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Siddiquee NA, Zafarullah HM. Malaysia. 2004.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/2946
With an area of nearly 330,000 km² and a population of 23 million, Malaysia is located at the heart of Southeast Asia. It is essentially a plural society where over 50% of the population are Malays and the rest are Chinese, Indians, and indigenous people. Politically, Malaysia is one of the most stable countries of the region. Yet despite the presence of multiparty democracy, Malaysia is often branded as a 'semi-democracy' and its political system as 'hegemonic.' A single party - the United Malays National Organization - has been dominating the political scene since independence in 1957. Economically, Malaysia has made impressive gains over the past decades; the economy is largely export-led, and it continues to enjoy high levels of growth notwithstanding the setbacks of the recent Asian financial crisis. With a human development index (HDI) ranking of 59 in 2002, Malaysia also fares well internationally in terms of other socioeconomic indicators. The economic success of the country is attributed, among other things, to political stability, dynamic and visionary leadership, and the efficiency of the administrative system in planning and managing programs of socioeconomic development.