chapter  7
19 Pages

Malaysian development by trusteeship: the broken trust

The Malaysian economy is structurally different from Turkey’s: colonialism has burdened it with a racially mixed society. It still remains a dualistic, plantation economy. As such it is extremely open and vulnerable: the export/GDP ratio is about 50 per cent. While trade and ethnic pluralism have contributed to Malaysian prosperity, the same factors are also causes of external dependence and domestic disharmony. Thus, Malaysia is a victim of boom-bust fluctuations in the prices of primary products such as rubber, palm oil and tin. In turn, this vulnerability effectively subordinates domestic development to external conditions beyond the control of Malaysia. Racial harmony between the three major races-Malays (50 per cent), Chinese (35 per cent) and Indians (10 per cent)—rises and falls with the commodity cycles.