Probably several hundreds of books and articles have been written about Malaya during the last few decades and especially during the last few years. Nevertheless, despite the publication in 1955 of "The Economic Development of Malaya" by the World Bank Mission, a full scale study of current economic developments has not yet been made, though some books published recently have covered part of the form. It was therefore thought worthwhile to make the present study.
Malaya ranks as the country with the second highest living standard in Asia, but is, in fact, one of the underdeveloped or developing countries.
It is a common feature of most of the underdeveloped countries that their economies are mainly dependent on one or two commodity products for export, such as cacao in Ghana, coffee in Brazil, tea'and rubber in Ceylon, and rubber and tin in Malaya. The disadvantage of this is that their economies are greatly affected by the price fluctuations of the particular products in the world market. Whether the future economic development of these countries should depend on specialization in commodity production or on diversification and development of other lines, will be the main question for this study, in which Malaya is taken as an example.
Due to limitation of the available source of materials and statistics, and to difficulties of analysing statistics issued separately by the two Governments, it has not been possible for the author to make a complete analysis of every sector of the economy; but certain important aspects concerning the economic development are discussed.
Emphasis will throughout be laid on the geographical point of view. It is not proposed to outline detailed policies for future development; but
an attempt will be made to indicate the problems and prospects of economic development.
This study was undertaken by the author during 1961E -66, including two periods spent in London in order to make use of the references in several libraries during the summer of 1961 and 1965. Thus, no detailed analysis has been made of events occurring after the establishment of Malaysia on 16th September, 1963, though the statistics used are in-most cases up to the end of 1963.
Except when otherwise stated, the study is of the combined area of the Federation of Malaya and Singapore, and this area is referred to as "Malaya "; while the "Federation" is referred to the Federation of Malaya alone.