Julaihi (second right) receives a list of resolutions from workshop participants from Infrastructure and Ports Development Ministry permanent secretary Datuk Safri Zainudin.

KUCHING: Bumiputera contractors must be given a chance when it comes to awarding contracts for government projects, said Infrastructure and Ports Development Assistant Minister Datuk Julaihi Narawi.

He said while the policy is to ensure a participation of 30 percent of bumiputera contractors in government projects, this was not fully enforced by government agencies.

“We need to get bumiputera contractors’ participation up to 30 percent. This will allow them to develop and go further.

“Bumiputera must also have a share of the pie and we should enforce the policies as we won’t want to be the butt of the joke,” he said.

He said this when delivering his closing remarks during a workshop on the management of state government projects at a leading hotel here today.

In a related matter, the Sebuyau assemblyman also urged a stricter selection process when appointing contractors for government projects.

“There are instances where a manufacturer is also a registered contractor where they can dictate the price of items. This way, they are always on the winning side.

“I believe in some places outside of Malaysia, this practice is not allowed. It is high time that we need to review the selection process,” he said.

Julaihi also urged fresh graduates to take up opportunities to be contractors instead of queuing up for a job at government agencies.

“We have a lot of fresh graduates in the market and it is time that they become contractors rather than waiting for a job at the Public Works Department (JKR) or Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID).

“Maybe they won’t be big-time contractors off the bat, but there needs to be encouragement from our side. It is better for them to go down that route rather than being unemployed,” he said.

On the same matter, he also urged contractors to train future technical manpower through mega projects.

“This should be looked at as we always had problems to find talents and had to look for it high and low.

“We should look at how we can recruit our youngsters and train them so that in three to four years, we have fully trained technical manpower,” he said.