Face mask producers wait for relief from Putrajaya

Malaysian manufacturers can produce 1.2 million masks a day, says a minister. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi says Putrajaya is looking at ways to assist manufacturers of face masks, after one company said it could not continue production.

Linggi said: “We are looking at ways to help them, the issue is not linked to a single ministry alone, but we are working as a government to find a solution.”

Linggi said local manufacturers could produce around 1.2 million masks per day, and the government was relying on imports as well.

Last week, a manufacturer said the company could not carry on production because the new ceiling price of RM1.50 per mask left the company at a disadvantage from higher import duties and costs of raw materials.

Haminnuddin Hamid, chief executive of Ideal Healthcare Sdn Bhd, told FMT today that the company only had two weeks’ supply of raw materials in stock.

The raw materials were imported last month, and were subject to 30% import duties and sales tax. He said the company had applied to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority for an exemption on import duty.

He said Putrajaya should consider providing other incentives, such as grants, to help local manufacturers to boost capacity through automation.

The other local companies producing face masks are Medidata Sdn Bhd, Creative Contract Sdn Bhd, Cross Protection Sdn Bhd, and Medipro Sdn Bhd.

A Mida spokesman said import duty applications usually took four weeks. However, priority was being given to applications relating to essential products.