Law, Institutions and Malaysian Economic Development

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Edited by Sau Ngan Wong and Jomo K. S.

This pioneering volume develops an institutionalist analysis of Malaysia's post-colonial economy by exploring the political economy of development and particularly the interface between economics and law. The various authors show that economic policy initiatives in Malaysia have often been accompanied by corresponding legislative and regulatory reforms intended to create an appropriate legal environment, and that economic problems or crises arising from earlier policies have led to major legislative innovations.

The volume begins with a survey of Malaysia's colonial legal heritage and significant postcolonial developments, and the relationship between economic change, institutional developments and the law. Colonial land law transformed the rural Malay population, and the authors show that the routine depiction of this sector of the economy as a traditional relic of the pre-colonial era is misleading. With regard to industry, the government changed course after independence, promoting manufacturing investments and technological progress, and forging new industrial relations between the state and trade unions. Drawing on this background the book rejects claims that corporate governance failures caused the financial crisis of the 1990s, and criticizes claims for the superiority of Anglo-American arrangements for corporate governance.


Jomo K.S. is Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development in the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). He is also (Honorary) Research Coordinator for the G24 Intergovernmental Group on International Monetary Affairs and Development.

Sau Ngan WONG is General Counsel for the Securities Commission in Malaysia and previously worked for the Malaysian Central Bank.


Publication Year: 2008
304 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-390-9, Paperback

NUS Press