PETALING JAYA, 3 June: Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) is against safeguard measures on steel product imports, as it fears prices of steel bars may be uncontrollable without free flow of imports.
In a statement yesterday, its president Matthew Tee said the price of steel bars has increased from about RM1,500 per tonne in January 2016 to about RM2,500 per tonne currently.
Tee said the association believes that the sudden rise in steel prices over such a short period is not justified even with the greater demand from China citing, prices which remain below RM2,000 in neighbouring countries.
“For example, in Singapore, NatSteel is selling at around RM1,700 per tonne. In fact, the prices of steel bars in Malaysia are currently the highest compared to other Asean countries,” he noted.
The government recently issued a notice of initiation of investigation for the determination of safeguard measures with regards to several categories of steel products imported into Malaysia.
Tee said the financial health of the steel industry has suffered from inefficient production, fuelled by government’s support of high-cost local capacity and market intervention in the form of quotas, subsidies and tariffs.
He added that the association hoped that they will not engage in excessive profiteering that can jeopardise other industries including the construction industry.