Infrastructure Update: May 11, 2020

Infrastructure Update | May 11, 2020
Authors: Jack Myint and Minh Vu
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Construction Sector Employed Safety Measures, Spending Decreased due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to force countries to take health related precautions for construction workers including restrictions on construction activities.

On May 1, Singapore extended stay-home notice for around 180,000 foreign workers in the construction sector and their dependents until May 18. The extension followed the detection of an outbreak in dormitories for foreign workers. The number of cases among foreign workers are noticeably higher than that in the general community, suggesting that transmission at construction worksites had occurred before the start of the stay-home period, according to a joint statement by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Manpower, and the Building and Construction Authority. In Malaysia, Works Minister Fadillah Yusof on May 4 said contractors operating during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) must comply with standard operating procedures set by the National Security Council to ensure workers’ safety and prevent transmission at construction sites. Procedures include taking temperatures of workers before entering the site daily and reporting symptoms to the nearest health office. His statement came after a construction site at Jalan Ampang was shut down by the Kuala Lumpur Health Department on May 1 when 28 foreign workers were found positive for COVID-19. Previously, the construction sites were not allowed to work during the Movement Control Order period which was replaced by the CMCO on May 4. Malaysia and Singapore have also agreed to delay finalizing an agreement on a US$736 million train project connecting Malaysia’s Johor to Singapore to the end of July, citing movement restriction due to COVID-19 as the reason.

Similarly, as the Philippine extended the restriction orders until May 15, the Philippine Department of Public Works and Highway (DPGW) on May 3 said public and private construction projects in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) would be allowed to resume under strict safety guidelines. Guidelines would include testing workers before starting work, installing facilities for disinfection and handwashing, and social distancing. These measures to allow some construction activities to resume come as the sector reels from the impact of the pandemic. In the Philippines, government spending on infrastructure fell by 21 percent as of the end of February with downward trend expected to continue through the first half of 2020. Following President Duterte’s announcement to reallocate the fund for the infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build” to support health infrastructure, on April 26, the Manila City government reallocated US$12 million originally set for infrastructure to fund financial assistance and food subsidies for over 600,000 residents

Cambodia Requests the United States to Support Infrastructure Development

In a bilateral meeting on April 30, Cambodia Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol requested the U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, W. Patrick Murphy to consider providing assistance in the ports sector, transportation, land infrastructure, and railroad infrastructure. The Minister outlined some key areas in which the U.S. can support, including capacity building on road construction and training and exchange tours between the Los Angeles Port and Sihanoukville Port. In response, the Ambassador welcomed the close collaborations between the U.S. and Cambodia on infrastructure and thanked the Cambodia government for allowing the cruise ship Westerdam to dock at the Sihanoukville Port earlier during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Southeast Asian governments have relied on public spending in many areas, including infrastructure, as part of their efforts to ` revitalize economic growth. Malaysia and Indonesia in late March and early April had committed to funding infrastructure projects, stating that the implementation of those projects would increase government spending and inject cash to workers to maintain their purchasing power. On the other hand, Thailand and Philippines had diverted infrastructure funding to health capacity and stimulus packages to control the pandemic and its impact. Cambodia, having only two active cases as of May 7 and no movement restriction order in place, is primed to strengthen its construction sector compared to its regional peer. The call for the U.S. support also come as the U.S. agencies is looking to reenter the region. The U.S. EXIM Bank was reauthorized in December 2019 for a historic seven-year period and in a briefing with the Council, said it is open to support private sector programs in Cambodia up to seven years. The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) earlier in January affirmed its commitment to Indonesia’s infrastructure agenda and in March approved a US$190 million loan to a digital infrastructure project connecting Singapore, Indonesia, and the U.S.

 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Brunei
Temburong bridge opening not for sightseeing

Cambodia
Ministry to give mining rights for four coal sites
Cambodia requests support for infrastructure development from United States
Okvau gold project raises $60M
Construction sector jittery after signs of virus impact
Road improvement moving fast
At last, gold extraction expected this year after many failed expectations​
Preah Sihanouk ring road works costing $76 million commences

Indonesia
How COVID-19 will dampen Indonesia’s infrastructure developments
Reform needed to improve progress on regional infrastructure growth: Report
Government looks to recovery with $5.3b toll road investment offerings
MRT Jakarta delays phase 2 construction amid COVID-19 outbreak
Infrastructure development progressing as investment jumps, BKPM says
COVID-19 crisis delays several infrastructure projects
COVID-19 disrupts construction work at Papua's PON sports venues

Laos
Work completed on Laos’ third longest tunnel for railway link with China
Chinese engineering firm fully resumes construction of China-Laos railway

Malaysia
Singapore and Malaysia delay deal on rail project to end-July
CIDB introduces initiatives to ease burden of construction industry players
Projects worth more than RM16 bil in Sarawak continue during CMCO
IBS technology can reduce Covid-19 outbreak in construction sites, says Fadillah
Construction of PNB's Merdeka 118 tower reaches 111 floors
Covid-19: Contractors told to monitor foreign workers' health
Ageson bags massive RM27.5bil contract from China
Developers, contractors in KL construction sites to get workers tested for Covid-19, says Annuar Musa
Workers reluctant to return, demand more pay
JKJR absorbed into RTD effective May 1
Construction sector’s MCO phase one shutdown dealt RM11.6b blow to Malaysian economy, says senior minister
Malaysia gives green light for construction to resume on East Coast Rail Link
SBF: Govt’s decision to allow certain contractors to operate during MCO period pragmatic
19,077 contractors applied but only 1,856 approved to operate
Audit report: Road maintenance management in Sabah inefficient, fails to meet objectives

