Malaysian Textile Manufacturers Association (MTMA) Chairman Datuk Seri Tan Thian Poh recently urged players in the domestic textile industry to collaborate with Chinese manufacturers to digitise and automate production processes and systems to boost productivity and raise revenue.
The domestic textile industry had become ‘stagnant’, being perceived as labour-intensive, but it has now moved towards automation, he said.
Poh told a press conference at the China Textile City Overseas Mini Fair that Malaysia should adopt a productivity-linked system such as the one practised in China in which manufacturers pay wages based on employees’ productivity.
There was a call to raise the minimum wage in the country, but the productivity level issue must be addressed because low productivity levels could be detrimental to competitiveness, he was quoted as saying.
The main disadvantage for Malaysia is the availability of labour, not the cost of labour, he said. Foreign labour supply is only able to offer short- to medium-term solutions, but it is not sustainable in the long term for local players to depend on the government for continuous supply of foreign workers.
Malaysia should focus on branding and retailing, especially online retailing, he added.