Malaysia's Top Glove says will no longer fire whistleblowers; opens helplines for workers

The world's largest medical glove maker has established three helplines for aggrieved workers. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysia's Top Glove Corp Bhd, site of the country's biggest virus outbreak of more than 5,000 cases, said on Wednesday (Dec 23) that whistleblowers will no longer face termination and three helplines for worker complaints had been established.

Reuters reported last week that 27-year-old Nepali worker Yubaraj Khadka was fired after raising concerns about the lack of social distancing at the factories.

Mr Khadka took two photos in May of fellow employees crowding into a Top Glove factory, which he shared with a worker rights activist.

"If this incident happens today, this termination will not happen because we have engaged consultants and they have guided us on what is the right thing to do," Managing Director Lee Kim Meow said in a radio station interview.

The world's largest medical glove maker has established three helplines for aggrieved workers, one internal and two manned by a consultant and an audit firm, Mr Lee told BFM. He did not name the external firms operating the helplines.

Mr Lee said Mr Khadka did not give the company feedback on the working conditions, but it has since improved its processes.

"We actually spoke to him and he admitted his intention was to pass the photo to someone so that basically that someone will use it to discredit Top Glove," he said.

Top Glove became the site of Malaysia's biggest virus cluster this month after more than 5,000 workers were infected, while two other glove manufacturers have also reported outbreaks.

The manufacturer reported the first death of a worker from Covid-19 last week.

"From this episode, it taught us many lessons. We are humbled by the fact that there are still a lot of areas for improvement. Needless to say, we will do more," Mr Lee said.

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