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Understanding Malaysia’s Growth Rate in Comparison with the Rest of East Asia


17th January 2017 • 3:30pm • Experimental Theatre, University of Malaya

A Special Lecture by Professor Dwight H Perkins, Harvard University


Malaysia has enjoyed a half century of sustained economic growth at a rate that compares favorably with most of the nations of Latin American and Africa, but also falls well short of what was achieved in most of Northeast Asia. Malaysia achieved this performance with policies that, despite a greater than average emphasis on redistributive goals, generally followed the path of other successful countries during their “catch-up" phase of growth. Catch-up growth however ends well before a country reaches high income status and some countries have trouble continuing to move beyond that point-- what is referred to as the “middle income trap". Malaysia has reached that critical point where reliance on successful strategies and technologies developed elsewhere must give way to a Malaysian society that is itself a leader and innovator. The current state of Malaysia's education system and its immigration and emigration policies and experience, however, may make this transition to an innovating society difficult.

About Professor Dwight H Perkins

Dwight H Perkins is the Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Previous positions at Harvard include Director of the Harvard University Asia Center, Associate Director of the East Asian (now Fairbank) Research Center, Chair of the Department of Economics, and Director of the Harvard Institute for International Development.

Perkins has authored, coauthored, or edited 20 books and numerous articles on economic history and economic development, with special references to the economies of East and Southeast Asia. He is among the world's most prolific economists to have studied and published on East and Southeast Asian countries. Among his major contributions include the transition from central planning to the market, long-term agricultural development, industry policy, the underlying sources of growth in East Asia, and the role of economic and legal institutions in East Asian growth.

He has served as an advisor or consultant to the governments of Korea, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. He has also been a long-term consultant to the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, and various U.S. government agencies, including the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society. He received his BA from Cornell and his MA and PhD in economics from Harvard.

Tentative Programme

2.30 pm Arrival of Guests
3.15 pm Arrival of Pro-Chancellors, University of Malaya
Arrival of VIPs
Arrival of Professor Dwight H Perkins
3.30 pm Arrival of DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan,
Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, Chancellor, University of Malaya
Moderator, Professor Dr. Rajah Rasiah - to introduce
Professor Dwight H Perkins and moderate the session
Professor Dwight H Perkins’ Special Lecture,
“Understanding Malaysia’s Growth Rate in Comparison with the Rest of East Asia”
4.30 pm Q & A Session
5.00 pm Refreshments at the Dewan Tunku Chancellor
5.30 pm DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan,
Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, Chancellor, University of Malaya
leaves the University of Malaya
End of Event

Dress code: Lounge Suit / Long Sleeve Batik / Office Attire

17th Jan 2017
3:30 PM
Experimental Theatre,
University of Malaya
Last Updated: 17/02/2020