MIRI (July 8): Influx of imported printed batik threatens Malaysia’s batik industry and local batik entrepreneurs risk losing their efforts to preserve cultural heritage, Minister of Women’s Development, Children’s Affairs says and community well-being. Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.
“The huge influx of printed batik in the domestic market has led to a decline in demand for local batik over the years and this poses a threat to local batik makers,” Fatimah said during the dinner and parade officiation. Batik Linut fashion show in conjunction with the Batik Linut office and gallery opening on Thursday night.
“Importing these batiks has resulted in huge losses for local batik makers. For example, when tourists come to Sarawak to look for Sarawak batik, what we offer them is a machine-printed fabric that has a “pua” pattern element. It’s not Batik Sarawak,” she said.
She noted that the manual production of batik is very labor intensive, which is another major problem for the batik industry.
The industry is seeing a decrease in the number of batik artisans in recent years and it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract young locals to participate in the batik industry.
“The reasons for this scenario are attributed to various local economic factors such as low wages, lower demand for products, income instability and the rise of other types of industries.
“Even though batik production has been established in this country for a long time, unfortunately, it is still dominated by micro-enterprises with around 78.6% establishments in 2021.
“The total number of registered batik stamp and hand drawn batik entrepreneurs in 2019, before the pandemic, was only 651 and are mainly located in Kelantan and Terengganu.
“However, textile-based goods are said to be the largest contributor (49%) of the whole cottage industry, which amounts to RM243 million in 2017. In this share, 81% or almost 196 .83 million in sales value were from batik merchandise.
“There is therefore a huge opportunity for the batik industry, even though it is still categorized as a micro-enterprise,” she said.
Considering this, Fatimah said it is high time for Batik Linut Sdn. Bhd. to keep the batik industry alive by adapting to the modern lifestyle.
“These batik products can be versatile, not only for everyday use, but also for decorative purposes around the home. We need to create a sense of belonging and appreciation in the younger generation to wear and make good use of our local batik,” she added.
Also present at the event were Datu Dr. Haji Adi Badiozaman and Batik Linut Sdn. Bhd managing director Diana Rose.