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KUALA LUMPUR: Incentives for facilities management (FM) sector tops Damansara Realty Bhd’s (DBhd) wishlist in the 2018 Budget, which will be announced on Friday.

DBhd group chief executive officer Brian Iskandar Zulkarim said the services sector will contribute 58 per cent to Malaysia’s gross domestic product by 2020, with integrated FM being an imperative feature in the sector.

“FM today is evolving beyond its traditional maintenance services to IFM by integrating different multi-disciplinary activities in order to address changing business needs alongside the advancement of technology."

“While we have built our cities on a global competitive scale, what’s crucially needed are more government-backed qualification programmes to help create highly competent, well-trained, knowledgeable and skilled workforce in integrated facilities management across Malaysia in order for our nation to attain the status of developed country by the year 2020,” Brian said in a statement.

Government consideration towards incentives to raise awareness and encourage proper FM services arising from Malaysia’s rapid urbanisation is vital, he added.

“There has been a huge growth in Malaysia’s built environment, and these properties, whether residential, commercial or industrial, have long lifecycles.

“We hope the Government will incentivise the education of asset owners to see the value of IFM as a crucial business objective that will contribute towards the long-term appreciation and sustainability of their property.

“Without long-term strategic or integrated facilities management, asset owners will face problems with shortened lifespans and reduced asset values,” he said.

DBhd also hopes flexible schemes, incentives or tax relief be introduced for property owners to provide facilities management as part of long-term sustainability which improves life cycle costs.

Brian said Bank Negara Malaysia could consider easing the strict lending guideline limit for the broad property sector for developers to obtain financing to build more affordable homes.

Meanwhile, boutique consultancy firm Glenreagh Sdn Bhd expects the government to continue to balance spending on infrastructure projects and social wellbeing programmes under the budget.

Its managing director Nordin Abdullah said while this remains a challenge for the government, the current GDP growth and revenues from tax collection will ensure that the commitment to the people in the near and medium terms are fulfilled.

“Cost of living and affordable housing have been key issues in the media. It is expected that the government will take this opportunity to address these current issues.

“Having said that, the government has been able to keep a lid on inflation over the last 12 months especially for essential items despite the current value of the ringgit against major international currencies.”

Expanding the non-Good and Services Tax items list may have a direct positive impact on the lower income groups while not adversely affecting revenues of the government,” Nordin added.

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