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Abstract

Agriculture used to be a way of life for most nations and is still is for many nations in the world today. It is in the agricultural sector that the battle for long-term development will won or lost, to quote Myrdal. It cannot be denied that sector plays a key role in the process of economic development. When Malaysia embarked on its economic structural transformation policy to leap frog into an industrialised nation by 2020, the agricultural sector was unintentionally neglected. It was put on the backseat of development and later efforts to revise and reinvent the sector were unconvincing. Along the way, the rural social fabric of the nation disintegrated. The rural-urban migration left the agricultural sector helpless with aged farmers to farm, while the more able younger population look for better opportunities in the urban centres. The Lewis-Fei -Ranis (LFR) economic model described the economic transformation persuasively. It and many other similar economic models however, neglected the social implications of this phenomenon and its impact on the lives of the rural population and the later impacts on newer trend of labour mobility – the exodus of the migrant labour from neighbouring nations to the country sides of Malaysia. This paper, based on our many previous studies done in 2006 to 2008, seeks to explore and analyse this phenomenon by answering the following questions: (1) How much has main agricultural outputs dropped due to the rural-urban migration, (2) What aspects and how much of this agricultural legacy and the existing social fabric have been impacted by the migration, (3) What are some of the immediate interventions that could be introduced to reverse some of the trends.

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