Myanmar
Union Construction Minister inspects upgrading of Yangon-Pathein road via video meeting
Deputy Construction Minister holds online meetings with Myanmar’s development partners
Construction of Dala Bridge to continue despite COVID-19
Govt to build new ports with assistance from Japan

Philippines
DPWH: Construction projects in GCQ areas allowed to resume but with strict guidelines for workers' health
New airport measures, projects to continue this year: CAB
Infrastructure spending falls as of end-Feb. — DBM
ADB: $1.5-B loan on top of existing fund support
Manila realigns P611-million infra budget to food, financial assistance
Villafuerte renews call for ‘Build, Build, Build’ reboot amid ECQ
Residents protest as Chinese-bound ship allegedly resumed mining on Homonhon Island
Think tank outlines ‘barriers’ to PHL’s infra development program
Philippines banks on infrastructure push to revive economy from virus
DoTr proposes to free up P15-B funds for coronavirus response

Singapore
More reliability for Circle Line with inking of 16-year servicing pact between SMRT and Alstom
JB-Singapore RTS Link project suspended for another 3 months until Jul 31 amid COVID-19 outbreak
Stay-home notice for foreign workers, dependants in construction sector extended to May 18
Singapore construction sector to shrink 10.3% this year from Covid-19 measures: Fitch Solutions
Coronavirus: Mega Covid-19 facility being built at Tanjong Pagar Terminal to house up to 15,000 people

Thailand
Parliament complex contractor sues for B1.59bn over delays
Pattaya resumes numerous major construction projects including Walking Street and repair beach after weekend storms
Pink Line train route steaming towards completion
BBS consortium wins U-tapao airport bid
THAI to press ahead with B11bn maintenance facility
State Railway kicks off bidding for Bt1.67 billion repair contract
Airbus pulls out of U-Tapao airport project

Vietnam
Building material sector to benefit from speeding up disbursement of public investment
Expressway through Vietnam national park poised to open
Quang Ninh commences construction of VND2.1 trillion Cua Luc 1 Bridge
Central city calls for $604 million IZs investment
Huế, Đà Nẵng call for $215 million property investment projects
Ministry of Transport approves Buon Ma Thuot city bypass
Hanoi approves plan to implement two urban metro lines
PPP projects must have investment of more than US$4.4 million: NA deputies
Two key southern waterways logistics corridors proposed with World Bank funding
Work on two bridges across Cửa Lục Bay in Quảng Ninh to start this month
Bright prospect for construction enterprises despite disease
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Brunei

Temburong bridge opening not for sightseeing Borneo Bulletin Online 22nd Apr 2020
The opening of the Temburong Bridge is for commuters to travel between the two districts and not for people to sightseeing, said Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah during a press conference on April 21. The minister said that there is no need to review the opening hour of the bridge as there are still work being done on the bridge. “We are finally able to test our CCTV today which can zoom in and monitor the bridge,” he said. He said in the next few days, the CCTV will be fully operational. The minister also highlighted that action will be taken against those found misusing the bridge, including those who loiter by the roadside.

Cambodia

Ministry to give mining rights for four coal sites Phnom Penh Post 4th May 2020
The Ministry of Mines and Energy is set to review applications soon for rights to four coal mining concession areas – totalling 794sq km – it opened late in March in the Kingdom’s north. “Interested national and international companies can apply for a mining licence at the General Department of Mineral Resources,” it said in a press release, adding that it will make a public announcement naming the winning company once the process is completed. General Department of Mineral Resources director-general Yos Monirath told The Post on Monday that the ministry saw the areas’ potential for exploitable minerals resources.

Cambodia requests support for infrastructure development from United States Khmer Times 1st May 2020
Minister of Public Works and Transport, Sun Chanthol has requested the US Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy, to consider providing assistance in the ports sector, transportation, land infrastructure and railroad. Mr Chanthol said this during his bilateral talks with Ambassador Murphy on Thursday and in addition he requested support for capacity building for the Ministry’s technical and expert officials on road construction. He said the United States can assist the ministry’s officials on training and exchange tours between the Los Angeles Port and Cambodia’s Sihanoukville Port.

Okvau gold project raises $60M Phnom Penh Post 29th Apr 2020
Australia-listed Emerald Resources NL (Emerald) has achieved closure on a $60 million Okvau Debt Facility put together by Sprott Private Resource Lending II LP (Sprott), a leading financier to the global mining sector, to finance Emerald’s gold project in the region, Sprott said in a press release on Tuesday. Speaking at a press briefing on goal setting and action plans last week, General Department of Mineral Resources director general Yos Monirath said the development of the Okvau project is running smoothly despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Construction sector jittery after signs of virus impact Phnom Penh Post 29th Apr 2020
Cambodia imported 879,394 tonnes of building materials worth $317.74 million in the first quarter of this year as the sector braces for impact from the ongoing health crisis. Broken down by category, the Kingdom imported 100,440 tonnes of steel worth $66.83 million, 384,609 tonnes of cement worth $24.57 million and 394,346 tonnes of construction equipment worth $226.34 million, data from the Department of Planning Statistics and Trade Information under the Ministry of Commerce’s General Department of Domestic Trade shows.

Road improvement moving fast Khmer Times 29th Apr 2020
Construction work for the first stage of the National Road 5 Improvement Project, from Battambang province to Banteay Meanchey province, is now 80 percent complete since work started in March 2018, according to a Public Works and Transport Ministry report. At present, the work has been progressing and the road contractor company is working on the second layer of asphalt-concrete tarmac and some parts. Some stretches of road have been put into operation temporarily.

