KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) has called for further immediate cash flow measures to support struggling professional services firms to tide over Covid-19 and the movement control order (MCO).

It said architect firms, whether big or small, and similarly other professional services firms, were largely unable to benefit from the wage subsidies introduced in the recently announced Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) (Additional Measures) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

This is because professional services firms employ mostly professional and technical staff with entry-level salaries at or just above the RM4,000 ceiling specified in the PRIHATIN package.

Hence, PAM urges the government to implement short-, mid- to longer-term measures such as releasing all outstanding fee payments to architects (and other professional building consultants) working on public sector projects, including that of state development agencies, for invoices dated on or before Feb 29, 2020, immediately or within two weeks after the end of the MCO.

Almost all architect firms are already burdened by accrued outstanding fees equivalent to six to 12 months of their total salaries, PAM said in a statement.

It is also urges the government to incentivise all government-linked company (GLC) developers and private sector developers to similarly pay in full the outstanding fee payments to architects and other professional building consultants, on all fee invoices dated on or before Feb 29, 2020, immediately or within two weeks after the end of MCO.

“As construction works are suspended during the MCO period and re-commencement will need to be staged progressively to adhere to the Covid-19 health safety requirements, time is needed for the supply chain to remobilise.

“A further slowdown of the depressed building and construction sector is expected with a significant loss of jobs and potential recessionary outlook post-Covid-19 before the national and global economy recovers.

“Thus, architect firms and the building sector are in need of immediate, impactful short-term relief measures and to prepare soon for mid- to longer term recovery policy and stimulus,” said PAM.

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