Malaysia is in full solidarity with the people of Wuhan, China, who are currently battling the the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic.

Whilst Malaysians are concerned about the spread of the virus to our shores, we are equally sympathetic towards China, especially given that the two countries share deep cultural and business ties which have been built over decades.

China has been Malaysia's largest trading partner for 10 consecutive years, with trade growing 8.1% to RM313.8 billion in 2018. Culturally the two countries are intertwined by reason of their historical tryst.

At present, hospitals in Wuhan, the Central Chinese city, at the crux of the coronavirus outbreak, are calling for out for much needed protective medical supplies such as masks, suits and gloves, as supplies run low.

As our Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced on Wednesday that Malaysia would like to extend a helping hand and in that context, I am pleased that Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC) and the rubber gloves manufacturers in Malaysia have pledged to donate 18 million pieces of medical gloves to be sent to Wuhan.

It was during the Chinese New Year celebration that these companies were approached to contribute towards helping China in the effort of treating patients there.

Although many were still enjoying the break, the top leadership of the glove manufacturers in Malaysia stepped forward and gave their commitment in ensuring this initiative would be a success.

Malaysian glove industry players are prepared to be at the forefront of supplying high quality medical gloves to the world, especially in critical times such as this to battle against the outbreak and the current pandemic.

In 2014, Malaysia sent more than 20 million medical rubber gloves to five African nations (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Congo) which were battling the deadly Ebola virus, addressing the need of the medical workers in those countries at that time.

The medical gloves, both natural rubber and nitrile, will be sent to China in batches with the first shipment being already on its way to Wuhan.

Two companies, Top Glove and Supermax have already donated 2.3 million pieces of gloves through their local offices and distributors to Wuhan. Other glove companies that came forward to support the humanitarian drive are Smart Glove,Hartalega, Kossan, YTY, Brightway and Koon Seng.

Malaysia is currently the world leader in medical gloves, with approximately 180 billion pieces exported worldwide. In 2018, Malaysia’s glove exports contributed RM17.7 billion to the nation while in 2019, the export touched RM18 billion.

YB Teresa Kok
31 January 2020
Minister of Primary Industries