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Malaysia’s most vulnerable to receive complimentary reusable face masks during COVID-19

Shangri-La Group in Malaysia have partnered with Diversey, a leading global hygiene and cleaning company and local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) operating in the country to provide the most vulnerable members of society with face masks, an item recommended to be worn in public in Malaysia.

Six of the Group’s hotels in Malaysia are amongst 21 participating Shangri-La hotels and resorts across Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka collectively donating 12,500kg of used, clean bedsheets, duvet covers and pillowcases to NGOs to be repurposed into reusable fabric face masks.

The six Malaysia hotels are looking to contribute up to 80,000 reusable face masks for communities in need during this period, with the support of NGOs in Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Johor Bahru.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La and Hotel JEN, Penang, in collaboration with volunteer group WHY LovingCare, will distribute reusable fabric masks to schools and orphans on the island. In Kota Kinabalu, Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa and Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa have teamed up with NGO ArchDiocesan Human Development Commission (AHDC) to make reusable fabric face masks for the island’s migrant community. Meanwhile Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour in Johor Bahru is working with Kechara Soup Kitchen Society who provides basic food and medical care to those in need. With the help of the Kechara Soup Kitchen, disadvantaged women will also receive an additional source of income from the sewing of face masks which will be distributed among poor families and the homeless.

The upcycling of clean, used linen into face masks also provides Shangri-La a meaningful way to help reduce environmental wastage. If new linen was produced to manufacture half a million fabric face masks, it would have incurred 60 million litres of water (the equivalent of 23 Olympic-size swimming pools) and a carbon footprint of 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 63,000 litres of petrol being combusted*.

Violyn Wong, Founder of WHY LovingCare volunteer team in Penang said, “When we learnt about Shangri-La and Diversey starting the Linens For Life Face Masks programme we wanted to join in because we have access to sewing facilities. Our beneficiaries including nearby orphanages have a great need for face masks during the pandemic. We are very happy to be part of this effort with Diversey and Shangri-La hotels and together help vulnerable people in Penang.”

Merlin, representative of Kechara Soup Kitchen said, “The Linens for Life Face Mask programme not only educates the community on how important the use of a face mask is, but is also helping a lot of poor families in the community during this difficult time. We train housewives in sewing and provide them with their own sewing machine so they can earn an income. We would like to thank Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour and Diversey for their support.”

Mr. Chan Kong Leong, Regional CEO for Shangri-La Group in Southeast Asia & Australasia, said: “At Shangri-La, we have dedicated our last 50 years to caring for our guests, colleagues and local communities. Just as we have elevated our cleaning and safety protocols in our hotels as part of our “Shangri-La Cares” commitment to our guests and colleagues, we are heartened to be able to continue helping and caring for the communities around us throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Linens For Life Face Masks programme provides clear health, social and environmental benefits for communities during these challenging times. Not only does it give our used hotel linen a new lease of life, it also provides the most vulnerable with a basic piece of protection and helps sustain livelihoods.”

Mr. Brijesh Rathore, Vice-President, Diversey Asia-Pacific Global Strategic Accounts said: “One of Diversey’s global priorities is to support local communities, particularly during COVID-19. The Linens for Life Face Masks Programme is a great example of how Diversey, together with our customer hotels and partner NGO’s is providing simple hygiene items to those who really need them and helping prevent the spread of infection.”

With hygiene and safety being top-of-mind for many, Shangri-La Group has recently introduced its “Shangri-La Cares” commitment, reinforcing the Group’s efforts to caring for people as we begin welcoming guests back to our hotels and resorts. As part of its ongoing efforts to create a trusted and nurturing environment for guests, the Group has partnered Diversey to implement a series of safety standards and precautionary measures across its hotels.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shangri-La’s hotels and resorts across Malaysia have continuously sought out opportunities to help their local communities and to uplift spirits. The Group’s three hotels in Penang provided hotel amenities and daily food supplies to the police and armed forces personnel stationed at a roadblock adjacent to the properties during the Movement Control Period. Meanwhile in Kota Kinabalu, Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa made and delivered close to 2000 packed meals to emergency service personnel working at various locations within the Tuaran District. Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa responded to an urgent request from the local blood bank where their staff received special permission by the authorities to orchestrate a one-day blood donation drive at the resort during the lockdown. The event collected 62 pints of blood that replenish the bank’s dwindling stock due to the pandemic.

Shangri-La’s partnership with Diversey on the L4LFM programme builds on the successful Soap For Hope collaboration between the two entities globally, which has seen 427 tonnes of hotel soap slivers recycled into 3.5 million new soap bars for at-risk communities over the past three years. For more information on how Shangri-La Group is caring for local communities, please visit our Corporate Social Responsibility blog here.

*The environmental impact figures are gleaned from an independent study by Metabolic in The Netherlands – The figures are taken from the life cycle analysis of cotton and poly-cotton linen and cotton towels used in top hotel chains.