be like a long bridge in the middle of road, according to the Ministry of Construction.The expressway will be crossed Upper Pazuntaung Road, Wayzayantar Road, Thudama Road, at the junction of Khayaypin Road and Lower Mingalardon Road. The project is jointly developed by Ministry of Construction and Yangon Region government.

Upgrades for Thandwe airport runway The Myanmar Times 9th Mar 2020
The upgrade of Thandwe airport in Rakhine State (local airport to Ngapali Beach- a major tourist destination), a project listed under the Myanmar Project Bank, has commenced with work on extending the runway already taking place, said U Zaw Min, director of the Department of Civil Aviation. The US$5 million runway will enable it to handle commercial Airbus and Boeing planes after it is complete in 2021. Currently, it is only able to service ATR 72/500 and Emirate aircraft.

Locals voice approval for Yangon Elevated Expressway The Myanmar Times 5th Mar 2020
Yangon Elevated Expressway will begin construction in August. Deputy Director of the Highway Department under the Ministry of Construction has met with locals and addressed their concerns, including noise pollution and potential flooding in areas under the expressway. Compensation will be provided to those affected by construction. The winning bidder for the project will be announced in May, after which a ground-breaking ceremony will be held in July. The expressway will be put into operation by May 2025.

Firms invited to bid for upgrade of Yangon-Mandalay expressway The Myanmar Times 5th Mar 2020
The Ministry of Construction will invite Expressions of Interest from the private sector for the upgrading of the Yangon–Mandalay Expressway, U Han Zaw, Minister of Construction said. The project involves upgrading the 524 -km expressway, currently the most important transport route in Myanmar, to a international-standard expressway with proper safety and road control facilities.The project is one of the 58 national development projects listed in the Myanmar Project Bank.

Philippines

New Philippines expressways being built World Highways 20th Mar 2020
Construction is currently underway for the new expressway connecting Laguna, Batangas and Quezon provinces in the Philippines. The South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4 (TR4) route will measure 67km when complete and should reduce journey times for drivers in the area. The work on the tollroad project is split into six stretches while the intended completion date is in 2022. Meanwhile, a proposal for a new toll road linking the North Luzon Expressway and Manila-Cavite Expressway is being evaluated. The route would measure 15km and feature both elevated sections and tunnels. Building the new road link would cut congestion and journey times while boosting transport to and from Manila’s port.

Metro Manila construction materials prices rise in Feb. Business World 17th Mar 2020
WHOLESALE prices of construction materials in Metro Manila rose in February, though the rate of growth slowed compared with a month earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said. Retail prices also rose, accelerating from January. The construction materials wholesale price index (CMWPI) for the National Capital region (NCR) rose 1.5% year-on-year in February, compared to 1.8% in January. The construction materials retail price index (CMRPI) in the NCR rose 1.1% in February, after coming in at 0.7% in January. In a phone interview, Federation of Philippine Industries Chairman Jesus L. Arranza said the costs of these construction materials are “expected to be higher” as there will be less production of such goods due to the disruptions to most construction projects with the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

Gov't eyes infrastructure work as another exemption to Luzon lockdown philstar.com 17th Mar 2020
Amid many exemptions to the month-long Luzon lockdown, the government would like to add one more: infrastructure projects. The Transportation and Public Works departments are preparing a list of infrastructure projects it want to proceed during the community quarantine, a mitigating effort meant to somehow alleviate the impact of the coronavirus in the local economy. “There are construction and rehabilitation works that we will ask to be exempted (from the lockdown) from IATF,” Transport Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said in a text message to Philstar.com.

Gov’t to boost spending amid outbreak Business World 15th Mar 2020
THE government will boost spending this year including on infrastructure and social programs to shield the economy from the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, softer global demand, and the Taal Volcano eruption at the start of the year, according to the Budget department. “Nonetheless, the government will remain prudent with public expenditures to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability,” it said in a statement. Infrastructure spending more than doubled to a record P177.9 billion in December from P75.6 billion a year earlier, data showed. This brought total infrastructure spending to P881.7 billion last year, 9.7% higher than a year earlier and bigger than the 859.4-billion target, the Budget department said.

Construction starts decline in Q4 2019 Business World 6th Mar 2020
CONSTRUCTION STARTS, based on approved building permits, declined by 7.7% year on year in the fourth quarter of 2019 amid fewer residential projects during the period, data by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed. Building permits numbered 37,256 in the fourth quarter, less than the 40,369 permits in 2018’s comparable three months. The projects were equivalent to 9.042 million square meters of space and were valued at P111.58 billion, down 8.8% from a year ago.