At last, gold extraction expected this year after many failed expectations​ Khmer Times 25th Apr 2020
Renaissance Minerals, a subsidiary of Australia-listed Emerald Resources has been reported by the Ministry of Mines and Energy to be in an advanced stage of preparations in all aspects to extract the first gold particles this year. Renaissance Minerals mines are located in Mondulkiri province. In July last year, the government granted the firm an Industrial Mining Licence covering 11.5 square kilometres at the Okvau gold project, in Mondulkiri’s Mondul Seima district. The licence has a validity of 15 years and can be renewed for 10 more years up to two times in accordance with Cambodian law.

Preah Sihanouk ring road works costing $76 million commences Khmer Times 22nd Apr 2020
A ring road for transport linking Sihanoukville deep seaport to a road section of National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nup district through Stung Hav district has broken ground late last week. The groundbreaking ceremony of the 43-kilometre-long road took place under the presidency of Sun Chanthol, Senior Minister and Minister of Public Works and Transport.

Indonesia

How COVID-19 will dampen Indonesia’s infrastructure developments The Conversation 29th Apr 2020
The Indonesian economy is plagued by a range of “infrastructure gaps”, places where much-needed physical and digital infrastructure is either substandard or absent, mostly due to under-investment. This year’s national infrastructure budget stands at about US$29 billion. The government will directly fund a fraction of the total of US$412 billion in investments from 2020 to 2024 to build infrastructure projects, providing 40% of the total budget, or about $US164.8 billion. The remaining funds will come from state-owned enterprises (25%) and the private sector (35%).

Reform needed to improve progress on regional infrastructure growth: Report The Business Times 23rd Apr 2020
INFRASTRUCTURE plans in Indonesia and the Philippines need a major overhaul to achieve their ambitious growth goals, according to research from Oxford Economics. Vocational training, streamlined regulations and a wider pool of commercially viable projects would help both countries make more headway and boost longer-term production capacity, economists Thatchinamoorthy Krshnan and Jung Sung-Eun wrote in a report, as they called for a more conducive environment for private investment to help pick up the slack. The analysts noted that progress on infrastructure was slow even before the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic stymied Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte’s US$180 billion public works ambitions and Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s similar US$430 billion plans.

Government looks to recovery with $5.3b toll road investment offerings The Jakarta Post 4th May 2020
Looking toward post-coronavirus economic recovery, the government is to offer six toll road projects with a combined value of Rp 80.5 trillion (US$5.3 billion) to investors this year, officials have said. The projects consist of five private toll road projects and an Rp 8.7 trillion government project for highway bridges connecting Batam Island with the nearby islands of Tanjung Sauh, Buau and Bintan in Riau Islands province. The Public Works and Housing Ministry is offering the investment projects as a public private partnership (PPP), according to public works minister Basuki Hadimulyono.

MRT Jakarta delays phase 2 construction amid COVID-19 outbreak The Jakarta Post 1st May 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak has forced city-owned transportation company PT MRT Jakarta to postpone construction of phase 2 of the Jakarta MRT. MRT Jakarta, the operator of the country’s first subway service, plans to commence construction of a 2.8 km underground tunnel from Bundaran HI to the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta in June, known as stage CP201. The plan was pushed back from March and was expected to be completed by December 2024. Phase 2 of the MRT’s development will see the construction of seven underground stations, extending 6.3 kilometer from Bundaran HI to Kota in West Jakarta.

Infrastructure development progressing as investment jumps, BKPM says The Jakarta Post 28th Apr 2020
Projects in the warehouse, transportation and telecommunications sector have contributed the most to total realized investment this year at around 23.4 percent as of the first quarter, indicating that the government’s infrastructure development plan has shown progress, according to the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). The sector had been one of the top five sectors for realized investment since 2016, the agency said, adding that its investment realization jumped 32 percent year-on-year (yoy) to Rp 49.3 trillion (US$3.1 billion) from January to March. The BKPM reported that total investment realization in the first quarter of the year rose 8 percent yoy to Rp 210.7 trillion.

COVID-19 crisis delays several infrastructure projects The Jakarta Post 23rd Apr 2020
The Public Works and Public Housing Ministry will suspend a number of infrastructure projects following the ministry’s decision to reallocate a large part of its budget funds to efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public Works and Public Housing Miniser Basuki Hadimuljono said Tuesday said the postponed projects included overhauling the irrigation network in Baro Raya in Pidie, Aceh, revamping the waterfront area in Pariaman, West Sumatra, and building the Sp Tohpati - Tjokroaminoto bridge in Denpasar, Bali.

COVID-19 disrupts construction work at Papua's PON sports venues Antara News 23rd Apr 2020
President Joko Widodo decided to delay holding the 2020 National Games (PON) in Papua, from October 2020 to October 2021, over the ongoing new coronavirus disease pandemic that disrupted the completion of several sports venues. Construction work at the venues for this multi-sport event could not be continued partly owing to the shortage of building materials in Papua, Youth and Sports Minister Zainuddin Amali informed journalists here, Thursday.

Laos

Work completed on Laos’ third longest tunnel for railway link with China Vientiane Times 1st May 2020
Work on the country’s third longest tunnel at Namor district in Oudomxay province, which is part of the Laos-China Railway Project and has a length of 9020 metres, has been completed. The Laos-China Railway Company informed the media that the excavation of the railway tunnel was successfully completed on Wednesday amid the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown. The work was completed 43 days ahead of schedule despite several challenges in the construction area, which was filled by groundwater. The country’s third longest tunnel is in Koulong village.

