Malaysia to investigate 'terrible conditions' at Top Glove factories
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will probe working and housing conditions at Top Glove factories after an outbreak of Covid-19 among its factory workers led to the country's largest active cluster.
The cluster around the company's factory and dormitory area in the town of Meru alone contributed 1,511 out of the 1,623 cases recorded in the state of Selangor on Tuesday, according to the Health Ministry. That is 93.1 per cent of the state's total.
Since Nov 7, the cluster recorded a total of 4,036 positive cases.
Human Resource Minister M. Saravanan, who visited Top Glove's plant, said the workers' housing conditions were deplorable.
"I have visited the hostels and the conditions are terrible. My officers were ordered to go in full force as this is a big, vulnerable migrant workers colony. If we don't act, this cluster might get out of control.
"The Labour Department will ensure the employers are held responsible for worker conditions and dire action will be taken according to the law," said Mr Saravanan.
In photos and video clips provided by the minister, the hostels look overcrowded and unsanitary.
Top Glove said in a statement it was working closely with the authorities to fight the pandemic.
"Top Glove wishes to assure our customers we are working closely with the authorities through this period towards ensuring the continued safety and well-being of our employees and local community, which remains our utmost priority," the statement read.
Top Glove currently employs more than 21,000 workers nationwide.
All 28 Top Glove plants in the Kapar area were closed yesterday for mass testing and the quarantine of its workers.
Malaysia recorded 970 new Covid-19 infections yesterday, a huge drop from the record figure of 2,188 cases reported on Tuesday. Total cases now number 59,817. There were four deaths, taking the total to 345.
Meanwhile, Indonesia registered a record daily rise in infections with 5,534 new cases, bringing the total to 511,836.
There were 114 deaths, bringing total fatalities to 16,225. - THE STAR, REUTERS