Construction of the Philippines’ longest bridge, a legacy—PCOO chief Philippines Information Agency 5th Mar 2020
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said President Rodrigo Duterte’s vision of a better Philippines is already a reality despite it is still a bit more than halfway through his six-year term. “We are documenting the start of Panguil Bay Bridge construction, which is one of the President’s legacies, so the people may know what the government has been doing for them. President Duterte is finally constructing the longest bridge in the Philippines,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Tuesday during his visit here. He said Panguil Bay Bridge is the longest bridge being constructed by the administration, longer than San Juanico Bridge that connects the islands of Samar and Leyte.

New road to Sangley starts construction in Q2 philstar.com 3rd Mar 2020
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) targets to commence by the second quarter the construction of a new road that will beef up connectivity to Sangley airport in Cavite. “It’s going to start (construction) soon. It is already budgeted for 2020, so we will get it going by the second quarter,” Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said. Villar said the project, which would cost between P200 million and P250 million, is expected for completion in a year’s time.

Construction of China-funded Kaliwa Dam eyed by July CNN Philippines 3rd Mar 2020
The China-funded Kaliwa Dam is scheduled to break ground by July or August this year, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Tuesday. The controversial dam project, which would build an integrated reservoir bordering Rizal and Quezon provinces using Chinese money, has been long delayed. It will augment supply from the only source of water for Metro Manila - Angat dam in Bulacan province. "What I heard last night is they are assuring us that there will be no water problem. They are doing something about it," Panelo said, citing updates given by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during the Cabinet meeting Monday night.

Singapore

Coronavirus: Singapore housing projects using prefab parts stalled by Malaysia lockdown The Straits Times 17th Mar 2020
The coronavirus outbreak across the world is wreaking havoc on Singapore’s building projects that use prefab building methods. Malaysia on Monday announced restrictions on movement for two weeks from Wednesday (March 18), barring its citizens from travelling overseas and shutting all businesses except shops selling food and daily necessities, to stem the rising number of virus cases. That has resulted in a number of contractors in Singapore, including United Tec, scrambling to find accommodation for their Malaysian workers so that they won’t be stuck in Malaysia for at least two weeks. Singapore’s construction sector employs 341,200 foreigners – about three-quarters of the construction workforce – but there is no public breakdown of their nationality.

Aussie joint venture lands $265 million deal to build three Jurong Region Line stations The Straits Times 17th Mar 2020
An Australian team has clinched a deal to build three stations on the upcoming Jurong Region Line (JRL), a 24km medium-load elevated MRT system scheduled to be ready by 2028. The Land Transport Authority said Tuesday (March 17) it has awarded the contract for the design and construction of three JRL stations and associated viaducts to a venture between John Holland and McConnell Dowell South East Asia for $265.4 million. The contract covers the construction of Tengah Plantation, Tengah Park and Bukit Batok West stations and viaducts spanning 2.3km. Tengah Plantation Station will serve future residential developments in Tengah New Town, while Tengah Park Station will serve existing residential developments along Bukit Batok Road.

Parliament: Building control law amended to improve safety of high-rise buildings in Singapore The Straits Times 6th Mar 2020
Every seven years, buildings older than 20 years and above 13m tall - or roughly four storey high - have to engage a professional engineer or registered architect to inspect their facade. Under this new rule, the required repairs must also be carried out within a specific period, under a law passed by Parliament on Friday (March 6). More than 4,000 buildings are expected to be inspected annually, but landed houses are exempted from it. The compulsory inspection is among several changes made to the Building Control Act that was passed by Parliament on Friday.

Help for construction firms facing delays due to virus outbreak The Straits Times 5th Mar 2020
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has advised public agencies to take a sympathetic view when considering extension-of-time requests for projects delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak, said Minister of State for National Development Zaqy Mohamad. "We have also sought Redas' support for private sector developers to do likewise. If delays are prolonged, we will consider whether additional measures are necessary," he said, referring to the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore. To ease cash flow concerns from such delays, main contractors can submit progress payment claims fortnightly instead of monthly for public sector projects, he added.

Measures to encourage electric vehicle use: Allowing tech that can charge car in 30 minutes, electric motorcycles on expressways TODAYonline 5th Mar 2020
To encourage the wider adoption of cleaner vehicles in Singapore, the Government will allow the installation of fast-charging stations that can fully charge an electric car in about 30 minutes. During the Ministry of Transport’s (MOT) committee of supply debate on Thursday (March 5), Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said that the fast-charging system they will allow is called Chademo, which is adopted primarily by Japanese electric vehicle manufacturers. Updating such regulations is part of the Government’s plan to phase out vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) in 20 years’ time, by 2040, said Dr Janil. 

