The Developing Economies

Volume 35, Number 3 (September 1997)

■ The Developing Economies Volume 35, Number 3 (September 1997)
■ B5
■ 105pp
■ September 1997

For further information and to subscribe, visit WILEY-BLACKWELL
PDF files can be viewed for articles that were published by 2005.


A Reassessment of Malaysia's New Economic Policy: A Sociopolitical Approach

Book Reviews


Takashi Torii, "The New Economic Policy and the United Malays National Organization --With Special Reference to the Restructuring of Malaysian Society-- ," pp. 209-39.

This article analyzes the twenty-year process (1971-90) of the implementation of the New Economic Policy of Malaysia, focusing on the role of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), as the promoter of the NEP. The author gives special attention to the duality of nationalism in Malaysia, as both Malay nationalism and Malaysian nationalism. Malaysian economic nationalism must be understood in the context of this duality, which is reflected in the contents of the NEP. On this basis, the NEP has been divided into the following periods.
The first period runs from 1971 through 1975, the era of the rise of Malay economic nationalism. The second, between 1976 and 1984, was characterized by the adjustment of Malay nationalist economic policies and the emergence of Malaysian economic nationalism. In the third, which began in 1984 and runs to the present, market mechanisms were introduced and the role of the NEP diminished.
Using the above periodization and based on UMNO internal documents, the author presents a multi-faceted analysis of the NEP processes from the culmination of Malay economic nationalism which lasted until 1975, down to the institution of the Industrial Co-ordination Act, in reference to changes in the perceptions of government leaders, intra-UMNO political power relations, and the visions of future economic structure projected by the promoters of Malay economic nationalism.

Shamsul A. B., "The Economic Dimension of Malay Nationalism --The Socio-Historical Roots of the New Economic Policy and Its Contemporary Implications-- ," pp. 240-61.

Malaysia's well-known New Economic Policy (NEP), launched soon after the May 1969 ethnic disturbances in Kuala Lumpur, has been perceived by many as a set of measures inspired by ethnic-based "economic nationalism"; namely, that of the Malays. The author argues that NEP should be located within the broader concern of the failure of "Malay nationalism." This essay presents a detailed examination of the origin, evolution, and transformation of the economic dimension of Malay nationalism. The author argues that these aspects of Malay nationalism have been neglected in the general discourse on the subject, both in the past and at present, owing to overemphasis on the political aspect. Moreover, the economic dimension deserves much more attention and analytical treatment in view of the proclaimed success of the implementation of NEP. The need to do so becomes more urgent, since NEP has had significant impact not only upon the social life of Malays but also that of non-Malays.

Heng Pek Koon, "The New Economic Policy and the Chinese Community in Peninsular Malaysia," pp. 262-92.

The paper evaluates the impact of the New Economic Policy (NEP, 1970-91) on the Chinese community in Peninsular Malaysia and the responses of that community to the state-interventionist program which sought to restructure Malaysian society by advancing Malay economic well-being. Chinese responses from political, business, and education circles are analyzed chronologically to reflect four stages of the NEP's evolution: (1) origins and early years, (2) implementation and impact, (3) recasting and liberalization, and (4) replacement by the National Development Policy.
While the NEP presented formidable obstacles to Chinese business interests, and while Chinese discontent was widespread, the overall economic position of the community did not suffer. Chinese entrepreneurs, particularly the wealthiest and most influential businessmen, prospered by forging strategic alliances with well-connected partners/patrons from the Malay power center. At the same time, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) leadership, faced with the country's worst recession since independence, pragmatically responded by liberalizing the NEP in the mid-1980s and implementing the growth-oriented National Development Policy (NDP) in 1991.

Yasuko Hayase and Kao-Lee Liaw, "Factors on Polygamy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Findings Based on the Demographic and Health Surveys," pp. 293-327.

This paper analyzes the effects of (1) women's education, (2) their husbands' education, (3) religion, (4) urbanization, (5) ethnicity, (6) current age (birth cohort), and (7) the age at first marriage on the propensities of being in polygamous unions among the married women of four sub-Saharan African countries. The analysis is carried out by applying a logit model to the micro data of the Demographic and Health Surveys of Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.
Main findings: First, the relative importance of women's education versus their husbands' education in reducing the polygamous propensity, tends to be greater with the modernization (Westernization) of a society. Second, the increase in men's education from secondary to a higher level does not have a negative effect on women's polygamous propensity in Senegal and Ghana and enhances the propensity significantly in Zimbabwe. This finding suggests that polygamy is still widely regarded as a symbol of social status and economic achievement for males in sub-Saharan societies. Third, although Christians are in general much less likely to be in polygamous unions than Muslims and followers of native religions, the Africanization of Christianity in Zimbabwe is accompanied by the reassertion of traditional values and customs, including polygamy. Our main conclusion is that an increase in female's education has, in the long-run, a greater effect on reducing polygamy than an increase in male's education.