KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — Malaysian rubber glove manufacturers urged the government to allow them to operate at full capacity to address a chronic global shortage of medical gloves amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Malaysian Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association (Margma) said it has no problems with local supply, with Malaysia using about 120 million pieces annually. However, worldwide demand has been proven harder to meet, amid the national partial lockdown that allows manufacturers to operate with only half its workforce.
Putrajaya today extended the Movement Control Order (MCO) by two weeks until April 14.
“This will mean only half of the normal quantity of gloves to be produced and it could really cause a chronic shortage to the world,” Margma president Denis Low said in a statement.
“Margma will continue to talk to the government to allow us to operate at 100 per cent capacity together with the support services and material suppliers, we must all work in tandem,” he added.
Margma said the Malaysian rubber glove industry was expected to deliver about 225 billion pieces this year, which is about 65 per cent of the total global requirement of about 330 billion pieces.
Low explained that workers who return to work to ensure full capacity would be compensated accordingly.
“There will of course be the extra overtime and for workers to be compensated accordingly and adequately with hardship allowance too.”
Low also said that other governments should contact Putrajaya to allow the industry to operate in full capacity to allow adequate supply.
Apart from that, Low said that Margma has advised international buyers to practice discipline in their purchase and distribution of gloves.
“Margma has advised the international buyers that they need to be disciplined in their forward sales to their own clients, they must forget about other users but to concentrate the supply to only the hospitals, emergency and healthcare workers only.
“They have to ration their inventory, if they still have any inventory left, and to ensure gloves must reach the hospitals and healthcare people, not anywhere or anybody else. The front-liners are most important in our endeavour to contain and suppress the Covid-19 coronavirus,” he added.