Chinese engineering firm fully resumes construction of China-Laos railway The Star Online 25th Apr 2020
The Laos-China Railway Co, Ltd. (LCRC), a joint venture based in the Laos capital Vientiane in charge of the railway, said on Saturday (April 25) that the China Railway Group Limited (CREC) has resumed construction at all its work sites along the China-Laos Railway. Huang Hong, general manager of the CREC China-Laos Railway Project Headquarters in Vientiane, told Xinhua that the CREC, as the main force in the construction of China-Laos railway, has resumed construction in the northern Laos' mountains by 100 percent, which means the railway building has almost returned to the normal level.

Malaysia

Singapore and Malaysia delay deal on rail project to end-July The Star Online 3rd May 2020
Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to delay finalising an agreement on a US$736mil train project connecting Malaysia's southern state of Johor with the city-state to the end of July, their transport ministries said on Sunday (May 3) The countries agreed to extend the deadline for three months to July 31 after talks on the scheme, known as the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link, were hit by curbs on movement to stem the coronavirus, Malaysia's Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said in a statement. In a separate statement, Singapore's transport ministry said it hoped to wrap up discussions with Malaysia soon, adding that it would be the final extension.

CIDB introduces initiatives to ease burden of construction industry players The Edge Markets 7th May 2020
The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) has introduced several initiatives to ease the burden of contractors and construction industry players affected by the Movement Control Order following the COVID-19 pandemic.In a statement, Senior Minister (Infrastructure Cluster) Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, who is also Works Minister, said the board had reviewed the processes and transactions related to industry players and had introduced several changes for both the short term and long term. Among the initiatives are a two-month deferment of levy payment for private sector projects announced between Jan 1 and May 31, 2020; relaxation of contractor registration conditions by exempting the requirement for Continuous Contractor Development points for new registrations for the April-December 2020 period; postponement of the MCORE evaluation requirement for G1 contractors until 2021; and waiver of Management Efficiency Certificate and Integrity Course requirements for the period of April 1 to Dec 31, 2020. In addition, the Construction Personnel Skills (Local) training will be provided free of charge until year-end. The fee for local workers to participate in the Skills Competency Assessment exam has also been waived while assessment fee for foreign workers will be discounted by 50 percent until year-end. Moreover, the Certificate of Approval fee has been reduced from RM1,000 to RM750 effective from May 15 to Dec 31, 2020. According to the statement, CIDB will also give a 50 percent discount for training under its supervisory and management programs and has extended the validity of the Temporary Construction Personnel certificate from two months to six months.

Projects worth more than RM16 bil in Sarawak continue during CMCO The Edge Markets 7th May 2020
The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has identified 101 projects worth RM16.828 billion on which works have continued during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) period. Its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said of the total, 42 projects costing about RM16.6 billion involved allocations from the State Government, Federal Government, people's projects and alternative funds. "These projects have been identified and filtered by a special task force for the green zones headed by State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion," he said at a press conference on May 7. According to Uggah, another 59 Rural Transformation Projects (RTPs) worth RM22.8 million have been identified for continued implementation during CMCO, and one of the requirements is that the projects must be in green zones. As of now, 28 of the 40 districts in the State are in green zones. Uggah, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, said the SDMC imposed several conditions for works on these projects to continue, including the fact that the projects must be located in green districts and should not involve the entry of workers, building materials and machinery from outside the green zone.

IBS technology can reduce Covid-19 outbreak in construction sites, says Fadillah Malay Mail 5th May 2020
The use of the Industrialised Building System (IBS) technology is seen as the best way to reduce the risk of Covid-19 outbreak in the construction sector, said Senior Minister (Infrastructure Cluster) Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof. He said the use of the IBS technology could also reduce manpower, especially that of less-skilled labour, as construction components were manufactured directly in factories.

Construction of PNB's Merdeka 118 tower reaches 111 floors NST Online 4th May 2020
Permodalan Nasional Bhd's (PNB) Merdeka 118 tower is 50 per cent completed, reaching 111 floors prior to enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18. PNB president and group chief executive officer Jalil Rasheed said construction was halted during the first three phases of the MCO but preparations had been made to resume work, which should begin this week.

Covid-19: Contractors told to monitor foreign workers' health NST Online 4th May 2020
Contractors operating during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) must comply with standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the National Security Council (NSC) or face action. Senior Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said authorities will not tolerate those who defy the SOPs which are crucial in ensuring workers' safety and deter Covid-19 transmission at construction sites and surrounding areas.

Ageson bags massive RM27.5bil contract from China NST Online 4th May 2020
Ageson Bhd claims to have secured an order worth a whopping RM27.5 billion from Guangzhou Kaishengda Industrial Co Ltd (GKI). Ageson, in a Bursa Malaysia filing today, said its subsidiary Esa Pile Sdn Bhd Eould would supply river and sea sand to GKI for 15 years at a value of 44.8 billion renminbi.

Developers, contractors in KL construction sites to get workers tested for Covid-19, says Annuar Musa The Star Online 3rd May 2020
DEVELOPERS and contractors in Kuala Lumpur who have active project sites in the city have been instructed to get their workers tested for Covid-19, says Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa. He added that employers must ensure that their workers undergo Covid-19 testing at private clinics and labs, and said that the expenses are to be borne by the employers themselves. At his life-streaming Facebook session on Sunday (May 3), Annuar said following a recent case at a construction site on Jalan Ampang, employers at the sites must ensure that the site is kept clean and free of diseases and to get their workers tested as soon as possible.

