The 2 week EMCO imposed by the National Security Council in Klang Valley is starting to raise alarms among the essential medical suppliers including the much sought after medical gloves who will see their manufacturing plants operating at a low capacity. This situation is being immediately brought to attention by the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association who are facing delivery problem as half of the factories are situated in Selangor.
President Dr. Supramaniam Shanmugam has called for an urgent meeting with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry to resolve issues surrounding the imposed EMCO as 58% of all gloves produced in Malaysia comes off the glove manufacturers located in the state.
Medical examination gloves, like face mask, are essential 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” he added. According to him members are under tremendous pressure from global hospitals and healthcare workers as the Pandemic has now evolved into another variant and orders are increasing again.
There is a big fear going around the global healthcare sectors when Malaysia announced the possibility of a shut-down of the glove industry as the medical gloves are sorely needed to protect the front-liners and hospital staffs. The worry is further heightened when it comes to Surgical gloves, if there is a shut-down, as no operation is possible without the sterilized surgical gloves being available.
MARGMA members collectively produce and export gloves to 195 countries around the world. Malaysian manufacturers play a big role in humanity response as the largest producer of gloves as a medical device, supplying to 67% of global consumption.
While the 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 and to ensure no severe shortage of this important PPE supply to the World through 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.
The association is appealing for the Government to allow glove factories to continue to operate while adhering to strict SOPs.
Accordingly, since April 2021, members have agreed to vaccinate all employees at the company’s own costs. All glove employees besides being registered for the National Immunisation Programme on MySejahtera, are registered with PIKAS, SELVAX and the latest VACOMS. However, up until today are still waiting for the delivery of vaccines.
SOPs have been strictly adheres and have been conducting periodic Covid-19 RTK-Ag screening. It has also also appealed to the Government to make available soonest possible the saliva-based Covid-19 test kit and willing to bear all the costs but have yet to get any confirmation.
The global demand for gloves remains extremely robust for the healthcare sector and MARGMA members have been urged to pay more attention to assist on supply to hard hit nations including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and many other South American nations.
And as Europe and America move towards a recovery phase, members are gearing up to meet the demand of the non-healthcare sectors such as food handling, industrial, cleanroom laboratory, dermatology, tattooing etc. Traditionally, this sector makes out about 17 % of glove consumption. —
Global demand for gloves in 2021 is expected to remain at 420 billion pieces with 13,318 pieces used every second around the world. Demand growth will be expected at 15 -20% growth for next year.