KUALA LUMPUR: Glove manufacturers could switch their focus to tap the non-medical industry players as their clients to make the industry lucrative and continue to thrive rather than banking their focus on the healthcare sector per se, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin
She said industry players should be creatively exploring ways and means to make the glove industry lucrative and thriving again although certainly not at the similar pace when demand was soaring and average selling price skyrocketed to record levels.
Furthermore, she said the pandemic has sparked great awareness about the importance of hygiene to prevent contamination or even to curb the spread of diseases.
“After all, disposable non-medical grade gloves come in a range of sizes, colours, thicknesses and textures. Applications for such gloves exist in businesses from tattoo parlours to laboratories to childcare centres.
“While the food and beverages industry was only a small consumer of gloves for the longest of time, the past eight to 10 years has seen rising awareness level with industry players and consumers alike taking cognisance of the fact that handling food revolves around the levels of cleanliness,” she said in a statement.
Zuraida noted that this even applies to the semiconductor electronic industry to protect an electrical or electronic component from contamination.
“In fact, I personally just completed a 10-nation tour which included Egypt, Qatar, Pakistan and Turkey to promote our commodities and open up new markets, and during the visits, we signed numerous memoranda of understanding, while taking the opportunity to dispel some allegations against our commodities and set the records straight,” she said.
Hence, she stressed that the ministry would do its best to assist local manufacturers in securing new markets and ‘spreading their wings’ to non-medical sectors.
“We have constantly been working closely with our local industry players and by continuing to do so, there is no doubt that our local rubber glove industry will continue to thrive,” she said
In this regard, she applauded the timely move by the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association to tap the non-medical industries to drive future demand for non-medical grade gloves, considering the re-opening of borders would spur economic recovery.
“It is an open secret that prices of glove stocks on Bursa Malaysia have slumped substantially since the beginning of the second half of 2021.
“Painful as it is, we have to accept that it is highly unlikely that the ‘gold rush’ days at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, whereby every glove stock one touched turned into gold which then prompted the mushrooming of new industry players will recur anytime soon especially as the world is gradually transitioning into the endemic phase,” she added.-Bernama