Workers reluctant to return, demand more pay NST Online 30th Apr 2020
Employers are facing a new set of problems following the Movement Control Order (MCO) as the government mulls to reopen the nation's economic sectors. In the construction sector-- even with green light given to return to full capacity—companies are facing problems in purchasing building materials. Penang Master Builders and Building Materials Dealers Association president Datuk Lim Chee Tong said construction sites might be facing a lack of materials from their existing supply chain.

JKJR absorbed into RTD effective May 1 NST Online 30th Apr 2020
The roles and functions of the Road Safety Department (JKJR) will be absorbed into the Road Transport Department (RTD) effective May 1. The Transport Ministry in a statement today said the decision was made in an effort to empower all government agencies under the ministry. Despite the absorption, the ministry assured that no JKJR employees would be retrenched.

Construction sector’s MCO phase one shutdown dealt RM11.6b blow to Malaysian economy, says senior minister Malay Mail 30th Apr 2020
Malaysia’s economy suffered about RM11.6 billion in losses, after the construction sector was shut down during the first phase of the movement control order (MCO), Senior Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said. In an interview with Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) last night, the works minister said that the government has therefore decided to strike a balance between saving lives and ensuring people’s livelihoods continue, to prevent a more devastating effect.

Malaysia gives green light for construction to resume on East Coast Rail Link The Straits Times 28th Apr 2020
Construction work has resumed on Malaysia's biggest mega project, the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), after the government gave its approval, the project's main contractor said on Tuesday (April 28). The RM44 billion (S$14.3 billion) project was suspended when movement restrictions were put in place on March 18 in Malaysia to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The movement control order (MCO) shut the country's borders and non-essential businesses and work.

SBF: Govt’s decision to allow certain contractors to operate during MCO period pragmatic Borneo Post Online 23rd Apr 2020
The recent government’s decision to allow certain contractors to operate five days a week from 8.30am to 5pm during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period is deemed as a pragmatic approach, said Sarawak Business Federation (SBF). SBF secretary general Jonathan Chai said such move would allow certain part of the construction sector to resume operation so as to expedite the progress of recovering after the MCO is lifted. “In an industry like construction, it is impractical to operate on alternative days or couple of days in a week because certain works warrant for continuation of progress in order to achieve the economy of scale.

19,077 contractors applied but only 1,856 approved to operate NST Online 22nd Apr 2020
A total of 19,077 construction companies and those from the industry applied to operate during the Movement Control Order (MCO), Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said. However, he said, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s (Miti) rejected 7,387 of the applications and only allowed 1,856 to operate. He said those given the approval were told to strictly adhere to the rules that had been placed. Fadillah said small construction companies under the G1 and G2 category were among those prioritized to resume operations during the MCO. The G1 and G2 category contractors include those whose projects are below RM200,000 and those not exceeding RM500,000 respectively. He explained that 13 categories of projects had been allowed to resume, namely those which did not require many workers on site, maintenance and construction works that had achieved 90 percent physical progress and critical works to ensure the safety of construction structures like slope works, tunnels, bridges and viaducts, and land surveys. Fadillah said that all professional services related to construction and project management, including approving payments for construction work in progress will also be allowed to return to work. He said contractors must make sure they minimize the number of workers on site by at least half of what they originally had. .

Audit report: Road maintenance management in Sabah inefficient, fails to meet objectives www.thesundaily.my 21st Apr 2020
The management of road maintenance in Sabah by road concession holders or maintenance contractors is inefficient and fails to meet the objectives of road maintenance, according to the 2018 Auditor-General’s Report Series 2 released yesterday. The report said, based on the 2018 Road Condition Index, 55.3% of state roads are on Scale 3 (moderate) and Scale 4 (bad) which require regular maintenance, while 4.5% are on Scale 5 (non-maintainable roads) that require total reconstruction work.

Myanmar

Union Construction Minister inspects upgrading of Yangon-Pathein road via video meeting Global New Light Of Myanmar 2nd May 2020
Union Minister for Construction U Han Zaw inspected the Yangon-Pathein road projects and preparedness for natural disasters via video conferencing yesterday. At the video meeting, Director-General (Civil) of Road Department U Yan Naing Zaw explained the processes of Yangon-Pathein road upgrading project, installation of sheet piles beside the road to retain soils on the road during the raining season, and ongoing works. Chief Engineer of Road Department U Kyaw Naing reported on the upgrading processes of Yangon-Pathein road (Yangon Region road section).

Deputy Construction Minister holds online meetings with Myanmar’s development partners Global New Light Of Myanmar 23rd Apr 2020
Deputy Minister for Construction Dr Kyaw Lin, accompanied by his permanent secretary and departmental officials, discussed development partners of Myanmar through video conferencing yesterday. The first meeting was held with the managements of J&M Steel Solution Co.,Ltd on COVID-19 prevention plans and re-opening the factories with the approval of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.

Construction of Dala Bridge to continue despite COVID-19 The Myanmar Times 22nd Apr 2020
The Dala Bridge project will continue despite the spread of COVID-19, according to the Bridge and Road Department under the Ministry of Construction. “Construction of Dala Bridge project will not stop. We didn’t stop during Thingyan too,” said chief engineer U Kyaw Kaung Cho. The bridge is now 10 percent complete since construction began in December 2019. “Welding w is ongoing and boring on the Dala side is being carried out now, although the process has slowed as there are fewer crane operators available,” U Kyaw Kaung Cho said.

Govt to build new ports with assistance from Japan The Myanmar Times 20th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) is planning to build new port terminals with financial assistance from the Japanese Government, minister U Thant Sin Maung said. Myanmar has nine ports located in Yangon Region, Ayeyarwaddy Region, Mon State, Tanintharyi Region, and Rakhine State along the coast of the country. The Port of Yangon is the major port of the country and handles about 90 percent of the country’s exports and imports. The MOTC is also planning to build new inland water ports in Mandalay, Monywa in Sagaing Region, Pakokku in Magway Region, and Bhamo in Kachin State.

