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Malaysia rubber glove body pleads for go-ahead to restart factories

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FILE PHOTO: A worker inspects newly-made gloves at Top Glove factory in Shah Alam
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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian's Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association (MARGMA), citing supply shortage concerns, on Thursday said it had pleaded with the government to allow the sector to resume operations in Selangor, where a tighter lockdown had been imposed.

President Supramaniam Shanmugam said the association had been "inundated with expression of concerns from global buyers", including queries from embassies, hospitals and healthcare sectors.

Malaysia supplies around 67% of total gloves consumed globally.

Malaysia last week imposed tighter restrictions on movement, businesses and factories in the capital Kuala Lumpur and neighbouring Selangor state until July 16 to combat a spike in new coronavirus infections.

The largest glove makers Top Glove Corp and Hartalega Holdings said they had suspended operations. Top Glove said it was awaiting clarification from authorities.

"Notwithstanding, the huge economic losses to the nation, we nevertheless, have a more important duty and responsibility to ensure no disruption to this very essential medical item," Supramaniam said.

The statement also quoted French medical glove distributor Euromedis SA noting Malaysia's obligations to ensure adequate supply of medical gloves to hospitals.

"This sudden closure is sending a bad signal that Malaysia is not capable to fulfill its global supply as a leading medical glove producer," Chairman Mathieu Roturier was quoted as saying.

(Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Martin Petty)

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