The construction industry in Sarawak has been asked to adopt mechanization and automation using robotics for certain operations in order to reduce its reliance on foreign workers and to remain competitive.
Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said doing so would ensure the industry’s sustainability and enable it to move forward.
He pointed out that the construction sector must stop relying on foreign workers from Indonesia because the country would need more laborers of its own as the new capital Nusantara is being constructed in Kalimantan.
“We have to adopt technology in order to move forward because lack of foreign workers is hampering certain sectors such as plantations for instance. If the sector continues to rely on foreign workers, it will never move forward,” he said when officiating at the Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Annual Dinner and Excellence Awards 2022 last night.
He pointed out there are already companies in Sarawak adopting mechanization and automation using robotics for certain operations.
Abang Johari cited Ta Ann, which is using a high-technology tractor equipped with sensors to facilitate the harvesting and collecting of oil palm fruits in its estates.
“Companies should also provide training programs for workers so that they can be efficient and competent in operating robotic systems or machinery. What is important is that we realize and identify what is the right approach and technology too,” he said.
Abang Johari suggested the construction sector work with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and Centre of Technical Excellence (Centexs) to not only acquire technology but also in upskilling and training workers.
“I have requested CIDB and Centexs to provide upskilling and training to workers, in order to produce high quality workers. Following this, I appeal to the housing or construction industry to work together with these training institutions.
“Construction industry players can work with Centexs as the institution has the technology from Huawei and other collaborators. Of course, there will be a cost to it,” he added.