Philippines

DPWH: Construction projects in GCQ areas allowed to resume but with strict guidelines for workers' health CNN Philippines 3rd May 2020
Public and private construction projects in areas under general community quarantine will be allowed to resume, but workers need to follow strict safety guidelines to avoid infection. Department of Public Works and Highwaya (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar told CNN Philippines Sunday of the measures to be put in place at work sites.

New airport measures, projects to continue this year: CAB Philippine News Agency 30th Apr 2020
New airport measures will be implemented and the halted projects in airport facilities because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic will be continued this year, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) director general Jim Sydiongco said.  In a virtual presser, Sydiongco said the new airport measures include two key components: provision of sanitation items and footbaths in every entry and exit points; and the observance of routine disinfection of frequently touched or exposed surfaces such as security screening equipment and trays at security checkpoints and baggage areas. Sydiongco also mentioned that there are 22 ongoing projects in airport facilities operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Infrastructure spending falls as of end-Feb. — DBM Business World 28th Apr 2020
State spending on infrastructure fell by 21% as of end-February on high base effects, with the downward trend expected to continue throughout the first half as strict lockdown measures halted implementation of projects. Data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed infrastructure and other capital outlays declined to P93.9 billion in the first two months of 2020, from P118.4 billion a year ago. The DPWH’s prior years’ accounts payable for projects in January to February slid 57% to P35.2 billion from P82.2 billion during the same period in 2019. In February alone, infrastructure spending fell 9.3% to P45.6 billion from P50.3 billion recorded a year ago, posting its first year-on-year contraction in four months or since October’s 12.92% decline.

ADB: $1.5-B loan on top of existing fund support BusinessMirror 27th Apr 2020
Despite extending the largest budgetary assistance to the Philippines, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) assured there won’t be any changes in its Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) on account of its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic response. In a virtual briefing, ADB Philippines Country Director Kelly Bird told reporters the financing to be used for its projects contained in the CPS will not be affected by the loan it extended to the country. On Friday, the ADB announced that it has approved lending $1.5 billion to the Philippines, the largest budgetary support granted by the ADB, to boost the country’s response to Covid-19.

Manila realigns P611-million infra budget to food, financial assistance Rappler 26th Apr 2020
The Manila City government realigned P611 million of its budget originally set for infrastructure to fund its financial assistance and food subsidies for over 600,000 residents. Mayor Isko Moreno said that the local government decided to reallocate P611 million for cash aid, food packs, and rice subsidies of Manileños who continue to be affected by the lockdown imposed over Luzon island due to the coronavirus disease.

Villafuerte renews call for ‘Build, Build, Build’ reboot amid ECQ GMA News Online 26th Apr 2020
Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte on Sunday reiterated his proposal to reboot the government's "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program and declare construction activities an essential service even as the enhanced community quarantine was extended anew in some areas. “‘Build, Build, Build’ will enable the country to achieve a V-shaped or quick recovery as infrastructure investments have the highest multiplier effects on the economy, including the generation of jobs,” Villafuerte said in a statement.

Residents protest as Chinese-bound ship allegedly resumed mining on Homonhon Island GMA News Online 24th Apr 2020
Residents of Homonhon Island in Eastern Samar have protested against the alleged continued chromite ore mining of a China-bound ship even amid a community quarantine to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The MW VW Peace, carrying 13 Chinese and four Myanmar nationals, recently docked on the island to load 7,000 metric tons of chromite ore for export to China. The Homonhon Environmental Rescuers Organization decried the arrival of the vessel.

Think tank outlines ‘barriers’ to PHL’s infra development program BusinessMirror 23rd Apr 2020
Aside from the impact of the coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the government’s low absorptive capacity will keep the Philippines from meeting its infrastructure and gross domestic product (GDP) growth targets in the medium term, according to an international think tank. In a Research Brief, Oxford Economics’ Thatchinamoorthy Krshnan and Sung-Eun Jung, said the implementation rate of the country’s infrastructure projects is only about 30 percent due to low absorptive capacity.

Philippines banks on infrastructure push to revive economy from virus Rappler 22nd Apr 2020
he Philippines is relying on infrastructure projects to revive its coronavirus-stricken economy, with its new chief economist noting that projects with the most impact should be prioritized. "We will be entering a new normal, and we will have to determine which of the BBB (Build, Build, Build) projects have the maximum impact," said Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua. Chua echoes the recommendations of Ernesto Pernia, his predecessor who resigned amid the coronavirus crisis.

DoTr proposes to free up P15-B funds for coronavirus response Business World 20th Apr 2020
The Department of Transportation (DoTr) on Monday said it identified 35 transport projects where around P15 billion can be freed up for the government’s coronavirus pandemic response efforts. Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope O. Libiran declined to provide the list, but said it includes 35 program items and projects across all transport sectors such as rails, airports, ports and roads. Ms. Libiran said the projects are not being axed and will still proceed since only a portion of their budgets may be realigned.

Singapore

More reliability for Circle Line with inking of 16-year servicing pact between SMRT and Alstom The Straits Times 6th May 2020
The Circle Line (CCL) is set to become more reliable for commuters with the signing of a 16-year servicing contract between train operator SMRT and French rail multinational firm Alstom. The long-term agreement announced on May 6 comes with unspecified "performance guarantees" and ensures the "continued reliability and availability" of the control systems that run the CCL. Alstom built the CCL and the trains that run on it, and is also involved in supplying signalling equipment for the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line. Until 2035, Alstom will provide spare parts, repairs, obsolescence management and technical support for the CCL.

