Striving for Inclusive Development: From Pangkor to a Modern Malaysian State
Sultan Nazrin Shah launched his book Striving for Inclusive Development: From Pangkor to a Modern Malaysian State, at The St Regis Kuala Lumpur on 14 July 2019.

By the author of the highly acclaimed Charting the Economy, this book is the most comprehensive study yet of Malaysia’s impressive economic and social transformation over the past 150 years.

Drawing on primary data sources, archival documents and cutting-edge national and international research, Sultan Nazrin Shah traces in detail Malaysia’s fascinating journey, starting from the signing of the seminal Pangkor Treaty in 1874, through British occupation to the present.

The author unearths the roots of Malaysia’s economic and social development—its people, their human capital and well-being, as well as economic structures—including how the colonialists established institutions for the expansion of the lucrative tin and rubber trade, and how they encouraged labour immigration to support their economic ambitions.

The outbreak of World War II and the Japanese occupation forced the British to rethink their strategy for Malaya, which experienced a sequence of turbulent events through to the formation of Malaysia in 1963. 

The 1960s saw solid economic growth, but it failed to benefit the bulk of the population, helping to trigger ethnic clashes. One response by the government was the start of redistributive policies and aggressive affirmative action, with the launch of the New Economic Policy in 1971.

Almost 50 years later, sustained rapid economic growth and a modernising economy have led to fast-rising incomes, the ending of extreme poverty and the emergence of a sizeable middle class, despite setbacks during financial and economic crises.

Striving for Inclusive Development makes it clear that the country still faces huge and complex challenges. Building on its analysis of the past, this landmark book concludes with a forward-looking assessment of these challenges, and sets out Sultan Nazrin Shah’s vision for an inclusive and sustainable future.

  • Sultan Nazrin Shah’s economic history of Malaysia is an intellectual feast of the highest order. This is the definitive study of Malaysia’s long quest for inclusive economic development. With remarkable historical knowledge, technical precision, and comprehensive and judicious exploration of the data, Sultan Nazrin Shah tells the fascinating story of a country that emerged from the imbalances and inequalities of the colonial era to face head-on the challenges of forging a modern, multi-ethnic, and inclusive society. 
    Malaysia has made remarkable strides, as the book cogently describes, but also faces complex challenges in the years ahead. Striving for Inclusive Development is an invaluable guide for understanding Malaysia’s past and charting its future.”

    Jeffrey D. Sachs
    Columbia University
  • This is an exceptional and timely book, important for the future of Malaysia. By grounding his analysis on the most thorough study of Malaysia’s past growth that has ever been undertaken, Sultan Nazrin Shah is able to explore the nation’s future opportunities with a rare combination of technical mastery and practical realism. A successful society depends upon maintaining a critical mass of informed citizens: this lucid book is a model contribution to this process.”

    Sir Paul Collier
    University of Oxford (author of The Future of Capitalism)


c/o Asia-Europe Institute
University of Malaya,
50603 Kuala Lumpur

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