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7 Dec 2021

The Race to Meet Rising Chip Demand Proves Fatal in Malaysia

The Index Today

The Index Today — As technology companies across the world grapple to meet the alarming increase in demand for microchips, the resulting measures have taken a lethal turn in some countries especially Malaysia.

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic brought with it a great many crises, including the global shortage of microchips which makes buying automobiles and electronic gadgets more difficult in the COVID-stricken present. But even as the pressure mounts for corporations to step up the production of chips and semiconductors, it comes at an immeasurable price in the form of rising worker deaths.

In one such instance, at least 20 employees working at an STMicroelectronics NV plant in Malaysia’s Muar district have died of COVID-19. Relatives of the deceased believe that if the plant had been shut down in time, their loved ones would not have been exposed to the delta variant of the virus which wreaked havoc in the country earlier this year.

The Muar tragedy highlights the grave situation of employee deaths in the face of profits. Zaid Ibrahim, the former law minister of Malaysia, expressed his outrage at the government’s reluctance in preserving worker rights in the interests of big companies. He said, “Of the three — the government, companies and workers — the most vulnerable are the workers. I wish we could have avoided these tragedies.”

©Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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