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KFAW Asian Researchers Network Seminar

KFAW Asian Researchers Network FY2012-4 (January 17, 2013)
"Growth through Diversity: Issue of Gender, Economy and Ethnicity in Malaysia"

1.Date January 17, 2013
2.Venue Kitakyushu Municipal Gender Equality Center, MOVE
3.Lecturer Ms. Ayame Suzuki, Lecturer, Fukuoka Women’s University
4.Participants 28

In the 1980s, Malaysia adopted the Look East Policy, in which the country strived to achieve economic development by introducing the work ethics of Japan and Korea, technology and management policies, and other elements. Subsequently, Malaysia realized rapid economic growth, and is currently aiming to join the ranks of developed countries by 2020.
On the other hand, it is true that Malaysia has the history of struggle for the coexistence of ethnic groups. The Bumiputera Policy (an economic policy giving preference to certain ethnic groups) implemented in order to eliminate economic disparity among ethnic groups, guaranteed the Malay race and other Bumiputera special status. A wide range of affirmative actions were taken in the fields of education, employment, house purchase, etc. This policy certainly reduced economic disparity among ethnic groups, but triggered a brain drain of non-Bumiputera who were unhappy with the policy, reportedly affecting the country’s economic development. Moreover, in politics, a harmony among ethnic groups was prioritized leading to some restrictions of citizens’ rights.
However, some citizen groups began to promote activities to expand individual freedom and governmental transparency beyond the ethnic boundaries. Particularly, considerably affected the revision of the Criminal Evidence Act (Rape Act) and the establishment of the Domestic Violence Act. Malaysia is today shifting towards the growth through diversity. Under the slogan “One Malaysia,” the current NAJIB administration has adopted a strategy aiming to gradually eliminate discrimination between ethnic groups and to accept the value of every such group. Moreover, the administration is striving to increase the employment of women to enhance labor productivity. Malaysia has the potential to become a thriving country where people can contribute the economic development by demonstrating their own strength.