Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Economic development in Sarawak, Malaysia: An overview

Furuoka, Fumitaka (2014): Economic development in Sarawak, Malaysia: An overview.


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The state of Sarawak is situated on Borneo Island in East Malaysia. It is the largest state in Malaysia covering an area of approximately 124 thousand square kilometres. Sarawak’s population is approximately 2.07 million people, which makes it the fourth most populous state in the country. There are several distinguished characteristics of the economic development process in Sarawak which highlight the contrast in economic development in Sarawak and the rest of Malaysia. On the whole, the Malaysian economy transformed itself from a primary commodity-based economy to a manufacturing and industry-based one. Until the 1970s, Malaysia was predominantly an exporter of rubber and tin. However, the country overcame the colonial heritage that shaped its economic structure based on primary commodity dependency and became an exporter of manufactured goods. Sarawak, on the other hand, did not follow suit and its economy remains being driven by export of primary commodities, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude petroleum.

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