PETALING JAYA, April 2 — Prison inmates in Pahang and Selangor have taken up the task of sewing personal protective equipment (PPE) as frontliners are facing shortages in medical supplies in the fight to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Kajang Prison, inmates work diligently as they measure, cut and sew blue PPE suits for health workers at Serdang Hospital.
The images shared earlier today by the Malaysian Prisons Department show a sea of inmates clad in their blue uniforms and face masks completely focused on getting the job done.
“PPE sewing process for Serdang Hospital at Kajang Prison,” the caption read.
Proses menjahit Pakaian PPE utk Hospital Serdang di Penjara Kajang. #weareworkforyou #followtherules #penjaraprihatin @KDNPUTRAJAYA @KKMPutrajaya @dhzhamzah @DGHisham @alnassif @AZIZRAZAK2 pic.twitter.com/PPlzRJjeVq— Penjara Malaysia (@penjaramalaysia) April 2, 2020
The post which captured the spirit of togetherness in the face of fighting a pandemic put things into perspective for the Malaysian public who are currently in the second phase of the Movement Control Order.
“Well done and thank you to all involved. We need each other – we are all equals,” wrote @saserasasero.
“Congrats Penjara Malaysia, if those who are imprisoned can contribute, what more we who are at home,” @mohdwira64 chimed in.
@penjaramalaysia totally unsung heroes behind bars.. salute!!— shareFX (@share_fx) April 2, 2020
Huge thanks to those who have working so damn hard these days. May the Almighty bless you and protect us from this outbreak.— dr. azizi (@mda2121) April 2, 2020
At Penor Prison in Kuantan, Pahang, as many as 18 inmates are stationed at a sewing workshop to produce PPE suits for frontliners during this crucial time.
The inmates start working at 9am until 5pm and make the medical protective suits that require five metres of fabric just to complete one set.
Penor Prison director Datuk Abu Hasan Hussain told Bernama the inmates received 2,000 metres of material to manufacture the protective gear.
“Our workshop began sewing last Friday and we can produce over 20 pairs of PPEs which will be sent to the Pahang State Secretary’s office for distribution to the State Health Department.
“Currently, sewing workshops are also operating on Saturday and Sunday, which is out of the norm because we realise the urgent need for PPE due to the increasing number of Covid-19 patients,” Abu Hasan said.
He added that several prison staff attended a PPE manufacturing briefing on March 25 to ensure the product complied with standard operating procedures (SOP).
The Malaysian Association of Wives, Children and Members and Prison Staff (Persiap) also produced 525 face-protection units for the use of front-line personnel.
Penor Prison Sergeant workshop supervisor Muhd Mulyadi Abd Ghani said it didn’t take long for the inmates to understand PPE sewing methods.
The inmates honed their sewing machine skills after receiving frequent orders for uniforms.
“For a smooth operation, we created three special stations consisting of materials distribution, cutting and stitching,” said Mulyadi.
The completed PPEs also undergo quality control by prison staff.
“The most difficult process is inserting the rubber band that will tighten the wrist, chin area for face masks and shoe protection,” added Mulyadi.
Man, a 26-year-old inmate serving time for a drug offence said his task of cutting the material was a small contribution to the country.
He found out about the pandemic through his mother when she visited him on March 15.
Another inmate Saiful, 33, hopes the PPE he and his fellow comrades are producing can ease the shortage of protective gear required by health workers to help Covid-19 patients.
Currently serving an 18-year sentence for robbery, Saiful said he was happy that he mastered sewing while in prison as it allowed him to help those in need.