IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Lessons from Post-colonial Malaysian Economic Development


  • K. S., Jomo
  • Chong Hui, Wee


Malaysian economic development has been shaped by public policy in response to changing national and external conditions. Public investments peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s, until the policy reversals driven by sovereign debt concerns and new policy ideology fads. Foreign investments continued to be favoured after independence for ethnic political reasons. Thus, foreign investments continued to be very significant in financial services as well as manufacturing growth, both for import substitution from the 1960s and for export from the 1970s. Private investments were attracted by government provision of infrastructure, cheap but schooled labour, tax incentives, lax environmental regulations and an undervalued currency. Poverty reduction and ownership redistribution by ethnicity were most successful during the 1970s and early 1980s, although it is unclear how much these improved inter-ethnic relations. Economic liberalization and the growing influence of business interests and political elites have undermined the government’s developmental role, culminating in the 1997–8 financial crisis and lacklustre growth since. Malaysian industrialization could only have been achieved with appropriate incentives for investments and technical progress through key policy interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • K. S., Jomo & Chong Hui, Wee, 2010. "Lessons from Post-colonial Malaysian Economic Development," WIDER Working Paper Series 102, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2010-102

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jensen, Tarp & Tarp, Finn, 2007. "Agricultural Technology and Marketing Margins in Vietnam," MPRA Paper 29820, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Arndt, Channing & Benfica, Rui & Tarp, Finn & Thurlow, James & Uaiene, Rafael, 2010. "Biofuels, poverty, and growth: a computable general equilibrium analysis of Mozambique," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(01), pages 81-105, February.
    3. Tarp, Finn & Arndt, Channing & Jensen, Henning Tarp & Robinson, Sherman & Heltberg, Rasmus, 2002. "Facing the development challenge in Mozambique: an economywide perspective," Research reports 126, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Malaysia; development strategies; liberalization; intervention;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2010-102. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mauricio Roa Grisales). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.