JB-Singapore RTS Link project suspended for another 3 months until Jul 31 amid COVID-19 outbreak CNA 2nd May 2020
The suspension of the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project has been extended by another three months until the end of July, Singapore’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) said on Saturday (May 2). Singapore COVID-19 "circuit breaker" measures and Malaysia's movement control order have "affected the pace of our discussions", said the ministry.  Malaysia’s Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong had said earlier on Saturday that bilateral discussions with Singapore on the project have been impacted by measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus on both sides of the Causeway. This is the third extension of the suspension at Malaysia's request.

Stay-home notice for foreign workers, dependants in construction sector extended to May 18 The Straits Times 1st May 2020
The stay-home notice that is being served by around 180,000 foreign workers in the construction sector and their dependants will be extended by another 14 days as a precautionary measure to stem the spread of Covid-19, the authorities said on Friday (May 1). The workers, who are work permit and S Pass holders, will now serve their stay-home notice (SHN), initially slated to end on May 4, until May 18, 11.59pm.

Singapore construction sector to shrink 10.3% this year from Covid-19 measures: Fitch Solutions The Straits Times 29th Apr 2020
Singapore's construction sector is poised to take a hard hit from the Covid-19 outbreak in the short-term, and is now expected to contract sharply by 10.3 per cent this year in real terms, according to Fitch Solutions. This is down from its previous forecast of a 3.2 per cent contraction, making Singapore the worst hit market in the Asia-Pacific region, the market insights firm said in a research note released on Wednesday (April 29).

Coronavirus: Mega Covid-19 facility being built at Tanjong Pagar Terminal to house up to 15,000 people The Straits Times 23rd Apr 2020
A large facility is being set up at Tanjong Pagar Terminal to potentially house Covid-19 patients and foreign workers, as the number of coronavirus cases in Singapore continues to increase. When completed, the mega temporary structure could accommodate up to 15,000 people. Over the last few weeks, the Government has been clearing and preparing various locations to house healthy foreign workers to curb the spread of the virus in worker dormitories or to convert them into community isolation sites.

Thailand

Parliament complex contractor sues for B1.59bn over delays Bangkok Post 29th Apr 2020
Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction Plc (Stecon) is suing the House secretariat for 1.59 billion baht for the delayed handover of land for the new parliament complex it is building in Bangkok. Sorasak Pienvej, secretary of the secretariat, said on Wednesday that Stecon had exercised the right to sue it had earlier reserved over the delay. Stecon won the contract to build the complex. It is years behind schedule. The contractor partly attributes this to delays in handing over the land in Kiakkai area, on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River.

Pattaya resumes numerous major construction projects including Walking Street and repair beach after weekend storms The Pattaya News 28th Apr 2020
Several major construction projects have been resumed and teams returned to work in the Pattaya area as the Covid19 Coronavirus crisis appears to be improving. Underground cable construction projects at Pattaya Walking Street is expected to start in June, officials told The Pattaya News today.

Pink Line train route steaming towards completion The Nation Thailand 28th Apr 2020
The construction of the Pink Line MRT train route (Kaerai-Min Buri) is now 54 per cent complete and should be ready to open for public use on schedule in October 2021 despite the Covid-19 crisis, Surachet Laophulsuk, Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) deputy governor of Engineering and Construction, said on Monday (April 27). After an inspection, he said the Min Buri station will serve as a feeder to the MRT Orange Line (Thailand Cultural Centre-Min Buri).

BBS consortium wins U-tapao airport bid Bangkok Post 28th Apr 2020
The subcommittee handling infrastructure development projects at the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) chaired by Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana on Monday chose the BBS consortium to win the bid to build the 290-billion-baht Eastern Airport City Project at U-tapao. Kanit Sangsubhan, the EEC Office's secretary-general, said the subcommittee will propose the winning bidder for the project to the EEC Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday and for cabinet approval at a later date.

THAI to press ahead with B11bn maintenance facility Bangkok Post 27th Apr 2020
Thai Airways International will press on with a project to build a 11-billion maintenance facility east of Bangkok after partner Airbus dropped out due to the coronavirus outbreak, a senior official said on Monday. Airbus has asked not to participate in the investment, citing the impact of the Covid-19 situation on air travel, Deputy secretary-general for infrastructure in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Chokchai Panyayong told a news briefing.

State Railway kicks off bidding for Bt1.67 billion repair contract The Nation Thailand 23rd Apr 2020
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has published terms of reference for contractors bidding for the contract to repair GEA (General Electric Airbrake) locomotives, acting SRT governor Worawut Mala revealed. The process will be conducted via electronic bidding, with the mid-price set at Bt1.67 billion, he explained. The public hearing for the deal began on Monday (April 20) and will be held until this July, with the bid winner announced by the end of this year.

Airbus pulls out of U-Tapao airport project The Nation Thailand 22nd Apr 2020
A planned 11-billion-baht joint venture between Airbus and Thai Airways to develop a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Rayong’s U-Tapao Airport has fallen victim to the Covid-19 pandemic. Airbus failed to deliver its proposal by the deadline on Monday (April 20), Cherdphan Chotikhun, executive vice president of THAI's Technical Department, revealed. That left the national carrier seeking a new solution, or else it will have to return the land earmarked for the facility to the Navy.Airbus SAS was only private corporation which passed the THAI’s special bidding process for the MRO, which is one of five core projects in the government’s flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

Vietnam

Building material sector to benefit from speeding up disbursement of public investment vietnamnews.vn 4th May 2020
The building material sector would be among the first to benefit from the Government’s efforts to speed up disbursement of public investment, which was identified as a growth driver as the COVID-19 pandemic cast a shadow on the economy. According to analysts of VNDirect Securities, major growth drivers were slowing down. Specifically, exports were under pressure as global demand dropped and FDI also saw significant decline in registered capital (down by 20.9 per cent to US$8.6 billion in the first quarter).

