Malaysia │Malaysia

The garment, textile and apparel industry in Malaysia was an early success story and growth miracle amid an export-oriented industrial transformation that started in the early 1980s. Despite being overtaken by other manufacturing sectors since then, some 68,000 workers are still employed across more than 970 factories in the country, of which over 400 are making ready-made garments, while others are engaged in related activities such as spinning, weaving and textile accessories. The garment sector is Malaysia’s eleventh largest export earner, generating incomes of around USD 3.2 billion per year.  Key markets for Malaysian garments include the United States, Japan and Turkey.

The domestic manufacturing market is highly fragmented between large international companies and smaller local enterprises. In recent years, the Government has taken steps to encourage new business growth in the sector, by reducing regulations and initiation procedures, thus lowering barriers to market entry. Nevertheless, Malaysia faces fierce and growing competition from lower cost neighbours such as Bangladesh and Cambodia, and is increasingly having to look for premium product segments for competitive advantage.  With a workforce dominated by migrants from other Asian countries, the sector has also faced scrutiny for labour rights violations and poor working conditions.


32,776,000 (2021)

Gross Domestic Product

constant USD

10,631.5 (2020)

Human Development Index Ranking

HDI (out of 189 countries)

62 (2020)

Garment/Textile Workers

Number of workers in the garment/textile sector

68,000 (2019)

Women Workers in the Garment/Textile Industry

Percentage of women workers employed in the garment/textile industry


Number of Garment/Textile Factories

Number of factories in the garment/textile industry

970 (2019)

Garment/Textile Industry Exports

(USD$ billion)

3.2452 (2019)

Garment/Textile Industry Size

Percentage of total exports

1.7% (2019)

Key Garment/Textile Export Markets

Top five countries ($USD value exported and subsequent percentage)

Country Percentage of Exports
United States 13.26%
Japan 9.78%
Turkey 9.21%
China 7.83%
Indonesia 5.92%

Government Entities

Government agencies actively involved in the garment/textile industry

Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)

Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE)

Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA)

Worker Organizations

Trade unions, Union federations, and other worker organizations

Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC)

Indonesian Migrant Domestic Workers Association (PERTIMIG)

Employer/Industry Associations and Chambers of Commerce

Employers and industry related associations, private sectors associations and chambers of commerce

Malaysia Knitting Manufacturers Association (MKMA)

Malaysian Textile Manufacturers Association (MTMA)

Malaysian Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA)

Malaysian Garments Markeeters Association (MGMA)

Malaysia Garments Wholesale Merchants Association

Federation of Textiles General Goods & Garment Merchants Associations of Malaysia (FTGAM)

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM)

Federation of Malaysian Fashion Textiles and Apparels

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF)

Malaysian Textile and Apparel Centre (MATAC)

American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM)

Klang Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCCI)

Malaysian International Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (MICCI)

Malaysian - Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MITCCI)

The Association Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM)

The Association Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak (ACCCIS)

The Chinese Chamber Of Commerce and Industry of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor

The National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia

Development Agencies/ International Organizations

National and international development organizations working within the garment/textile industry

Civil Society Organizations/ Non-governmental Organizations

Organizations working within the garment/textile industry

Sources of data provided

  1. Population:
  2. GDP Per Capita:
  3. HDI:
  4. Garment / Textile Workers: Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA)
  5. Number of factories: Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA)
  6. Garment/Textile Industry Exports: Malaysia Textiles and Clothing Exports by country & region 2019 | WITS Data (
  7. Garment / Textile Industry Size: Malaysia Textiles and Clothing Exports by country & region 2019 | WITS Data (
  8. Key Garment / Textile Export Markets: Malaysia Textiles and Clothing Exports by country & region 2019 | WITS Data (

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The Asia Garment Hub  | May 17, 2021