Malaysian rubber glove body pleads for go-ahead to restart factories

A worker inspecting newly made gloves at Malaysian company Top Glove's factory in Shah Alam last year. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - The Malaysian Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association, citing supply shortage concerns, on Thursday (July 8) said it has pleaded with the government to allow the sector to resume operations in Selangor, where a tighter lockdown has been imposed.

The association's president Supramaniam Shanmugam said it has been "inundated with expression of concerns from global buyers", including queries from embassies, hospitals and healthcare sectors.

Malaysia supplies around 67 per cent of total gloves consumed globally.

Malaysia last week imposed tighter restrictions on movement, businesses and factories in the capital Kuala Lumpur and neighbouring Selangor state until July 16 to combat a spike in new coronavirus infections.

Top Glove and Hartalega Holdings, the largest glovemakers, said they had suspended operations. Top Glove said it was awaiting clarification from the authorities.

"Notwithstanding the huge economic losses to the nation, we... have a more important duty and responsibility to ensure no disruption to this very essential medical item," said Mr Supramaniam.

The statement also quoted French medical glove distributor Euromedis as noting Malaysia's obligations to ensure an adequate supply of medical gloves to hospitals.

"This sudden closure is sending a bad signal that Malaysia is not capable (of fulfilling) its global supply as a leading medical glove producer," Euromedis chairman Mathieu Roturier was quoted as saying.

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