Expressway through Vietnam national park poised to open VnExpress International 3rd May 2020
The La Son - Tuy Loan Expressway through the Bach Ma National Park in central Vietnam will be completed by June. Construction of the expressway between Thua Thien-Hue Province and Da Nang City began in 2015, and it is getting its finishing touches. It runs between the La Son Intersection in Loc Son Commune, Huong Thuy District or Thua Thien-Hue and Tuy Loan Village in Da Nang’s Hoa Vang District. The 77-km four-lane expressway cost around VND11.5 trillion ($501 million) and was originally scheduled for completion in 2018. It was delayed due to land acquisition problems and unfavorable weather.

Quang Ninh commences construction of VND2.1 trillion Cua Luc 1 Bridge Nhan Dan Online 29th Apr 2020
The bridge is funded by Quang Ninh’s Management Board of Civil and Industrial Construction Projects with an investment of over VND2.1 trillion (US$89.26 million). The steel arch bridge, measuring 290m in length and 33.1m in width, is designed to have six lanes with a speed limit of 60km per hour. The construction project will also include several accompanying items including intersections, sewers, sidewalks, trees, lighting systems and others.

Central city calls for $604 million IZs investment vietnamnews.vn 27th Apr 2020
he Đà Nẵng Hi-Tech park and the Industrial Zones Authority (DHPIZA) has offered bidding documents for preliminary selection of investors for infrastructure development on three industrial zones in 2020-23. Head of DHPIZA, Phạm Trường Sơn said the international bidding will help seek eligible domestic and foreign investors developing infrastructure works on two new industrial zones (IZs) of Hòa Nhơn, Hòa Ninh, and the second stage of Hòa Cầm IZ on total 880ha with an estimated investment capital of VNĐ13.8 trillion (US$604 million).

Huế, Đà Nẵng call for $215 million property investment projects vietnamnews.vn 27th Apr 2020
Đà Nẵng City and Thừa Thiên-Huế Province have approved some key property projects for construction in the third quarter of this year, calling for investment to help recover the real estate market growth that was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Đà Nẵng has planned the Complex of Health-Medicine education school and luxury apartments in Ngũ Hành Sơn District, covering 1.2ha with an investment of VNĐ1.18 trillion (US$51.3 million). The complex will include a hospital, a medicine school and a hostel for students – the first of its kind in Đà Nẵng. The project has been scheduled for construction in late of 2020 for full operation in 2025.

Ministry of Transport approves Buon Ma Thuot city bypass SGGP English Edition 26th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Transport has approved the construction of a 39km bypass around Buon Ma Thuot city on Ho Chi Minh Highway in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak. The new bypass is expected to reduce traffic load on the National Highway No 14, which is part of the Ho Chi Minh Highway and the main road leading to the Buon Ma Thuot city. The project has total investment capital of more than VND1.5 trillion (US$65 million) from the Government.

Hanoi approves plan to implement two urban metro lines VietnamPlus 23rd Apr 2020
The municipal Party Committee of Hanoi has approved a plan to build two new metro lines. They are Line No 3 from Hanoi Railway Station to Hoang Mai district and Line No 5 from Van Cao to Hoa Lac. At a meeting held by the Hanoi Party Committee on April 22, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen The Hung said Line No 3 would play a special role in completing the first stage of the urban railway network in the city centre.

PPP projects must have investment of more than US$4.4 million: NA deputies vietnamnews.vn 21st Apr 2020
he National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Monday reached a consensus on the investment scale of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects. While discussing the draft law on PPP at their 44th session, legislators agreed that PPP projects in healthcare and education in remote and extremely disadvantaged areas must have a minimum investment of VNĐ100 billion (US$4.4 million). PPP projects in other sectors and areas must have a minimum investment of VNĐ200 billion ($8.8 million).

Two key southern waterways logistics corridors proposed with World Bank funding Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 20th Apr 2020
Awaiting the prime minister's approval, the project on developing two key waterway logistics corridors with World Bank funding would give a facelift to shipping infrastructure in the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City. The Ministry of Transport has just proposed the prime minister to give the thumbs-up to a project on developing southern waterways and logistics corridors utilising World Bank loans. The project aims to upgrade the inland waterways transport network in the Mekong Delta region and Ho Chi Minh City and would feature two waterway corridors – the East-West corridor connecting the port complex of the Mekong Delta (and its economic hub Can Tho city), Ho Chi Minh City, Cai Mep, and Thi Vai and the North-South corridor connecting the Binh Duong-Dong Nai-Ho Chi Minh City-Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex.

Work on two bridges across Cửa Lục Bay in Quảng Ninh to start this month vietnamnews.vn 20th Apr 2020
Construction on Cửa Lục Bridges 1 and 3 is planned to start by the end of this month in Quảng Ninh Province. The two projects were capitalised VNĐ3.852 trillion (US$163.9 million) under the management of Quảng Ninh Civil and Industrial Work Project Management Board. The investment was extracted from the provincial budget.

Bright prospect for construction enterprises despite disease vietnamnews.vn 20th Apr 2020
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter, construction businesses still firmly believe bright growth lies ahead for the rest of the year. For construction businesses, profits are often reported higher in the last quarter of the year than the other quarters because this is usually the acceleration time for the handover of projects.