Minister: 26 Malaysian manufacturers produced over 115 million face masks from Jan to Aug in effort to curb Covid-19

Pedestrians wearing face masks at a public area in Kuala Lumpur August 1, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Pedestrians wearing face masks at a public area in Kuala Lumpur August 1, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

MELAKA, Aug 29 — More than 115 million three-ply and N95 face masks were produced by 26 local and foreign manufacturers to ensure an adequate supply for the people in an effort to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic during the January 1 to August 25 period.

Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said of the total, 108.5 million face masks were produced by 13 local manufacturers, while 6.75 million were produced by 13 foreign manufacturers.

‘’Before the spread of Covid-19, we only had four local factories that were face mask manufacturers. Now the number has increased to 13 factories and it is understood that more local manufacturers will operate soon.

“With the addition to these local factories, we are confident that we will not face the problem of shortages in the supply of face masks even though the government has extended the Recovery movement control order (RMCO) until December,” he told reporters after launching the Malaysian Sales Campaign and the Melaka-level Buy Malaysian Products Campaign (KBBM) here today.

He said the ministry was studying all aspects in an effort to reduce the retail ceiling price for a three-ply face mask to below RM1 so that it will be fair for all parties involved. Previously the price reduction was done on August 15.

“The government needs to ensure that the prices set are not too low that it will affect this industry. If they (manufacturers) close, where do we get supplies later? We cannot expect imports from foreign countries, because face masks are very important for our safety and health,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nanta said the proceeds from the sale of local goods through Malaysia’s main e-commerce platform, Shopee through KBBM recorded a sales value of RM11.9 million from July to Aug 26 compared with only RM4.7 million recorded during one year of the campaign, last year.

The number of Malaysian-made products sold on Shopee also increased from 3,500 to 26,365 involving 5,177 sellers.

“During the MCO period many people in the country used online platforms to buy various goods. The e-commerce sector provides an opportunity for more people, without large capital, to start a business,” he said.

He said KBBM aims to boost the retail sector in the recovery phase of the MCO and through the National Economic Recovery Plan, KPDNHEP has been given an allocation of RM20 million to mobilise the campaign.

KBBM will be continued throughout the country in stages until December and Melaka is the fourth state to launch the campaign. — Bernama

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