Fear grips workers at Klang glove factory amid Covid-19 outbreak
Published 32 m ago Updated 26 m ago
Top Glove, the world’s largest glovemaker which has played an instrumental role in supplying medical frontliners with personal protective equipment in the fight against Covid-19, is now finding the pandemic at its doorsteps.
The Teratai cluster, which is linked to Top Glove’s facilities in Meru, Klang, saw 53 new cases today, bringing the total infections to 214.
Health Ministry data showed the cluster is not limited to Meru, where some 20 of Top Glove’s factories and its workers’ hostels are located, but also includes other districts such as Kuala Selangor, Petaling and Hulu Langat.
However, it has not provided data on how many of those cases are directly linked to the factory workers.
For the workers who are keeping the glove factory running, walking through its gates every day is a daunting task.
Workers at the factory who spoke to Malaysiakini on condition of anonymity said they are “really scared” to go to work, fearing that they may catch the virus.
To Top Glove’s credit, the firm moved quickly to enforce various precautions.
But fear of the virus continues to weigh down on the workers as they see some of their colleagues sent off to hospital or quarantine centres.
“I believe they should suspend the operations. The situation is not okay.
“Right now, many have been taken to quarantine, but there are those who still have to go to work. But this is difficult (for us), as we are very scared now,” said an employee.
Hundreds of Top Glove factory workers have been sent to undergo quarantine in hotels around Klang district, according to workers who spoke to Malaysiakini.
Several of them claimed that yesterday, some 300 workers were ferried by buses and vans to a hotel in the Klang city centre, which is now used as a quarantine facility.
It is one of the hotels being used to place workers who need to be tested for Covid-19. One employee said he learned that there was another hotel in Kapar that also serves as a quarantine facility.
The workers said with so many under quarantine, existing workers have been redeployed to make up for the manpower shortage.
The fear, however, is not only limited to workers, as nearby residents are also growing increasingly worried.
Meru assemblyperson Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar said some resident associations and NGOs have lodged police reports and signed a petition urging for the factory to temporarily close.
“The residents in Meru are really, really scared now. I also support the action by resident associations and NGOs urging for the factories to suspend their operations.