KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia’s Top Glove defended its board yesterday after BlackRock issued a scathing statement, attacking the firm’s handling of a coronavirus outbreak and saying it had voted against the re-election of six directors this week.
The six independent directors were re-elected at the company’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, gaining between 86.5 per cent and 72.3 per cent of shareholder votes.
The world’s biggest asset manager cited workers’ accounts of working and living conditions, the firing of a whistle-blower and the virus cluster at Top Glove in its criticism of the board, and said it would vote against the re-election of other directors at future meetings.
In its statement, Top Glove, the world’s biggest maker of medical grade gloves, said its independent directors have served an average of six years and that the board meets regularly to discuss the pandemic and other governance matters.
A BlackRock unit, BlackRock Institutional Trust, is the tenth biggest shareholder in Top Glove, holding 1.07 per cent of its shares.
Top Glove saw a coronavirus outbreak among its workers last year. More than 5,000 foreign workers were infected and one died in what became Malaysia’s biggest cluster.
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