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28. December 2019

MALAYSIA: Rubber gloves to cost more, as govt. raises minimum wages

Medical rubber gloves prices will rise following the government’s decision to raise minimum wages, effective 1 January 2020. In a statement issued on 19 December 2019, Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) president Denis Low Jau Foo said the latest minimum wage increase for urban workers was inevitable, given the higher cost of living in the cities. He also said it would have a ripple effect on support services such as packaging materials, logistics, chemicals to latex.

“Our members will have to factor in these additional cost to our glove exports,” Low said in the statement. The cost increase ranges between USD 0.45 to USD 0.75 for every 1,000 pieces, depending on the glove type and production efficiency, he added. Recently, the Ministry of Human Resources released the list of cities and towns involved in a mandated wage hike.

Under the 2020 Budget, the government had announced minimum wages in urban centres would be raised to MYR 1,200 per month beginning 2020, from MYR 1,100 currently. This was meant to help workers cope with high living costs, in line with the government’s ultimate target of a MYR 1,500 minimum wage within the first five years of the Pakatan Harapan administration. Todate, Malaysia has raised the minimum wage to the current rate nationwide in January 2019, from MYR 1,000 in Peninsular Malaysia and MYR 920 in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

Low said Margma understood the need to alleviate the burden of rising living costs, but also highlighted that the cost of doing business was also rising rapidly. “We understand where the government is coming from and the need to alleviate the burden of rising living costs for the “rakyat” (people), but the cost of doing business is also fast rising. We urge the government to refrain from increasing the cost of water, electricity and other amenities to keep Malaysian manufacturers competitive,” he said.

“There is a severe shortage of workers and this has hampered productivity. We are concerned that delivery of this very important medical device may not be enough to cater to the requirements of hospitals all over the world,” he added. Low reiterated medical gloves are critical protective devices for doctors, dentists and nurses. This humble single-use hygiene material is a necessity for all healthcare workers, of which some may use up to 10 pairs a day.

Source: Daily “The New Straits Times”, Kuala Lumpur; 19 Dec 2019
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)

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