1987 年 1987 巻 84 号 p. 136-152,L14
Malaysia is a typical plural society which is composed of three different ethnic groups; the Malays, Chinese and Indians. The Malays are called “Bumiputra” as the indigenous people of Malaya. They observed the Islamic religion and have inherited the Sultanate system. The Chinese and Indians were brought as immigrant laborers under the British colonial administration of Malaya. They observed Buddism and Hinduism, respectively. Beside these racial and religious differences, there developed a different division of labor in the economy, which was led by the British divide and rule colonial policy. The Malays were mainly paddy and rubber small holders, the Chinese were tin miners, rubber estate owners, traders and merchants and the Indians were mainly rubber eatate laborers. This division of labor has resulted in the income disparity among the three ethnic groups. The Chinese were ranked as the higher income group compared to the Indians and Malays. And, this economic disparity among the three ethnic groups become the main political issues after the independence of Malaya in 1957.
The independent Government led by the Alliance Party of Malaya, which was composed of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA), and Malayan Indian Congress (MIC), has launched the rural development policy for the Malay farmers to increase their incomes, through land development and double-cropping of rice. But, as for the industrial development, the Government has allowed a free hand to the private sector, mainly Chinese enterprises and foreign investment. This laissez fair economic policy of the Government did not succeed in dissolving the economic disparities among the three ethnic groups. And, dissatisfaction toward the Alliance Government reached a crucial point in the May 13th (1959) racial riot at Kuala Lumpur. This tragedy happened after the May 10th election, where the UMNO and MCA lost their seats and the opposition parties-the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (GRM)-increased their seats and the DAP suported Chinese and the UMNO suported Malays were crushed at Kuala Lampur.
This racial riot was controlled by the Government, led by the Vice-Premier Tun Razak. He has launched a New Economic Policy (NEP) to eradicate poverty and eliminate racial economic disparities. The point of this NEP policy is to create a Malay commercial and industrial sector by mobilizing Government development expenditures. After fifteen years implementation of this policy, there has emerged Malay commercial and industrial groups who were supported by the UMNO-led government and public corporations. But, the many Malay farmers were still poor as before, and discontent with the NEP policy among the Chinese has grown, year by year. And, there has been grass-root Islamic fundamentalism in the Malay rural areas. Also, the discontent of the Chinese, who moved to the support of DAP, is shown in their increased seats at the recent election of August, 1986. Thus, the outcome of the NEP policy was to produce a so-called small number of Malay state-capitalists, and dissatisfaction with this policy is growing not only among the Chinese, but also among the Malay farmers.
This artide is an attempt to describe political and economic changes under the NEP policy, based on an analysis of ethnic differences, class divisions and ideological conflicts in Malaysia.