An increase in the price of cement is possible due to higher operation and transport costs following the hike in petrol and diesel prices early last month.
The Master Builders Association of Malaysia (MBAM) said in a statement that cement price might increase again because quarry product prices had risen by 20% on July 1 due to higher costs of operating machines and transporting them.
The statement was issued jointly with the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association, Persatuan Kontraktor Melayu Malaysia and Persatuan Kontraktor India Malaysia.
MBAM said the steel bar price had increased 12% while the price of cement had jumped 22% since prices of both were liberalised. It added that the cement price increase had also caused concrete price to rise by 23%.
It said contractors’ margins were also being squeezed with the hike in electricity tariff from July 1 of up to 18% for households and 26% for some commercial and industrial users.
MBAM said if the situation worsened, the Government should implement a 15% export tax for steel bars and billets, cement and clinker as well as banning the export of steel bars and clinker to ensure that there was adequate supply for the local construction industry.