Malaysia especially Terengganu, boasts variety of traditional hand-crafted objects ranging from antiques to modern hand-made crafts consisting of textiles (batik) and accessories, wood crafts, ceramic and clayware, crafts made of precious or common metals with superb workmanship.
Batik is one the most well known handicraft in Malaysia. Batik refers to the process of wax-resist painting and dye painting to produce a multi-coloured intricate design to fabrics. The word "batik" is believed to be related to the Malay word "titik" which means "point", "dot" or "drop".
The origin of batik is shrouded in mystery because fabric disintegrates, making it impossible for historians to pinpoint when the technique was first discovered. The earliest evidence can be traced back to China and India, from which batik then travelled to the rest of the world.
The two main types of batik produced in Malaysia today are:
Handrawn batik – designs were drawn on fabric with hot liquid wax, using a metal object called canting. When the wax outlines are done, the brushes are used to paint dyes within the outlines. The use of brushes allows for the creation of shaded and multi-hued designs.
Block-printed - a copper block or sometimes a wooden stamp with artistically patterned bottom is used. The block is dipped into wax and press printed onto the fabric, which is then dip-dyed. The wax will then be removed by boiling and batik with single or multi color is produced.
The number of batik producers has grown by 40 per cent since the national batik movement was launched in 2003. There were only 324 batik producers in 2004. Three years later, the number has risen to 468. Similarly, job opportunities in the industry have gone up by 20 per cent from 1,915 people in 2004 to 2,318 in 2008. (News Straits Times, 2008).
At the launch of the International Malaysian Batik Festival 2007, RM50 million annual allocations under the Handicraft Industry Development Fund was announced and expected to boost the batik industry especially in the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) and East Coast Economic Region (ECER).
Batik has evolved into a unique art form that has inspired people from all over the world.Batik is a versatile art form that lends itself to any kind of creative expressions. Today, batik is used as paintings or used on lampshades, footwear, picture frames, bed-sheets, wall paneling and other items of lifestyle design.
Batik Centre in The East Coast of Malaysia
· NOOR ARFA CRAFT COMPLEX (NACC)
Lot 4153 Kawasan Perindustrian Chendering, 21080 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
Tel: 09-6179 700 Fax: 09-6179 701
· Wanisma Craft & Trading
No.32, Ladang Sekolah, Jalan Sultan Zainal Abidin, 20000 Kuala Terengganu. Tel: 09-6223311
· Batik Handicraft
1544, kg.Rusila, 21080 Kuala Terengganu.
· Sutera Semai Centre
Permint Sutera Semai Sdn.Bhd, Kawasan Perindustrian Chendering,21080 Kuala Terengganu.
· Sykt. Hj. Wan Othman Mohd
1060,Jalan Sultan Zainal Abidin, 20000 Kuala Terengganu.
· Ambi Songket & Batik
1071, Lrg.Pengkalan Lama, Kg.Gong Tok Nasek, 21100 Kuala Terengganu
· Desa Craft
73, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 20200, Kuala Terengganu.
Tel: 09-6221539 / 09-6232575
· Aina Batik
5544, Kg.Padang Midin, 20400 Kuala Terengganu.
Tel: 09-6192545 / 09-9833986
· Nizi Batik
BT. 12 1/4, Bukit Jong, Jalan Kelantan, 21600 Kuala Terengganu. Tel: 019-9837098
· Norhafiza Batik
106, Kg.Pusu Tinggi, 22000 Jertih
· Pusat Budaya Craft, Perbadanan Kraftangan Malaysia,Cawangan TerengganuLot 2195, Kawasan Perindustrian Chendering, 21080 Kuala Terengganu.Tel : 09-6171033 / Fax : 09-6231209
· Batik RM
E-594, Tanah Putih Ferry, 25100 Kuantan, Pahang Darul MakmurTel: 609-513 9631 / Fax : 609-513 3345
· Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation Pahang BranchLot 11, Songsang Industrial Area, 28000 Temerloh, Pahang Darul MakmurTel: 609-271271
· Galeri Tenun Pahang
Lot 1-47, Kompleks Teruntum, 25000 Kuantan, Pahang Darul MakmurTel: 609-556 2344
· Handicraft Centre
3, Bangunan Kota Sri Mutiara 9, Jln Sultan Yahya Petra, 15200, Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Handicraft is defined as a type of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or using only simple tools. The individual artisanship of the items is a paramount criterion, as well as such items often have cultural and religious significances. Types of handicrafts products include Brass / Copperware, Keris, Lidi Weaving, Mengkuang / Pandan Weaving, Rebana Ubi, Wau and Rattan.
