Cram Schools Test Prep Malaysia Loosens Lockdown Rules to Meet Soaring Global Glove Demand – VOA News

Malaysia Loosens Lockdown Rules to Meet Soaring Global Glove Demand – VOA News

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia, the world’s top rubber glove maker, is apparently relaxing a partial lockdown of the country so that factories can return to full staffing and help fend off a global shortage of the critical protective gear for health care workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Malaysian glove makers warned last month of a global shortage because of the lockdown.   
However, according to a March 27 letter to its members from the Malaysia Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry gave way late last month at a meeting with the association, allowing glove factories to return to full staffing as of April 1.
The ministry would not comment on the report.  
The association said in its letter that companies still had to apply to the ministry with a complete list of their workers and then stagger their shifts to keep the factories as thinly staffed at any one time as possible. On the condition that they stick to those rules, the letter said, “MITI has agreed … that the companies who have received approval to operate at 50% labor usage can now operate with 100% labor force.”
Association president Denis Low told VOA the ministry had agreed to let the glove factories operate at “optimum,” but would not discuss specific staffing levels, concerned that might encourage other industries to press the government for similar privileges.
“I would say that the government has given us the opportunity to work at optimum, and by optimum we