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News | Zuraida: Emergence of Omicron variant to further boost exports of rubber glove

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — Exports of rubber glove is expected to increase further amid the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 variant and Malaysia will ensure a sufficient supply to the world, protecting its market, said the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC).

Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said the variant has not spread into the country but it has affected several countries abroad.

“As we are the main producer of this product, we have seen the export of rubber gloves increase when the world (and our country) is hit by this pandemic.

“This is because of the nature of low supply and high demand, hence we experienced good sales,” she told Bernama after attending a Bernama Bulletin interview programme on Bernama TV in conjunction with the Aspirasi Keluarga Malaysia (AKM) 100 Days.

She said the rubber glove industry would not be affected in terms of its production, however the issue of labour shortage was a major problem for industry players.

As such, Zuraida said she had consulted with the Cabinet to come up with a more sustainable mechanism to ensure the country have an adequate supply of foreign workers.

“This will be done from a government-to-government (G-to-G) arrangement directly and this will be our mid-term goals. As for the immediate term, we will try to get foreign workers for the rubber glove factories early next year.

“Malaysia will continue to compete with producer countries such as China and Indonesia but both countries have large populations.

“Malaysia only has a population of 32 million, so it is unlikely that we can produce enough gloves for the global market with limited workers,” she said.

It was reported that shares of rubber glove makers rose yesterday led by Top Glove Bhd due to the Omicron variant.

And on the same day, the World Health Organisation announced that the variant is likely to spread widely.

Meanwhile, Zuraida said Malaysia still needed foreign workers, at least in the next three to five years, especially for the oil palm industry until it had sophisticated mechanisation and more youth participation.

Apart from that, she also said that by using the G-to-G platform, her ministry would provide more information to foreign countries on labour issues in the country, thus refuting allegations of elements of persecution and fraud in both the palm oil and rubber sectors.

“We will also issue a housing policy for workers in oil palm and rubber plantations and with this policy, the houses of foreign workers will be more comfortable, more in line with standard operating procedures and they will feel more comfortable.”

She said the allegations made by non-governmental organisations from the European Union were unfair.

“I will bring this issue to the EU next year and will present the things that Malaysia has implemented so that they are clearer.

“This is important so that outsiders know that Malaysia is a progressive country and not backward,” she said.

As of September 2021, the agri-commodity sector has recorded an export value of RM154.7 billion.

The increase in export value of agri-commodity products was due to higher exports of key products such as palm oil and rubber gloves.

The value of exports of natural rubber and rubber products increased by 88.5 per cent to RM59.1 billion and palm oil by 43.3 per cent to RM74.4 billion.

Meanwhile, timber exports as the third largest export contributor after palm oil and rubber recorded an increase of 1.2 per cent to RM15.9 billion. — Bernama

Berita | Fasa peralihan ke endemik ditangguh seketika

KUALA LUMPUR: Kerajaan memutuskan untuk memperhalusi semula langkah bagi mengumumkan fasa ‘Peralihan ke Endemik’ sehingga mendapat maklumat lanjut berhubung varian baharu COVID-19, Omicron.

Menteri Kanan Pertahanan, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, berkata walaupun belum ada kes membabitkan varian Omicron di Malaysia, tindakan berhati-hati perlu dilaksanakan berikutan varian itu dilaporkan sangat pantas dan mudah berjangkit.

“Sebelum ini, kita memutuskan kemungkinan mengumumkan fasa ‘Peralihan ke Endemik’ namun dihentikan seketika untuk melihat perkembangan varian Omicron yang menular ke seluruh dunia.

“Kita bimbang semua yang dirancang dan yang diumumkan dalam masa terdekat seperti kelonggaran, prosedur operasi standard (SOP) dan tujuh asas menuju fasa endemik mungkin terjejas jika kita tidak memantau varian ini secara dekat dan menanganinya,” katanya.

Beliau yang juga Pengerusi Mesyuarat Menteri Kuartet COVID-19, berkata demikian pada sidang media selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat berkenaan di Parlimen, hari ini.

Pada 16 November lalu, Hishammuddin memaklumkan tujuh asas yang perlu dipenuhi dalam pendekatan menyeluruh yang diambil kerajaan sebagai persediaan memasuki fasa endemik.

Ia merangkumi SOP dan sembilan garis panduan; Sistem Amaran dan Tindakan (HAS) dan Strategi Ujian Kebangsaan; Test, Report, Isolate, Inform, Seek (TRISS); Automated Find, Test, Trace, Isolate, Support (FTTIS); pembukaan sempadan negara secara berperingkat dan mencari duta pemerkasaan komuniti.

Hishammuddin berkata, kawalan sempadan antarabangsa akan diperketat ke atas negara yang melaporkan penyebaran varian Omicron.