The agency in charge, Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation (MHDC) has ambitious plans to increase skilled craftsmen in line with the vision to develop and preserve the heritage craft industry. To increase the number of skilled craftsmen, MHDC emphasis on skilled manpower development of artisans, research and development, training along with providing trade incentives and help in marketing and promotional activities. These initiatives positively affected the number of craftsmen from 3,480 in 2004 to 6,167 at the end of 2007.
At present, most of the handicraft industry caters mostly for the local market. However Mengkuang-weaving is identified to have great international potential. Mengkuang-weaving industry has never been highly popular among local craft entrepreneurs as it demands labour-intensive while the returns are small. From the total of the 6,167 local craftsmen, only 131 are involved in the Mengkuang industry and the weavers are mainly from Terengganu, Kelantan, Perak, Kedah, Negeri Sembilan and Sabah (Source: Kraftangan). Through R&D, new designs and innovative uses for mengkuang products are indentified such as bags, gift, wall panelling and so on.
Handicrafts Centre in The East Coast of Malaysia
· Terengganu Museum
Bukit Losong, 20566, KualaTerengganu, Terengganu
· Pusat Budaya Craft, Perbadanan Kraftangan Malaysia,Cawangan Terengganu, Lot 2195, Kawasan Perindustrian Chendering,21080 Kuala Terengganu.Tel : 09-6171033 / Fax : 09-6231209
· Malaysian Handicraft Centre Perbandaran Kemajuan Kraftangan Malaysia,Kawasan Perindustrian Chendering, 21080, Terengganu Darul Iman.Tel : 09-617 1033 or 09-617 1034 / Fax : 09-6231209
· Desa Craft
Tingkat Bawah, Wisma Maju, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 20200 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu Darul Iman. Tel: 09-636 627 / Fax: 09-6231209
· Batik RM
E-594, Tanah Putih Ferry, 25100, Kuantan, Pahang Darul MakmurTel: 609-513 9631 / Fax : 609-513 3345
· Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation Pahang BranchLot 11, Songsang Industrial Area, 28000,Temerloh, Pahang Darul MakmurTel: 609-271271
· Galeri Tenun Pahang Lot 1-47Kompleks Teruntum, 25000, Kuantan, Pahang Darul MakmurTel: 609-556 2344
24828, Batu 4, Jalan Gambang, 27150, Kuantan, Pahang Darul Makmur
· Handicraft Centre
3, Bangunan Kota Sri Mutiara 9, Jln Sultan Yahya Petra, 15200 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
ISSUES IN THE INDUSTRY
The increasingly high cost of production as the cost of raw materials has increased double from the original price caused by the indirect effect of the higher oil prices in early 2009. However, the handicraft and batik producers are unable to increase the price of the product because of the price sensitivity among the handicraft customers.
Research and Development
Most of the handicraft producers do not carry R&D activities to enable them to compete in the global market. Only a small number of them are doing R&D to modify the products to suit local or intended requirements e.g. songket as table runners or decorative wall paneling.
In terms of marketing, the industry is also facing difficulties in accessing and understanding viable new markets. Rural artisans see traditional market disappearing, and often not aware of the potential new market for their products. Entrepreneurs, also have no knowledge on how to access to new markets segments, or to understand the requirements for exploring the global market.
Lack of skilled crafts personnel is often perceived as an inhibiting factor for market development, which may be contributed due to the traditional method used in the production of handicraft products. The younger generation would not spend hours to produce something with little income. To counter this, ways need to be devised on how to maximize the craft value or artisan’s productivity as well as producing new generations of artisans.
Continuous efforts are being undertaken by the Malaysian government via its various agencies in order to develop the Malaysian handicraft and batik industry to the greatest potential.
Issues, problems and challenges faced by the industry in eastern states (Terengganu, Pahang and Kelantan) need to taken into consideration in the light of the formulating strategies for the development of industry.
By handling the challenges identified as well as the handing out the correct assistance and guidance, craft has the potential to become an increasingly important contributor to the Malaysia’s economy.
Contribution: Nur Dalila Alias (Practical Student 02/2009)