Malaysia is mulling over a plan to establish the country’s first textile manufacturing hub as part of an effort to revive the industry. The proposal is being drafted by a team from the International Trade and Industry Ministry, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and the newly-launched Federation of Malaysian Fashion, Textiles and Apparels (FMFTA).

The government is re-industrialising Malaysia’s textile sector and it believes domestic investors are fully capable to develop this hub, international trade and industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking said at the launch of FMFTA in Kuala Lumpur recently. FMFTA pro-tem Committee Chairman Datuk Seri Tan Thian Poh said the federation has suggested that 600-1,000 hectares of land should be allocated for the hub, according to a report.

Tan said the federation has also proposed that the hub be established at the least-developed state that has connected logistics services. The project would in turn enhance the economic development of the chosen State, he said.

While it may be difficult to get local players to move their existing operations, Tan said the firms could be compensated by sufficient incentives. This hub could be managed by FMFTA or industry players through a public-private partnership with the government, he added. The textile and apparel industry is Malaysia’s eleventh largest manufacturing sector, employing over 155,000 with an export target of RM24 bn to be achieved by 2020.

On the downstream and upstream segments, a total of 1,195 textile and apparel projects worth RM12.6 bn combined were implemented as of December 2018. For the first half of 2019, MIDA approved an additional investment of RM94.4 mn for five projects, with RM120 mn still in the pipeline.