Batik printing techniques and goods have long had a very prominent presence apart from well known producers such as India and Africa. South East Asia is one of those regions where it has long been deeply rooted in the cultures of countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. And they are still very active in the industry today. Malaysia has traditionally been a key player when dealing with batik in this region. Ultimately, the Malaysian government has long been working to turn Malaysia into a regional hub for all things batik.
Some parties have claimed that batiks from India as well as Indonesia are superior but that does not mean Malaysian goods are bad by any stretch. It is deeply integrated in society here, particularly in local government events. It is also standard practice for all government officials in Malaysia to don a batik shirt for all official events. This is more of an understood rule rather than one enshrined in local laws and it stems from the time of Malaysia’s independence from British rule under the reign of Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Malaysian prints are mainly produced in two states located in the north east. Both the states of Kelantan as well as Terengganu have been very active producers for the global market. Nowadays however, production seems to be geared more for international demand rather than local demand. Those from younger generations tend to look upon batik clothing with disdain as they are deemed to be old fashioned.
This isn’t all bad news as the market for batik internationally has been growing by leaps and bounds. It is both viewed as beautiful and exotic by those from foreign countries. Combined with the power of the internet, such goods are no longer out of reach for foreigners. With a credit card plus a few clicks of the button, they can be delivered directly to your doorstep. It is for this reason that Malaysia has been actively seeking significance and recognition for the benefit of local producers.