LETTER | A pandemic fear has rattled the vital sector of the Malaysian rubber industry because of the disturbing news in the last few weeks related to the allegation of forced labour in the production process of glove manufacturing which led US Customs and Border Protection enforcement agency to block the entry of rubber gloves into the US.
The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers' Association (MAGMA) has rightly assured the local manufactures and the American, European, and other international importers /consumers of our stellar rubber products that only one glove producing company was affected.
Our government, the ministry, the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC), and the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) must be accredited in handling the damage control efficiently.
We urge all members of the Malaysian Rubber Products Manufacturers' Association to take advantage of the various measures, incentives and programmes introduced by MREPC in raising social compliance, and especially to undergo training and compliance audits.
The matter is far from over for the rubber product manufacturers are on the radar of the international consumers, campaigners, our competitors in the synthetic and plastic product manufacturers, conservationists, and the like. December 2019, being the centenary of the ILO, matters related to labour will emerge in the international media arena to support social justice, etc.
In this age of various social media platforms where dissemination of information is easy, fast and beyond control, it is easy to reveal the fault of employers, discrimination and all forms of non-compliance.
Malaysian rubber product manufacturers must be vigilant and tread matters related to labour, especially the much needed ubiquitous foreign/migrant labour issue cautiously. There is no room for complacency in all large, small, and medium-sized rubber product manufacturers, but compliance to all socio-economic matters related to employment and labour rules and guidance must be strictly adhered to.
Foreign/migrant workers have been reported to be reliable, good in attendance, productive, and accommodative to the employers' needs, compared to the local labour force.
Capitalising on this and complying with the code of conduct initiative for the rubber product industry, will see the rubber product manufacturing sector evolving to greater heights with increased productivity and sustainability in the marketplace.
The writer is president, Malaysian Rubber Products Manufacturers' Association (MRPMA).
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.