KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 24): The UK government has launched an investigation into one of its National Health Service's (NHS) main suppliers of personal protective equipment — Supermax Corp Bhd, over allegations of forced labour.
Citing officials at the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Guardian earlier this week reported that they are investigating Supermax, which won a £316 million (RM1.78 billion) contract for 88.5 million rubber gloves amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The investigation comes one month after the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it would detain imports of disposable gloves produced by Supermax on forced labour allegations.
According to the Guardian, the UK government has initiated its own inquiry after Jeremy Purvis, a Liberal Democrat peer, demanded scrutiny of Supermax and action to ensure that products made using modern slavery are not used in Britain.
“We take allegations of this nature very seriously and we are investigating the claims made against Supermax. We have made strong commitments to eradicate modern slavery from all contracts in the government supply chain,” the Guardian reported a government spokesperson as saying.
The report said the government made clear that the investigation could lead to Supermax being banned from supplying the NHS.
“A proper due diligence process is carried out for all government contracts and our suppliers are required to follow the highest legal and ethical standards. If they fail to do so we will remove them from current and future contracts,” the report cited the spokesperson as saying.
The Guardian said Supermax did not respond to requests to respond.
At 10.35am, Supermax was unchanged at RM1.75, valuing the group at RM4.63 billion. Year-to-date, the counter has tumbled 68.42%.