Malaysia's Top Glove says has resolved overcrowding at staff dormitories

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Malaysian glove maker Top Glove on Saturday said it had resolved overcrowding issues at dormitories provided for its foreign workers, after a coronavirus outbreak among its staff last year attracted scrutiny of their living conditions.

More than 5,000 workers at Top Glove, the world’s largest producer of medical grade gloves, were infected with the coronavirus and one died in what became Malaysia’s biggest COVID-19 cluster.

Reuters reported in December that Top Glove fired a whistleblower who raised concerns about the firm’s lack of COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Workers had told Reuters that up to 20 people lived in one room.

In a statement on Saturday, Top Glove said it had implemented remedial actions, including moving employees to other accommodation facilities.

“The company has resolved the issue of overcrowding of its workers’ lodgings,” it said in a statement. “Ensuring that our workers can live in a decent standard of accommodation is a high priority for Top Glove.”

Top Glove has invested 90 million ringgit ($22.29 million) in accommodation and plans to spend an additional 195 million ringgit over the medium term for more facilities and accommodation, it said.

Earlier this month, another Malaysian glove maker Supermax Corp Bhd temporarily stopped work at its manufacturing facility after discovering several COVID-19 infections among its factory workers.

Malaysia is the world’s biggest supplier of latex gloves, demand for which has soared due to the coronavirus pandemic.

$1 = 4.0380 ringgit Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Kirsten Donovan