The Political Economy of Independent Malaya: A Case-Study in Development

The Political Economy of Independent Malaya: A Case-Study in Development

The Political Economy of Independent Malaya: A Case-Study in Development

The Political Economy of Independent Malaya: A Case-Study in Development

Excerpt

The book has its origins in a research seminar on economic development of Malaya since independence, conducted during 1962 in the Research School of Pacific Studies at The Australian National University. The book fairly reflects the content of the seminar which had the dual purpose of studying problems of economic development and of examining the case of Malaya in particular. The book is likely therefore to interest at least two categories of readers.

First, it is a study of an emergent economy and of the progress made, and difficulties encountered, since the grant of full independence. As such, it is of interest to all those people throughout the world who are concerned with the problems of underdevelopment and the improvement of living standards in low-income countries. Secondly, it takes the economy of Malaya as the particular example for study, and will be for this reason of particular interest to the people of Malaya and of the neighbouring countries with whom the Malayan economy is so closely linked.

The book will be of interest to specialists and to students, but, with the partial exception of a few mathematical items in Chapter 6, it has been written in language that will be fully intelligible to the layman with no specialist knowledge.

Malaya is of particular value as a case study, because it is an emergent economy in a rather special sense. Whilst the basic problems of an underdeveloped economy are present, they are in many cases present in a milder and less extreme form than in most other newly independent countries. In consequence, the path to economic improvement should be more readily achieved, and the effects of policy ingredients should in many cases be more readily observed. It is an economy that has been relatively richer than most others in South and East Asia for a considerable period, has a relatively high standard of education, communications, and public service, and has the resources that, if properly applied, should make a reasonable rate of growth attainable. It is a study in hope rather than in desperation, largely because its circumstances of population growth in relation to resources seem less intractable both in magnitude and in sheer difficulty than those of some of its larger neighbours.

It is also of interest for some of the special problems found in the Malayan situation. These are complicating factors that in their degree of development are unique to the Federation, but have obvious relevance for other underdeveloped countries were similar types of problem are beginning to assume importance. The communal and party structure, the policies of Malayanization, the dependence on rubber and tin for the bulk. of export earnings, the primitive state of the capital market associated with a banking structure established in colonial days, the political and economic problems of the relations with Singapore and now the Borneo territories, all make certain that a study in economic development is a . . .

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