Employment Poverty Eradication Projects: Malaysia's Experience 25 Years After Independence

H. Osman-Rani


The New Economic Policy (NEP) was inaugurated in Malaysia in 1969 to overcome the twin problems of poverty and socioeconomic imbalance. In line with this, two major strategies were pursued, namely agricultural and land development, and industrialization via the dispersal of industrial estates, as exemplified by three major projects which were: 1) the FELDA Land Development Schemes, 2) Muda Irrigation Scheme, and 3) the industrial estates development. This paper attempts to review the role and effectiveness of these projects, as well as the problems encountered. Its major conclusion is that overall, Malaysia's performance in addressing rural poverty has been better than those of many other developing countries in spite of the very real problems of ethnic factionalism. It underscores however the importance, not only of the industrialization and mechanization of agriculture, but also of the proper attitudes of the people and the elite groups which are essential to the modernization process.

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