Qatar construction boom a big draw for Thai, Malaysia firms
May 04 2013 10:53 PM

By Dr Arno Maierbrugger/

It is little known outside the industry sector that Qatar is a major destination for construction firms from Asean, especially from Malaysia and Thailand. Big names such as Gamuda, United Engineers and Sandabi Engineers from Malaysia or Power Line Engineering from Thailand all have a long-standing presence in the Qatari construction market.

This business is now likely to intensify with Qatar’s numerous ongoing infrastructure projects, spearheaded by the upcoming construction and engineering exhibition Project Qatar 2013 which will be held from May 6 to May 9 at the Doha Exhibition Center.

Thailand will set up its own pavilion at the fair, grouping top company executives from across the Thai building materials, furniture and electrical industry. Malaysia will also have a strong presence, showcasing not only its whole range of leading construction companies but also sector-related professional services “to highlight the country’s capabilities,” as Dato’ Sri Mustapha Mohamed, Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry, put it.

There are plenty of examples for successful projects of Thai and Malaysian construction firms in Qatar. Selangor-based Gamuda, for example, has been awarded consortium leader for the construction of runways, airfield facilities and related infrastructure at the Hamad International Airport in Qatar, saying this was the firm’s “best overseas work of art yet.” Gamuda is also working on the Dukhan Highway, a project of national significance for Qatar as part of its road modernisation initiative as the country gears up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Gamuda is further eyeing participation in Qatar’s mass rail transit projects.

Power Line Engineering, based in Bangkok with an office in Qatar since 2007, is a full-service engineering and construction contractor, was involved in the 2006 Asian Games Athlete’s village project and the Sharq Hotel Spa and Resort in Qatar. The company is currently working on the design and construction of Medina Centrale, part of the iconic Pearl Qatar project.

In turn, for Qatari construction companies the Asean market opens a number of avenues in the future, especially in the infrastructure, housing, prime property, as well as the airport and port sectors. For example, Thailand is close to approving a $75bn loan bill to raise funds for long-lasting infrastructure projects in the country, with a focus on railway networks. In Malaysia, the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia just recently gave a robust outlook for 2013, saying the sector is likely to secure projects worth some $37bn this year, after it already expanded by 27.2% in the last quarter of 2012. These are all ingredients to facilitate buoyant collaborations.


*Our columnist Dr Arno Maierbrugger is Editor-in-Chief of, a news portal owned by Inside Investor focusing on Southeast Asian economic topics as well as trade and investment relations between Asean and the GCC. The views expressed are his own.

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