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Worker shortage: Stumbling block for apparel exports
Apr '10
As per Malaysian Textile Manufacturers Association (MTMA), labour dearth in apparel industry, may put Malaysia's reputation, as a reliable supplier of apparel products, at risk.

The country is admired for its high-quality product manufacturing and also for fulfilling environmental and human rights requirements of buyers.

Due to increasing operational costs, the original equipment manufacturing (OEM) garment producers had to take on production of internationally known brand apparels, to generate higher margins and offset production costs.

Labour shortage was hampering the development of OEM garment industry. A number of OEM manufacturers do not commit for seasonal orders, owing to the fear that they cannot achieve them due to manpower dearth.

Currently, around 60,000 employees are working in apparel and textile manufacturing industry. In the mid-1980s, this figure was above 100,000. As the locals are reluctant to work in this industry, it is completely dependent on foreign workers.

A number of apparel importers are partially switching to other destinations like China for supplies. In the year 2009, Malaysian garment exports stood at US $1billion, against exports worth $1.5 billion in 2008.

An industry expert cited, labour crunch, industry expansion and development as major challenges for the industry.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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