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MTUC suggests Malaysian textile firms turn to PPE making

Apr '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
The Penang branch of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) recently proposed that textile manufacturers turn to producing personal protective equipment (PPE) instead of closing their operations. Its secretary K Veeriah said the central and state governments could help factory owners. His proposal has received support from various quarters.

Veeriah said the proposal could lead to a downsizing of operations but that is better to save some jobs rather than none at all.

Penang deputy chief minister P Ramasamy said the proposal merits consideration, according to a report in a Malaysian newspaper.

Veeriah’s remarks followed reports of plans by several apparel manufacturers in Malaysia to close operations. One such manufacturer is Hong Kong-based Esquel Group with plants in Penang and Kelantan, where it employs a combined total of around 300 workers.

Pen Apparel, the oldest apparel factory in Penang, and Imperial Garments in Ipoh have also reportedly considered closing down their plants. Both employ a combined total of 4,000 workers, 30 per cent of whom are Malaysians.

However, Bayan Baru member of parliament Sim Tze Tzin cautioned that the MTUC proposal would be difficult to implement as it is a totally different business segment and the workers will have to be retrained.

Veeriah’s proposal is similar to a model adopted by Taiwan, where the government took over some factories and converted them into production centres for PPEs.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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