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MEEF - Middle East Engineering Projects News & Releases

Malaysian builders tap rich vein of jobs in UAE

By Sharen Kaur - 

MALAYSIAN construction firms, while eyeing jobs locally under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, are still being lured away by the many and lucrative opportunities available in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

What started out of necessity because of a lack of domestic construction work has now become a commercially attractive option.

"The world is huge with so much to offer. It all boils down to each company's efforts to scout, plan, research, organise and spearhead the plan," said an official from a company that has worked on jobs in India and the UAE.

According to Construction Industry Development Board officials, the UAE has the most number of jobs to offer and is opening its doors to foreign participation.

It is believed that out of the 135,000 tower cranes working worldwide, almost 25,000 of those are in Dubai.

Backed by growing oil profits, the UAE is already home to some of the superlative projects in the world, including the world's largest mall (Dubai Mall), tallest building (Burj Dubai), and most expensive hotel (the 7-star Burj Al Arab Hotel).

LCL Corp Bhd, Malaysia's biggest interior fit-out specialist, has been in Dubai for almost two years and now has RM300 million worth of jobs in the Middle East alone.

Another player, Eversendai Corp (M) Sdn Bhd, has completed close to 32 jobs in the Middle East in the last 10 years. It now has over RM700 million worth of projects in Dubai and Qatar.

"There are a lot of projects coming up in the UAE and Malaysian companies can bid for the jobs, but they must go in the right way," Eversendai group managing director A.K. Nathan said.

One of the upcoming projects in the UAE is a massive hotel complex of 31 hotels or 29,200 rooms, called the Bawadi Hospitality and Tourism Development Project. Estimated construction cost is RM100 billion.

Another project in the pipeline is the Jebel Ali International Airport, which will be 10 times the area of Dubai International Airport, and as big as London's Heathrow and Chicago's O'Hare airports combined.

The airport will ultimately have six runways and the capacity to move 120 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo per year.

LCL Corp group managing director Low Chin Meng told Business Times that the group will submit prequali- fication bids for some of the RM100 billion developments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

"We have been invited for some of the contracts and we will go for it," Low said, adding that LCL has submitted bids for more than RM100 million worth of jobs in the UAE and close to RM1 billion worth of tenders in other parts of the Middle East.

An official from IJM Corp Bhd has also indicated the company's interest to bid for some of these lucrative projects in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar.

"We won't simply grab any jobs. We will look at our capacity first. Even if there is RM1 billion or RM2 billion worth of jobs, we won't take it if our plate is full," the official added.



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