Monday, March 28, 2011

The paradox of Sarawak

This story first appeared in Bloomberg in 2009. On the cusp of its 10th state elections, Sarawak remains as poor while its rulers talk glibly of "transforming the State economy towards a high-income and advanced economy by 2020." Sarawak is the 4th poorest state in Malaysia and here's the reason.
[D]evelopment projects, including plantations and dams, haven’t helped poverty among the local people, many of whom live without adequate electricity or schools, says Richard Leete, who served as the resident representative of the United Nations Development Program for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei from 2003 to 2008.

“This is the paradox of Sarawak -- the great wealth it has, the natural resources in such abundance, and yet such an impoverishment and the real hardship these communities are suffering,” says Richard Leete, who chronicled Malaysia’s progress since its independence from Britain in his book “Malaysia: From Kampung to Twin Towers” (Oxford Fajar, 2007). “There has no doubt been a lot of money politics,” he says.

Read the whole Bloomberg article, Getting Rich in Malaysia Cronyism Capital Means Dayak Lose Home, here.

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