Parliament: Construction sector to digitalise building processes to boost productivity The Straits Times 4th Mar 2020
Some $120 million will be set aside for public sector agencies to adopt design for manufacturing and assembly (DfMA) methods in projects launched by 2021, as part of efforts to transform the construction sector. This comes as the Government aims to make DfMA the default way of building, said Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad in Parliament on Wednesday (March 4). "We are fundamentally changing the way we build through DfMA," said Mr Zaqy during the debate on his ministry's budget. DfMA refers to a highly productive method of construction where parts of buildings are made in a manufacturing facility before being sent to a site for assembly. "This way, construction becomes faster, cleaner, quieter, and of high quality." The additional funding will be made available under the Public Sector Construction Productivity Fund.

Thailand

Lockdown leaves migrant workers exposed Bangkok Post 23rd Mar 2020
A partial lockdown in Thailand to limit the spread of coronavirus exempts construction, exposing thousands of migrant workers to the deadly disease, human rights groups warned on Monday. The government has shut down malls in Bangkok for 22 days and extended the closure of schools, bars and cinemas in the capital to curb the outbreak. Several provinces also implemented similar measures. But construction work on high-rise apartments and office complexes continues, with hundreds of migrant workers seen heading to work in the morning, only a few wearing face masks or bandanas around their nose and mouth.

KRNA-led consortium selected for HSR Management project in Thailand Urban Transport News 19th Mar 2020
The Korea Rail Network Authority (KRNA), a government-owned agency established for construction and management of railways including high speed, conventional and urban rail infrastructures, has been selected as the preferred bidder for a high-speed railway management project in Thailand. This project is being monitored and supervised by the Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand (EECO). The EECO is a government agency in charge of planning, budgeting, and implementing economic development projects in three provinces southeast of Bangkok, Thailand. The KRNA has formed a consortium with 13 major multinational companies to win the project, which will cost a 156 billion won project award.

B39bn Don Mueang 3rd phase gets nod Bangkok Post 19th Mar 2020
The Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) board has approved a master plan for the third-phase development of Don Mueang airport costing an estimated 39 billion baht, a source at the AoT said on Wednesday. The expansion scheme, which will increase the airport's capacity to 40 million passengers a year -- up from 30 million at present, includes a 3.4-kilometre automated people mover system (APM), 12 parking bays, a junction terminal offering retail space and car park buildings. The APM system will boost the airport's capacity to handle increasing passenger numbers and should also ease congestion at the airport, which has caused spill-over traffic jams on the adjacent Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.

Red Line train trials to begin in October Bangkok Post 19th Mar 2020
Test runs for the new Red Line electric railway from Bang Sue to Rangsit will start in October on schedule as construction of the line and Bang Sue Central Station are almost complete. The Covid-19 pandemic will not affect the delivery of Japanese-made trains in time for the three-month trial before the 26-kilometre route is opened to the public by January next year, acting State Railway of Thailand governor Worawut Mala said on Wednesday. "Despite the spread of Covid-19, the train manufacturer insists all trains will be shipped to Thailand by the middle of this year," the SRT governor said.

Tussle over Chiang Mai's tramway Bangkok Post 16th Mar 2020
Chamber of commerce urges all three lines be built at once, but MRTA says state has other mass transit priorities too. Businesses say the planned 27-billion-baht tramway project will help stimulate the local economy, which is experiencing a downturn as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Somchai Ueawongchai, secretary-general of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, said the Covid-19 outbreak has dealt a significant blow to Chiang Mai's economy because the tourism sector accounts for a significant part of its economic output.

Medium-size reservoir eyed for East Bangkok Post 13th Mar 2020
The construction of a medium-sized reservoir in Chachoengsao province will be proposed as part of a water-management plan to ensure sufficient irrigation for farms and for industries in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), said Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon. He added that the plan for Huay Krok Khian reservoir, with a storage capacity of 19.20 cubic metres, will be submitted to the National Water Resource Committee (NWRC) for consideration. Once built, the reservoir in Tha Takiab district's Ban Ang Toey should be able to feed 3 million cubic metres of water into the farming, tourism and industry sectors. The project is scheduled for implementation between 2021 and 2023, he said.

Orange Line work on course Bangkok Post 13th Mar 2020
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has assured that the eastern section of Bangkok's Orange Line, stretching from the Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri, will be ready by 2024 as planned. He was speaking on Thursday after presiding over a ceremony to mark the start of the project's third tunnel boring machine -- running from Hua Mak to Ramkhamhaeng station -- which is expected to be completed by July. When in operation, it is estimated that this section of the Orange Line will serve up to 400,000 passengers a day, helping save time and travel costs, and reduce the negative impact on the environment caused by using cars.

