Allow glove factories to operate full steam, appeals former minister

The movement control order has forced glove factories to run at 50% capacity despite soaring world demand for their products. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: Factories making medical gloves and related products should be allowed to operate at full steam to meet demand with the spread of Covid-19 worldwide.

Ipoh Barat MP M Kula Segaran said Malaysia was obligated to help during a worldwide pandemic as it produces more than half of the world’s gloves.

Currently, the government has imposed a 50% capacity limit on all factories in view of the government instituted movement control order (MCO) to discourage travel.

Kula Segaran said the World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier this month urged medical supply manufacturers to increase their production by 40% as it needs 76 million medical gloves due to the worsening global crisis caused by the virus.

“When the world is starving for medical gloves, we should be heeding the call.

“As a major player in the production of such equipment, we should play our role in fighting the virus.

“If the oil palm and rubber industries are allowed to operate at 100% capacity, then it is a no brainer that the medical glove and other related industries must go on full steam, too. This is a worldwide emergency,” he said.

The former human resources minister said this would also ensure wages for 30,000-odd foreign workers and 4,000 locals in the glove-making industry.

Kula Segaran said labour enforcement teams should be sent to monitor all facilities producing gloves to ensure workers are treated fairly.

Meanwhile, a major rubber glove company executive said it had been inundated with orders from all parts of the world but was unable to fulfil all requests on time.

The Malaysian Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association had said it was only able to fulfil demand for 120 million pieces for the local market under the 50% capacity order under the MCO.

Prices of gloves are expected to rise by 25% to 30% as a result.