POLITICS: Economics Brief

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During the latter half of the 21st century Malaysia’s economy was dependent on exporting raw goods such as palm oil, rubber, and tin.  But during the 1980’s Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohammad started diversifying into manufactured goods and tourism, helping the economy grow 8% annually until 1997 (the start of the Asian currency crisis).  More recently, Malaysia’s economy has been growing due to its “foreign friendliness” helping it become a middle-income economy.  Malaysia is open, privatized, and safe to trade with and invest in.  According to an International Finance Corporation poll it is ranked 18th (out of 135 economies) in ease to doing business with.  Malaysia’s economic reforms, like the Economic Transformation Program (ETP), are continually attracting foreign investment.  A World Bank article notes that specific bureaucratic hurdles like construction permits and land transfer registrations have been streamlined to reduce time of completion, an attractive incentive for foreign companies.


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