Lim after a meeting with the representatives from the construction industry. Photo: Bernama

GEORGE TOWN: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says he will meet Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail next week to discuss on the cement price increase.

Saying that he had received complaints from several developers on the issue, Lim said they were worried that the drastic increase in cement prices would have adverse effects on the construction industry.

He said the government too was concerned that the cement price increase would cause a chain of reactions and affect a broader segment of the construction sector including infrastructures.

“I’m gathering information from the industry players and will meet KPDNHEP next week,” he told reporters here today.

Lim (centre) after a meeting with the representatives from the construction industry. Photo: Bernama

He was commenting on complaints by the developers about the cement price increase of between 40 and 50 per cent as notified by letters from suppliers, which took effect from yesterday and some on July 1.

Earlier, the minister held a meeting with several representatives from the construction industry, including Penang Master Builders & Building Materials Dealers Association (PMBBMDA) advisor Datuk Lim Kai Seng and Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda) chairman Datuk Toh Chin Leong.

Lim also raised a question about whether the sharp price increase was due to having only one cement company which monopolise the market.

“If this (price increase) is to allow this one and only company to make a huge profit and harm the industry and economy (in the process), then this is something the government will take seriously,” he added.

Meanwhile, Toh said due to the increase in cement prices, the developers had no choice but to increase prices of houses in the future.

“I don’t understand why the prices of cement had to go up significantly and this will affect prices of houses as the construction sector uses a lot of cement to build houses and other infrastructures,” he said. – Bernama