KUALA LUMPUR (July 4): Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (MARGMA) today urged the government to allow glove factories in Selangor to operate under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO), which came into effect yesterday (July 3).
In a statement today, MARGMA president Dr Supramaniam Shanmugam said the association is seeking an urgent meeting with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry on the issue, as 58% of all gloves produced in Malaysia are sourced from glove manufacturers in Selangor.
He said there was a big fear going around the global healthcare sectors when the possibility of the glove industry shutdown was announced, as medical gloves are sorely needed to protect frontliners and hospital staff.
"Medical examination gloves, like face masks, are essential personal protective equipment (PPE) items that are highly required by countries around the world especially in this pandemic season to fight against the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases.
"Since the government's announcement on the imposed EMCO on the state of Selangor, global customers of our manufacturers have been calling with great concern on shortage of production and delivery of gloves to them.
"Our members are under tremendous pressure from global hospitals and healthcare workers as the pandemic has now evolved into another variant," he said.
He said MARGMA members collectively produce and export gloves to 195 countries around the world, supplying 67% of global consumption.
"Our members have been supportive of the government's effort to fight the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and have been coping with the 60% ordinance in MCO 3.0 to ensure no severe shortage of this important PPE supply to the world. Though lead times on delivery have been stretched slightly longer, it was still manageable.
"EMCO on the other hand, will now further hamper the supply situation," he said, adding its MARGMA members have agreed to vaccinate all their employees at their own costs.
All glove makers' employees, besides being registered for the National Immunisation Programme on MySejahtera, are registered with Public-Private Partnership Industrial Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PIKAS), Selangor Vaccination Programme (SELVAX) and the latest Vaccination Programme for the Agri-commodity Sector (VACOMS).
"However, up until today, we are still waiting for the delivery of vaccines," he added.
He also said that MARGMA has appealed to the government to make saliva-based Covid-19 test kits available as soon as possible, and that MARGMA members have agreed to bear all costs, as it will greatly enhance the frequency for screening workers.