The industrial policy that was undertaken by the Malaysian government has spurred economic development and prosperity for the last 3 decades. Nevertheless the economic development has been heavily concentrated on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, thus causing income disparity between urban and rural areas. The government has published a series of reports on Malaysian Quality of Life (QoL) since 2002. It measured QoL among Malaysian people narrowly from the material aspects of QoL. However, it is also very important to approach people's QoL not only from the material aspects but also from non-material aspect of QoL including happiness, satisfaction and desire and how they generally feel about their life. It would provide distinctive indicators among Malaysian people. This paper aims to approach life satisfaction weather people are satisfied with their life or not especially from both material and non-material aspects of QoL among Malaysian people living in two granary areas of Penang and Kelantan. A total of 80 respondents were interviewed by structured questionnaires, and binary logistic regression was used to determine the influential socio-demographic factors and important dimension of the QoL on life satisfaction. The result indicates that age, family size and four dimensions of QoL such as community, residential condition, economic level, and family/partner were important factors in influencing on life satisfaction. Especially, QoL in terms of community dimension was the most influential factor on life satisfaction.
Keywords: life satisfaction, non-material aspect of QoL, granaries area, binary logistic regression, QoL
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Economic growth has reduced poverty and has improved the living standards among the Malaysians (World Bank, 2009). This has taken place since 1980s when multinational companies began investing in Malaysia by building factories on the West coast of Peninsula Malaysia. It has absorbed a lot of people from mral areas as the labour force and settled them in the designated industrial parks. Since job opportunities in factories have provided Malaysian people with cash wage, it has led to the development of the monetary economy in the mral area. However, income growth has been strong only for the top 20% of Malaysian income earners. The bottom 40% of households have experienced the slowest growth of average income, earning less than RM1,500 per month in 2008 (National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC), 2010). Since reducing poverty from mral sector was a predominant key issue in Malaysia in a series of Malaysia Plans, people's living standards in mral sector were addressed as an important perspective for approaching mral development (Hashim, 1998; Khan, 2002).
Among Southeast Asian countries, the Malaysian government started to use the term "quality of life" quite early, as noted in the Malaysian Plans. The Malaysian Quality of Life (QoL) report, defined it as encompassing personal advancement, a healthy lifestyle, access and freedom to pursue knowledge and attainment of a living standard which surpasses the fulfillment of the basic and psychological needs of the individuals to achieve a level of social well-being compatible with the nation's aspirations (MQOL, 2002). It captured the Malaysian's QoL by measurable material perspective from mainly 11 perspectives including income/distribution, working life, transport/communication, health, education, housing, environment, family life, social participation, public safety, culture and leisure. They also indicated that living standards in Malaysia have dramatically improved except from the point of environment and public safety which were caused by the rapid urbanization (MQOL, 2004).
Since 1980s, the manufacturing sector has been invested in by multinational and domestic companies, which has led to more employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector. …