Katanya, mandat diberi kepada Kementerian Kesihatan (KKM) untuk menentukan tindakan selanjutnya berhubung keluar masuk sempadan serta SOP yang akan diumumkan.

Beliau berkata, mesyuarat kuartet turut mengambil maklum mengenai destinasi lain yang berpotensi bagi Laluan Perjalanan Lengkap (VTL) seperti Singapura ke Pulau Pinang, Langkawi, Kuching dan Kota Kinabalu.

“Bagaimanapun, kerajaan tidak akan membuat keputusan sehingga mengetahui kesan sebenar varian Omicron.

“Saya sudah minta semua pihak untuk terus memikirkan dan berbincang dengan pihak yang berkenaan.

“Saya harap semua pihak sentiasa berwaspada dan jangan mengambil risiko ketika kita memantau varian yang menular ini,” katanya.

Mengenai permintaan pemimpin negara Afrika supaya rakyat mereka tidak dihalang masuk ke negara lain susulan penularan Omicron di negara itu, Hishammuddin berkata, pendirian Malaysia sama seperti beberapa negara lain iaitu bersandarkan risiko keselamatan dan bukan geopolitik atau hubungan dua hala.

“Saya percaya negara Afrika faham yang ia bukan mengenai isu diplomasi dan geopolitik tetapi kesihatan. Kita tidak akan menjejaskan tindakan yang kita lakukan selama setahun setengah dengan tindakan tidak bertanggungjawab,” katanya. – BH Online

oleh: Zanariah Abd Mutalib

kredit foto: TheStraitsTimes

News | PKR whitewash a ‘big slap in the face for Anwar’

AYER KEROH: The PKR wipeout at the Melaka state polls, losing all its 11 contests, is a big slap in the face for party president Anwar Ibrahim, says a political analyst.

James Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute attributed the party’s collapse to people losing faith in Anwar, being seen as the main person behind Pakatan Harapan “taking in the kataks (political frogs)”.

He was referring to the decision by Anwar and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu to field two former Umno members, Idris Haron and Noor Azman Hassan.

Chin described PKR”s loss of support as a very dangerous trend. “If the trend is repeated in the 15th general election which will be held next year, PKR will be wiped out,” he told FMT.

PKR had won 3 seats in the Melaka state assembly at the 2018 general election.

He said it was quite clear that DAP was the only real performer for PH. The party won 4 seats of 8 contested, while Amanah won 1 of 9 contested.

Chin said the other big loser was Perikatan Nasional, as Gerakan did not win a single seat, despite contesting in five, and PAS (none of eight) was also never a serious player in Melaka.

He added: “So, I think Muhyiddin is a bit troubled now.”

Another political analyst, Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah, also said people might question Anwar’s leadership. “As we all know, even during the 14th general election, it was Wan Azizah who led PKR to victory,” he said.

However, he said people must accept that Melaka has always been BN’s stronghold. “It is only in the last general election that we saw Umno being reduced to only 13 seats in Melaka,” he said.

Lee said he did not believe that PKR would have another opportunity to regain power in Putrajaya as it did at the last general election.

“I strongly believe lots of Malaysians want to move beyond Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar or Lim Kit Siang and all the same faces and names,” he said. – FMT

by Wong Pek Mei

credit photo: BBC

Berita | Mekanik maut dihempap kereta

BAYAN LEPAS: Mekanik meninggal dunia selepas dihempap kereta dalam kejadian di sebuah bengkel di Jalan Bayan Lepas, Kampung Bukit, di sini, malam tadi.

Mangsa, 31, disahkan meninggal dunia oleh pasukan perubatan yang tiba di lokasi.

Jurucakap Pusat Gerakan Operasi (PGO) Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat Malaysia (JBPM) Pulau Pinang berkata, pihaknya menerima panggilan kecemasan pada jam 11.54 malam.

Katanya, anggota dari Balai Bomba dan Penyelamat (BBP) Bayan Baru yang diketuai Hemrizal Che Morad ke tempat kejadian sejurus menerima panggilan.

“Ketika tiba di lokasi, didapati mangsa dipercayai dihempap kereta yang terjatuh ketika sedang melakukan kerja pembaikan.

“Anggota bomba menggunakan peralatan khas bagi mengeluarkan mangsa,” katanya di sini, hari ini.

Jurucakap berkata, mangsa kemudian disahkan meninggal dunia oleh pasukan perubatan sebelum kes diserah kepada polis bagi tindakan lanjut.

“Mangsa dibawa ke Hospital Pulau Pinang (HPP) dan operasi tamat pada jam 1.05 pagi,” katanya. – BH Online

oleh Zuhainy Zulkiffli

kredit foto: Xtra