Glove maker Laglove ordered to close Kajang plant for Covid violations after HR minister sees workers’ living conditions

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan inspecting the workers’ living conditions at Laglove’s plant in Kajang, December 21, 2020. — Picture from Facebook/Kementerian Sumber Manusia
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan inspecting the workers’ living conditions at Laglove’s plant in Kajang, December 21, 2020. — Picture from Facebook/Kementerian Sumber Manusia

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — The Health Ministry today ordered glove manufacturer Laglove (M) Sdn Bhd to close its premises in Kajang, Selangor, seemingly due to poor workers’ living conditions that are in violation of Covid-19 safety regulations.

In the notice sighted by Malay Mail, the company was ordered to close its premises for seven days, starting from December 24.

The notice said the factory was “in a condition that may cause the start or spread of infectious diseases to many people”, which is in violation of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

The notice came after a surprise visit by the Human Resource Ministry (MoHR) earlier today and posted on Facebook earlier today.

The posts did not mention the name of the factory, but showed workers living inside shipping containers, under squalid conditions.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan who joined in the sudden morning operations, said the workers’ living conditions were in violation of the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446).

“I was sad to see the condition of the workers’ accommodation in this factory which was crowded and cramped.

“The Labour Department will continue to ensure employers obey Act 446 so that workers’ welfare are guaranteed,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

The MoHR had issued an invitation to the media on December 19, notifying them of the raid on Laglove today.

News portal Free Malaysia Today had earlier reported that a glove maker in Kajang had been closed due to the same violation today, without mentioning names.

According to the portal, 781 of the company’s workers were found living in two blocks of shipping containers, stacked three storeys high, located behind the company’s factory.

Malay Mail could not reach MoHR for comment at the time of writing.

Reuters reported that Laglove’s parent company Brightway Holdings Sdn Bhd confirmed the raid had taken place early today, but denied its workers were living in containers as alleged. It also claimed to have fewer workers than the number given by the government official.

This isn’t the first time Malaysia’s glove making industry has faced such controversies, with the US government blocking imports from Top Glove in July, allegedly due to labour abuses.

Putrajaya has been cracking down on factories here after a rise in Covid-19 cases originating from its crowded workers dormitories.

A number of Malaysia’s largest glove manufacturers have faced Covid-19 infections among its workers, including Top Glove, Hartalega, Careplus and Kossan.

Malaysia’s largest Covid-19 cluster dubbed Teratai began at Top Glove’s Klang facilities. Over 2,000 workers tested positive for the virus.

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