By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE proposed World Glove City project near Kuantan, Pahang, will reaffirm Malaysia’s position as the largest producer of rubber gloves in the world.
The country currently accounts for 60% of global exports of gloves and is set to experience a boost in demand in line with the deployment of Covid-19 vaccines globally.
According to estimates, the country’s market share of glove exports is expected to improve to 68% or about 280 billion pieces next year against estimated world demand of 410 billion pieces.
The World Glove City will also house 750 personal protective equipment manufacturers according to the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii), an agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).
MARii CEO Datuk Madani Sahari said investors from Egypt and China have expressed interest in the 4,000- acre (1,618.7ha) industrial park in Gebeng which is scheduled to be completed by 2025.
MARii will act as the technology partner for the project and help facilitate the development of a glove plant with 10 production lines at the site spearheaded by World Gloves International Group City and Development Hub Sdn Bhd (WGC), which is co-founded by Datuk Seri Desmond Lim.
The RM100 million facility will be built on a 370-acre site by the company with construction expected to kick off in June.
“This is the first phase of the whole project. We are conducting virtual engagement with potential investors from China and Egypt. We want to inform investors they can invest across Phase 2 to Phase 9 of the World Glove City,” Madani said during the media conference in Cyberjaya, Selangor, last Friday.
He added that MITI will divulge more details about the mega project soon.
WGC signed a leasing agreement with Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Pahang to kick start the first phase of the industrial park development.
MARii also signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with WGC to be a technology partner for the mega project.
The industrial zone, which will also be a free-trade zone, will also have residential areas that could house a population up to 600,000 by the time it is fully developed.
Other facilities in the plan include factory lots, port, a power plant, research and development centres, education and training institutions, and warehouse and recreational areas.
“The project encompasses the development of a fully-fledged digital and smart city, capable of meeting future global goals through its smart framework that includes infrastructure, mobility, governance, technology, smart living and commerce,” Madani said.
The park will cater for high tech systems starting from the construction works to the processing of products to reduce dependency on huge labour force.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak last year, several companies, such as property developer Mah Sing Group Bhd and circuit board assembler Luster Industries Bhd, have invested into the glove sector.
Industry estimates suggest the new capacity from such companies will add about five billion to seven billion gloves in 2021 and, between 10 billion and 12 billion pieces in 2022.
According to the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association, the biggest growth of the glove industry in 2021 and 2022 will principally be contributed by the exist- ing 57 manufacturers like Top Glove Corp Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd and other major producers.
The association said the major producers will provide the bulk of fresh capacity due to their continuous planned expansion year-on-year over the past 15 years.