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Article
‘Adapt or Divest: The New Economic Policy and foreign businesses in Malaysia (1970-2000)
Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History (2012)
  • Shakila Yacob, Dr, University of Malaya
  • Khadijah Md Khalid, Dr, University of Malaya
Abstract
This study explores the interplay between state policies and business strategies of foreign firms in Malaysia during and in the aftermath of decolonisation. Drawing from newly released British and US sources, this study demonstrates that distrust of state enterprises as well as antagonism towards Chinese speculators were significant factors in shaping the business strategies of targeted British firms under the New Economic Policy (NEP) in Malaysia. In addition, the business culture of some British firms served only to harden misperceptions and strengthen the resolve of the government to implement the NEP fully. Finally, in cushioning external shocks, firms embarked on a diversification strategy not only to multiply, but also to acquire differing portfolios in developed economies. Despite this familiar framework of mistrust and tension, this paper goes on to address the real firm-specific differences in the response to the NEP. As for the other foreign firms, they were nonetheless prepared to share assets, expertise and human resources with Malaysian enterprises through joint ventures. Such a varied response demonstrated the agility of foreign businesses in responding to state policies.
Keywords
  • economic Nationalism,
  • Decolonisation,
  • New Economic Policy,
  • Malaysia
Publication Date
2012
Citation Information
Shakila Yacob and Khadijah Md Khalid. "‘Adapt or Divest: The New Economic Policy and foreign businesses in Malaysia (1970-2000)" Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History Vol. 40 Iss. 3 (2012)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/shakila_yacob/4/