5 million students to receive reusable masks, says Zuraida

The government is looking to reduce parents’ expenses in buying masks for their children.

KUALA LUMPUR: Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin today said Putrajaya will distribute reusable face masks to about five million students across the country.

She said her ministry had earlier received four tonnes of patchwork cloth donated by retail textile store Jakel Trading to kick-start the initiative.

She said this was part of an ongoing effort to reduce parents’ expenses in purchasing masks, which were made mandatory in public areas from Aug 1, adding that this was better for the environment than disposable masks.

“The patchwork cloth received will be distributed to SW Corp and NGOs, as well as parents and housewives in Ampang and Selangor, for them to take home and stitch up to be made into reusable face masks.

Zuraida Kamaruddin

“To ensure that these fabric masks are safe and comply with the standards of the World Health Organization, every cloth received will be picked according to the suitability and quality of the material,” she said at a press conference after an event in Ampang here.

She said the masks would be distributed to students in primary and secondary schools, as well as tahfiz schools and madrasahs.

A total of 16 schools in Ampang involving some 20,000 students will be the first to receive the masks before they are distributed across the country in stages.

Zuraida said she was aiming for 60,000 masks to be produced in the next 30 days by 200 housewives in Selangor.

“The stitched-up masks will be bought at a cost of RM2 per piece before being distributed to the students.

“We have managed to gather a workforce of 400 women here, and more are expected to be added in order to achieve our target of (distributing masks to) five million students in the country.

“The founder of Jakel has agreed to donate 50,000 three-ply face masks to be distributed to students in Ampang,” she said.

She said her ministry had also asked other textile companies to donate unused patchwork cloth that could be restitched to produce reusable masks.