Urbanization Of The Malays In Peninsular Malaysia, 1970-1980

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Dennis A. Rondinelli


Urban planning, Area planning & development, Public administration

Subject Categories

Human Geography


The research analyzes the pattern factors and conditions associated with Malay urbanization in Peninsular Malaysia during the decade 1970-1980, the first 10 years of implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP). The NEP has the objective of attaining national unity among the diverse population through poverty alleviation, irrespective of race, and restructuring of society to reduce and finally eliminate the identification of race with economic function and geographical location.

The main sources of data for the study are the Population Censuses of 1970 and 1980, the Agricultural Census of 1977, and the various urban studies conducted for master plans of some major urban areas. The techniques used include correlations and linear regressions, analysis of variance and case studies.

During the period under study it was shown that the Malays had concentrated in the largest urban areas such as Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru and along the east coast of the peninsula. A variety of factors, including the role of manufacturing and service employments and the prevalent socio-economic conditions of poverty and low income in the surrounding rural areas, helped to influence the rise in Malay urban population.

The study shows that Malay urban employment increased in the manufacturing sector and also continued to concentrate in the services. The increase in export-oriented and labor intensive industries provides the employment opportunities to the urban Malays. However, due to the "mature" nature of these industries the occupations are largely of low skill and paying low wages. It is also found that the urban Malays have concentrated in the low income categories in the urban areas, and there is indication that the percentage had increased.

A few policy recommendations that emerge from this study include a formulation of an urbanization policy, a spatial development focused on small urban areas, and the commercial development of Malay reserves in urban areas.


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