Malaysia's past successes and uncertain future : graduating from middle or caught in the middle?
Lean, Hooi Hooi
Date of Issue2014
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
In the space of just over five decades, Malaysia has transformed from a largely agrarian economy to a manufacturing economy with a sustained high rate of economic growth. While Malaysia's achievement in terms of raising the per capita income of its citizens is pretty much universally acclaimed, recent concerns have been expressed that Malaysia is now in a middle-income trap. Moreover, there are a growing number of commentators who are arguing that Malaysia's New Economic Policy (NEP) needs an overhaul if Malaysia is to progress to become a high-income country. This paper provides an overview of the evolution of the Malaysian economy and critically evaluates recent strategic reform initiatives, encapsulated in the New Economic Model (NEM) and Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) that are designed to assist Malaysia in its aim to become an innovation-intensive, high-income country by 2020.
RSIS Working paper, 266-14