Malaysia's textile and apparel industry is expected to stage a rebound in the next few months after a disappointing first half amid the global economic slowdown and fierce competition, an industry chief has predicted.

Choy Ming Bil, executive director of the Malaysian Textile Manufacturers' Association, said that while it was still uncertain if the industry could match last year's growth the outlook for the second half is "positive".

Malaysia earned RM9 billion last year from the apparel and textile sector which employs more than 150,000 people at scores of firms. It exported RM4.5 billion worth of clothing items last year with its main markets being the US, EU and Canada.

Choy added that in a bid to beat off competition from China companies should try and improve their productivity through better labour training as the sector is heavily reliant on man-power.