Reports obtained from the Malaysian Department of Statistics indicate that over the past four decades, the Malaysian economy has been transformed.
In the 1960s and 1970s there was great dependency in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. This was the time when the country’s main exports consisted of primary commodities such as rubber, tin and palm oil. Today in the 21st century the country’s economy is driven by exports of services and manufactured goods. The continued expansion of these two sectors has seen a steady growth in the economy where the GDP for the manufacturing sector increased more than 20% whereas the services sector increased from 45% to 51.8% in 2006.
These achievements since independence are most probably due to the government’s macro economic and structural adjustment policies to keep up with the changing market trends. On the other hand, mining and construction have remained rather unchanged over the four decades.
Similar changing trends can also be observed in the Malaysian employment structure. In the 1970s the agricultural sector provided employment to about 43% of the population but today this sector provides employment to only 12%. On the other hand the manufacturing sector has increased employment from 14% in the 1970s to 29% in 2006.
A great increase in employment is also seen in the services sector. This sector has witnessed an increase of 16% from 35% in 1976 to 51% in 2006. Currently it is also Malaysia’s largest provider of employment with Government Services providing the lion’s share of employment for Malaysians.