Our award-winning reporting has moved

Context provides news and analysis on three of the world’s most critical issues:

climate change, the impact of technology on society, and inclusive economies.

Malaysia's Top Glove says will no longer fire whistleblowers; opens helplines for workers

by Reuters
Wednesday, 23 December 2020 04:19 GMT

Workers wait in line to leave a Top Glove factory after their shifts in Klang, Malaysia December 7, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

Image Caption and Rights Information

Top Glove vowed that whistleblowers raising concerns about COVID-safe working conditions will no longer be fired, and has set up helplines for aggrieved workers

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Malaysia's Top Glove Corp Bhd, site of the country's biggest virus outbreak of more than 5,000 cases, said on Wednesday that whistleblowers will no longer face termination and three helplines for worker complaints had been established.

Reuters reported last week that 27-year-old Nepali worker Yubaraj Khadka was fired after raising concerns about the lack of social distancing at the factories.

Khadka took two photos in May of fellow employees crowding into a Top Glove factory, which he shared with a worker rights activist.

"If this incident happens today, this termination will not happen because we have engaged consultants and they have guided us on what is the right thing to do," Managing Director Lee Kim Meow said in a radio station interview.

The world's largest medical glove maker has established three helplines for aggrieved workers, one internal and two manned by a consultant and an audit firm, Lee told BFM. He did not name the external firms operating the helplines.

Lee said Khadka did not give the company feedback on the working conditions, but it has since improved its processes.

"We actually spoke to him and he admitted his intention was to pass the photo to someone so that basically that someone will use it to discredit Top Glove," he said.

Top Glove became the site of Malaysia's biggest virus cluster this month after more than 5,000 workers were infected, while two other glove manufacturers have also reported outbreaks.

The manufacturer reported the first death of a worker from COVID-19 last week.

"From this episode, it taught us many lessons. We are humbled by the fact that there are still a lot of areas for improvement. Needless to say, we will do more," Lee said.

(Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Michael Perry)