More Expensive Medical Rubber Gloves After Wage Hike

A “severe” shortage of workers has affected productivity, rubber glove manufacturers say.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 — Medical rubber glove prices are expected to increase next year when the minimum wage rises in urban areas, manufacturers said today.

The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) said costs could rise between US$0.45 and US$0.75 (RM1.85 to RM3.10) for every 1,000 pieces, depending on the glove type and production efficiency.

“The latest wage increase for urban workers is inevitable, given the higher cost of living in the cities, but it will have a ripple effect on everything, from support services, packaging materials, logistics, chemicals to raw ingredients.

“We will have to adjust and factor in this additional cost to our products,” Margma president Denis Low Jau Foo said in a statement.

Low told the government that the cost of doing business was fast rising and a “severe” shortage of workers has affected productivity, as he expressed concern about possibly insufficient supply of medical rubber gloves to hospitals.

“We would like to urge the government to refrain from increasing the cost of water, electricity and other amenities to keep Malaysian manufacturers competitive,” he said.

“The medical rubber glove is a critical protective device for which doctors, dentists and health care workers need to use frequently on a daily basis.”

The Human Resource Ministry announced yesterday that the minimum wage in 57 cities and towns throughout all states in Malaysia would be raised to RM1,200 monthly from January 1, while the minimum wage for other areas would remain at the current RM1,100 monthly rate.

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