Rub­ber glove mak­ers hope to get big­ger rein­vest­ment al­lowance

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Rub­ber Glove Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (Margma) hopes the govern­ment will con­tinue to sup­port the rub­ber glove in­dus­try by ex­tend­ing and ex­pand­ing the rein­vest­ment al­lowance for in­dus­try play­ers in Bud­get 2017.

Margma pres­i­dent De­nis Low Jau Foo said the move would be es­pe­cially timely and help­ful as most in­dus­try play­ers are mov­ing rapidly into third gen­er­a­tion au­to­ma­tion and ro­bot­ics to re­main cost com­pet­i­tive and ef­fi­cient as the in­dus­try ma­tures.

Margma has for many years lob­bied for tax breaks and rein­vest­ment al­lowance on be­half of its mem­bers in its quest to au­to­mate and mod­ernise plants.

“Large in­dus­try play­ers like Top Glove, Su­per­max, Kos­san, Har­talega, YTY & WRP in­vest heav­ily in R&D (re­search and de­vel­op­ment) to meet global qual­ity and pro­duc­tion ex­pec­ta­tions. Up to 6,728 gloves are used ev­ery sec­ond. It is es­ti­mated that global de­mand for gloves will reach 212.2 bil­lion this year and Malaysia is ex­pected to pro­duce 133.6 bil­lion gloves to meet world de­mand,” Low said in a state­ment.

Au­to­ma­tion has been key in ac­cel­er­at­ing pro­duc­tion and fa­cil­i­tat­ing the ex­pan­sion and tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment of the rub­ber glove in­dus­try. Today, the in­dus­try only re­quires 3.7 work­ers to pro­duce 1 mil­lion pieces of gloves against 9.8 work­ers in 2009.

“The in­dus­try is aim­ing to cut it to just two work­ers per mil­lion pieces with the mod­erni­sa­tion and au­to­ma­tion pro­cesses along with in­cen­tives as pro­vided in the rein­vest­ment al­lowance. We have be­come more ef­fi­cient through in­vest­ment in new and au­to­mated ma­chin­ery, which is usu­ally home-grown tech­nol­ogy, and this has greatly re­duced our need for for­eign labour,” he added.

Low said the top three chal­lenges faced by the rub­ber glove in­dus­try in­clude en­ergy, man­power and wa­ter sup­ply. He hoped the govern­ment would re­lax re­stric­tions and move quickly on ap­pli­ca­tions and ap­provals for for­eign work­ers as the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try still re­quires for­eign labour in jobs and func­tions that lo­cals do not pre­fer to do. “The in­dus­try is em­ploy­ing many Malaysians in su­per­vi­sory, mid­dle and se­nior man­age­ment, but we still need for­eign work­ers in fac­tory pro­duc­tion lines and other trade-re­lated work to sup­port the su­per­vi­sors and man­age­ment,” Low said.

In 2015, 65,000 work­ers were em­ployed in the rub­ber glove in­dus­try, of which 42,000 were for­eign work­ers.

The Malaysian rub­ber glove in­dus­try con­trib­utes 1.13% to the na­tion’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct. Ex­port rev­enue from the in­dus­try in 2016 is pro­jected to be RM14.3 bil­lion. As the lead­ing sup­plier of med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion and sur­gi­cal gloves, Malaysia claims 63% of the world mar­ket share com­pared with Thai­land (21%), China (5%) and In­done­sia (3%).

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