Vietnam

NA Standing Committee discusses draft law on PPP vietnamnews.vn 25th Mar 2020
National Assembly (NA) deputies on Tuesday agreed the Law on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Investment must create conditions to ensure quality of public services and take advantage of investment from the private sector. While discussing the draft law at a meeting of the NA Standing Committee, lawmakers asked for clarification over auditing regulations applied on PPP projects. Some agreed that auditing should only be conducted on public properties, not private ones while others debated that all parts of the projects including those owned by the State and private sector must be audited.

Expressway component projects to be shifted to public investment Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 23rd Mar 2020
Three component projects of the North-South Expressway master plan are expected to be shifted from the private-public partnership model to the public investment model. The Mai Son – Highway 45 Expressway, Highway 45 – Nghi Son Expressway and Phan Thiet – Dau Giay section are to be changed. Initially, a total of eight sections out of 11 sections of the expressway were meant to be invested in a public-private partnership (PPP) model. The Ministry of Transport called on foreign and domestic investors to submit documents of interest in the project. However, last September, the Government decided that only domestic companies will be entitled to construct the North-South Expressway.

Five local contractors pass preliminary rounds for North-South Expressway components Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 23rd Mar 2020
After four months of filtering dossiers in the preliminary round, the Ministry of Transport selected five local investors to join the bidding for the construction of the Eastern Cluster of the North-South Expressway. Two joint ventures were chosen to bid for the 50km Nghi Son-Dien Chau section: the joint venture of Hoa Hiep Co., Ltd., Cienco 4, Pink Mountain Investment Co., Ltd., Vietnam Construction JSC No.2 (the first joint venture) and the joint venture of Tan Nam Construction Co., Ltd., Vinaconex, and Thai Son Traffic Work Construction Corporation. This component has a total investment capital of VND8.38 trillion ($364.35 million), VND2.55 trillion ($110.87 million) of which comes from the state budget.

Construction sector struggling because of coronavirus vietnamnews.vn 22nd Mar 2020
The increasing number of COVID-19 patients in Việt Nam has affected the economy, including the construction sector. Lê Đức Thọ, deputy general director of Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No 4 (Cienco4) said like many other businesses in the country, Cienco4 was being affected by the pandemic. The biggest issue for construction enterprises such as Cienco4 was access to construction materials, Thọ told Pháp Luật Việt Nam (Việt Nam Law) newspaper.

KTG starts construction of ready-built factory in Nhon Trach 3B Industrial Centre Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 21st Mar 2020
Khai Toan Group (KTG) has recently begun the construction of a ready-built factory in Nhon Trach 3B Industrial Center in Dong Nai province, featuring its Industry 4.0 factory. According to Dang Trong Duc, deputy general director of Khai Toan Group (KTG), this will be the second generation of KTG's factory, combining the factory, a pre-built warehouse, and 4.0 technology to create a digital convergence for industry and business functions and internal processes. The objective of the project is to achieve optimal management, effective operations, enhance environmental protection, and steer KTG's production towards sustainable development.

Central city to upgrade fishing port vietnamnews.vn 21st Mar 2020
The central city would start upgrade work at the overloaded Thọ Quang fishing port in the first quarter this year, according to Phạm Thành Trung, deputy head of the port's management board. He said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had allocated VNĐ79 billion (US$3.4 million) for the first quarter of 2020. Trung said the port, which was put into operation 13 years ago, was downgraded and overloaded with more boats arriving from the central region and other provinces.

Central Vietnam seeks solutions for large-scale projects across sectors Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 19th Mar 2020
Local authorities in the central provinces are doing their utmost to break impasses as a raft of projects in the region are behind schedule or in danger of having their plans crossed due to diverse problems of land clearance and investment resources. About 10 major projects are currently facing impediments in land procedures in Quang Nam province. Among these, BRG Group’s five major projects on commerce, services, resorts, entertainment, and sports with a total area of over 369 hectares are stuck. Meanwhile, the PPC An Thinh international resort complex of Nam Hoi An International JSC, valued at VND4.3 trillion ($187 million), and the East Quang Nam high-tech agricultural park of privately-held T&T Group, valued at VND3.3 trillion ($143.48 million), are confronted with similar issues.

PM orders acceleration of transport projects vietnamnews.vn 13th Mar 2020
The acceleration of investment disbursement for transport infrastructure projects is extremely important as the economy has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said at a meeting of the Government’s standing board in Hà Nội on Thursday. He singled out the component projects for the North-South and Trung Lương-Mỹ Thuận-Cần Thơ expressways, stressing that obstacles to those projects must be quickly removed.

Work set to restart on Côn Đảo Passenger Port vietnamnews.vn 3rd Mar 2020
The southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu is expected to restart work on the Côn Đảo Passenger Port at a revised cost of VNĐ158 billion (US$6.8 million). It was first approved by the provincial People’s Committee in 2007 at a cost of VNĐ57 billion ($2.45 million). Its construction began in 2010 but stalled in 2014 because some items required to be changed.