Exploring the Spatial Dimensions of Rural Development Models in Malaysia 1957-2007

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L.J. Fredericks


Malaysia, a relatively small country, gained independence from Britain in 1957 and the government began an economic re-structuring process to become a developed country. The initial rural development push to rectify the colonial policy of benign neglect of the Malay, rural, peasant sector rested on the urban industrial growth models in neo-classical growth theory. Integrated rural development was the second approach, conceptually fuzzy and diffuse. Broader policy formulations followed anchored on multiple policy interventions approximately focused on rural poverty. Within these interventions, the notions of geography, space, place and territory – the spatial dimensions – in rural development gradually emerged via the regional development area and growth pole approaches. Regional growth corridors (an extension of the agropolitan model) reflecting a deepening sensitivity to territorial, population and global dynamics are the current policy instruments. These rural development processes and their spatial dynamics in postindependent Malaysia are explored in this paper.


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