Global Commodity Chains in Crisis: The Garment Industry in Malaysia

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Vicki Crinis


This paper examines the garment industry in Malaysia from the 1970s to the present. It looks at the strategies employed by manufacturers to cope with both the end of the Multi-fbre Arrangement (MFA) and the effects of the global economic crisis on the industry in Malaysia. The garment industry in Malaysia is situated on the periphery and is almost totally reliant on contracts from the United States (US) and Europe for its survival. Since the global economic recession, contraction in the consumption of garments in these countries has translated into factory closures and lay-offs in Malaysia. According to industry experts, the apparel sector is no longer competitive and unless manufacturers increase levels of technology the industry will struggle to survive. Trade associations in Malaysia and ASEAN countries argue that a regional strategy is necessary to cope with increasing levels of competition from China and other parts of the world.


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