When development comes to a standstill

Things do not look good in the realm of construction, when jobs received are being returned. In the 10 years that I’ve been following my dad around to construction sites, our conversations invariably circled around how construction works, not only to build homes and offices and 7-Elevens. We also talked about how construction plays a part in the development of a country.

Hence why if the construction sector isn’t doing well, it’s a clear sign that things are rough when it comes to national economy.

I read the following article from the StarOnline here. They have compared the prices of materials. I will add what I know to that comparison.

RISING prices of building materials have started a tsunami in the construction industry. At least 200 contractors have returned their government jobs as they are unable to bear the escalating costs.

A house that cost RM100,000 to build will now cost about RM130,000 with the prices of all types of building materials up by 15% to 30% across the board.

Steel Bars: Now RM4,100 per tonne compared to RM3,500 in June. (Approx. RM2,800 in 2003)

Cement: Now RM13.45 a bag compared to RM10.95 last month. (Approx. RM8 in 2003)

Bricks: RM0.245 each compared to RM0.22 previously. (Approx. RM 0.12 in 2003)

Ready mix concrete: RM190 per cubic metre compared to RM160 last month. (Approx. RM 120 in 2003)

Copper: RM28,275 per tonne now compared to RM3900 three years ago.

Prices of other building materials such as sand have also gone up by 25%, quarry products by 30% and tiles by 22%.

The increase is crazy.

Even during the economic slump of 1998, we did not hear of contractors returning jobs to governments or developers. At the worst of it, big companies went for small jobs, small companies then went for smaller jobs, and the smallest companies had to roll carpet. My dad, our family was part of that slump. It was the “get-up-and-go”.

It so happens, it was also during the economic slump of 1998 that Anwar’s alleged sodomy case was being publicised. Leads me to this question: Why is it that every time there is an economic slowdown, Malaysia’s political scene seems to be at its most colourful?

Is there a deliberate attempt to pull rugs over our eyes?

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