KLANG: The once busy and overcrowded area where several Top Glove factory units are located in Meru is now like a ghost town.
Local residents in the area say they are scared to leave their homes as the area has recorded over 1,000 Covid-19 positive cases.
The infections took root from the Teratai cluster and were linked to Top Glove – the world’s biggest medical latex producer.
Single mother S. Ganeswary can’t enjoy staying indoors since she lives in Taman Seri Meru, very near the location placed under enhanced movement control order (MCO).
The 57-year-old single mother of two earns a living going from house-to-house to do cleaning work.
But Ganeswary says she is scared when she steps out of her house due to the high number of Covid-19 positive cases in the area.
“I take every precaution possible like wearing a mask and washing my hands regularly, but there is still the nagging feeling that I too can get infected, ’’ she added.
R. Letchumi, 69, who is a cleaner in an iron products company located next to one of the Top Glove factories, says that she prays very hard before going to work daily.
“I pray that Covid-19 will spare me and my husband who is ill at home currently, ’’ she added.
The Top Glove factory next to her work place is one of the premises closed after some of its workers tested positive for Covid-19.
Izzat Nazni, 20, who also lives in Taman Seri Meru said the Top Glove situation has made residents in the area wary of foreigners.
“It is not a nice thing but people have become frightened of foreign workers in the area, ’’ said Izzat, who helps his mother in her kuih supply business.
He added there are many foreign workers who work in other nearby factories who rent houses in the area he stays in.
According to Izzat, whenever foreign workers pass by on their way to work, the neighbourhood’s local residents quickly move away and look at them with suspicion.
“I suppose it’s because everyone is frightened, ’’ he added.
Meanwhile, Meru assemblyman Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar urged authorities to stop operations at all Top Glove plants in the area.
Currently, only 16 premises stopped while 12 more were operating at a reduced capacity.
He added it was crucial to ensure that stringent preventative measures are in place to stop the infection from spreading.
Klang MP Charles Santiago said employers must ensure there is ample space for workers to practice social distancing at the workplace as well as in the hostels.
“For example, there should not be any bed sharing. Bathrooms must also not be shared by too many workers and kept very clean at all times, ’’ said Santiago.
He urged the Human Resources Ministry to come down hard on employers who do not meet Covid-19 protective measure standards imposed on hostels and dorms.
“Enough time has been given and the government must ensure the formulated accommodation guidelines are implemented with immediate effect, ’’ he added.
Kapar MP Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid said factory operators must also inform authorities immediately if an employees test positive.
“They must not try to fix the problem on their own, ’’ added Abdullah Sani.
He said the situation will get out of control if the authorities are not informed immediately.
“The right thing to do would be to hand over the premises to the Health Department and other relevant authorities when even one person in there tests positive, ’’ added Abdullah Sani.
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Monday that all 28 Top Glove plants in the Kapar area will be closed in stages for mass testing of its workers.