26 September 2023

MALAYSIA: Batik Day not enough — trade experts

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Malaysian trade experts say the country’s batik industry needs further Government support apart from the directive to Public Servants to wear the material to work every Thursday.

Harozila Ramli, from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, a specialist in the cloth, said Malaysia was unlike Indonesia where batik was more woven into its culture and is used in rituals, festivals, and celebrations.

“Regardless of how advanced the technology is, batik in Malaysia still requires Government assistance to promote the industry,” Professor Harozila said.

Former museum curator and textile expert, Zubaidah Sual said making Public Servants wear batik, would be out of obligation rather than appreciation for the art.

“When Indonesian people wear their batik, it’s like they’re fulfilling their responsibility to their homeland,” Ms Zubaidah said, adding that Indonesians donned their batik so frequently that it was not unusual to see its designs outside of the country.

This follows a directive from the Public Service Department (PSD) requiring all non-uniformed Public Servants to wear batik every Thursday and encouraging them to also do so on other work days.

The PSD said the move was to continue supporting the Malaysian batik industry, and to ensure that it remained a heritage and a symbol of Malaysian identity.

The Selangor State Assembly allows batik to be worn at its meetings and Malaysia’s Federal Upper House has permitted the wearing of batik clothing since 2021.

Kuala Lumpur, 27 August 2023

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