Datuk Chua Soon Ping, the President of Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (SHAREDA) claims that the implementation of multiple lockdown and various MCOs since early 2020 have caused severe damage to the entire real estate industry.
“Property developers together with over 140 related upstream and downstream industries forms an inseparable economic chain. We have all suffered severe impact since the beginning of the pandemic” says Chua.
However, Chua is fully in support of the government’s decision to implement the 3rd round of full lockdown (FMCO) knowing well the negative impact it brings to the industry and the economy. He believes this is the only way to flatten the curve and eradicate the spread of the virus.
“Between saving lives and the economy, it is no doubt the former. Only when mankind are saved, we can then recuperate and regain our economy. It is a short term pain for a long term gain.”
“I believe if the government takes a bold step to implement a full lockdown for one month, we will be able to see some effective outcome in controlling the spread, particularly in Sabah where we experienced over 1,000 daily infections last year.” says Chua.
He commented that the current daily infection rate in Sabah is reasonably under control, and he hopes that the measures implemented by the government will effectively reduce the daily cases to well below 100 within the state.
Control The Spread Before Building Economy
The economy can only recover when the spread of virus is fully under control.
Chua commented “Since the pandemic, the construction industry has experienced multiple shut down and re-opening, which is very damaging and costly. After each MCO, the workers are required to go through a thorough Covid screening, every single time, and screening cost for the entire workforce is very high.”
“Besides this, even after the re-opening of economy, all construction sites are not allowed to operate at full capacity. To make the situation worse, the industry is facing a shortage of supply of construction materials such as cement and steel. All these will cause further delay in the construction progress and incur additional cost.”
Short Term Pain for Long Term Gain
In response to the fluctuating situation in the past year, Chua suggests having a complete and thorough lockdown, closing all development sites in order to effectively curb the spread of the virus. It is better to only open the sites progressively after the situation is well under control.
“The earlier we can flatten the curve, the faster the economy can recover. We should constantly implement measures to control the spread, and not to wait until it becomes out of control.”
Chua also suggest the government to set up more vaccination centres in order to speed up the vaccination progress. Herd immunity is the only hope to control the situation.
“We can always earn back our money, but there is only one life.”