Tag Archive for: economic development

JC History Tuition Online - What does FELDA stand for - Economic Development Notes

What does FELDA stand for?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Historical context
FELDA stands for ‘Federal Land Development Authority’. Under the Land Development Ordinance, FELDA was established on 1 July 1956. Its main function was oriented towards the development and relocation of land, striving to achieve poverty eradication. Land development projects were focused on the cultivation of oil palm and rubber.

In its initial stage of development from 1956 to 1970 its main function was to act as a lending body, providing funds to the state governments for land development. However, with the growing political importance of the overall rural programme (and thus land development which was a major component of this policy), FELDA was given in 1960 direct authority to open up and develop land throughout Malaysia.

An excerpt from “Group Farming in Asia: Experiences and Potentials” by John Wong.

Application of FELDA
FELDA was first put into practice in March 1957, relocating about 400 settlers over 1,680 hectares of land in Air Lanas, Kelantan. These settlers were picked from rural areas and assigned about 4 to 6 hectares of land to cultivate either rubber or oil palm. They were paid wages until their crops matured. In 1960, FELDA expanded its function to include the management of all land schemes and land development at the national level.

From that date its activities of land development and settlement rapidly increased until the present day when it has some 200 schemes throughout Peninsular Malaysia, with 40,000 settlers and their families, and sales in 1976 of M$357 million (US$145 million). In the twenty-year period from 1956 to 1976 FELDA has also opened up 967,000 acres of land and built up and an extensive processing and marketing apparatus for its products including 25 palm oil and rubber factories and bulk storage installations at Malaysia’s main ports.

An excerpt from “Group Farming in Asia: Experiences and Potentials” by John Wong.

In the 1990s, FELDA became a statutory board that generates its own income through diverse businesses. In particular, FELDA has formed private corporate entities to support its value chain of activities, such as FELDA Holding Berhad and FELDA Global Ventures.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that agricultural policies were most significant in promoting economic development?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the Paths to Economic Development. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the Look East policy - Economic Development Notes

What is the Look East Policy of Malaysia?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Learn more about the Look East Policy that impacted Japanese-Malaysian relations as well as economic development of Malaysia. [Video by Free Malaysia Today]

Historical context: Learning from the best
Six months after Dr. Mahathir assumed the role as the Prime Minister of Malaysia, his administration launched the ‘Look East Policy‘ in February 1982, which called upon Malaysians to emulate the Japanese work ethic and business management techniques. By doing so, the government aims to acquire Japanese expertise and capital through bilateral trade and investment.

To Mahathir, the definition of ‘East’ consisted of Japan and South Korea. Interesting, Taiwan and Singapore were not being raised as case study references.

Mahathir also mentioned two features which Malaysia proposed to adopt from the Japanese model. One was the concept of Malaysia Incorporated, intended to encourage business owners and workers in the public and private sectors to work together. Another was to create large companies based on the Japanese sogo shoshas (the large trading companies), although in Malaysia these were not developed as rapidly as the Prime Minister would have wished.

An excerpt from “Malaysian Politics Under Mahathir” by Diane K. Mauzy and R. S. Milne.

Two-pronged approach
The ‘Look East Policy’ had two parts. First, Malaysians studied at the Japanese universities. Second, trainees worked at Japanese industries. The program was mainly financed by the Malaysian government, while the Japanese counterpart deployed Japanese trainers and covered part of the expenditure.

No one can dispute that Japan achieved a miracle when it rebuilt itself after the war. How did it do it? It did it by not being advised by other people. It did it in its own way. The only advice it accepted was to produce high quality goods, goods of world standards, so as to be accepted by the world markets. The rest was entirely Japanese.

[…] Japan has been censured for the close cooperation between the government and the corporations. Japan incorporated was regarded as some kind of cronyism involving the government and the private sector. Malaysia sees nothing wrong in the close collaboration between government and the private sector. The government should help the private sector to succeed because a large chunk of the profits made by the private sector belongs to the government. In helping the private sector the government is actually helping itself.

An excerpt from a speech by Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, on “Look East Policy – The Challenges for Japan in a Globalized World“, in 2002, marking the 20th anniversary of the ‘Look East Policy’.

Dr. Mahathir held a firm belief that the ‘Look East Policy’ was vital in realising his Vision 2020, an aim to transform Malaysia into fully developed nation by doubling the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every decade between 1990 and 2020. Japan was identified as a integral role to fulfil this national aim.

A pipedream in the making?
However, government efforts to emulate the successful Japanese model were obstructed by several factors. One such problem was the cultural differences. For instance, the Japanese employees have adapted to long working hours, but there was resistance from the Malaysians.

Another issue was related to the differences in economic development. While Japan was a pro-Capitalist developed nation, Malaysia was still in the process of transforming from a developing nation to a newly-industrialised economy.

The application of the ‘Look East Policy’ can be traced to the establishment of the Heavy Industry Corporation of Malaysia (HICOM) in 1980, which was also key feature in Mahathir’s policymaking in the 1980s. With the help of a team of United Nations development experts, HICOM formed companies, such as the Proton Saga national car project (Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional) and the Perwaja Terengganu steel mill.

While still Minister of Trade and Industry, Mahathir contacted Mitsubishi, apparently without sounding out any other possible Japanese partners, and reached agreement with Mitsubishi.

[…] There seems to have been reluctance to make use of knowledgeable Chinese in the Proton project. However, on marketing and selling, the government relied on existing Chinese firms. There was some truth in comments that the Proton was not really a Malaysian car, but a Japanese car with a Malaysian “chop” (name). In 1994 Mahathir accepted this, admitting that Malaysia would not have the know-how to produce a fully fledged car for ten to fifteen years.

An excerpt from “Malaysian Politics Under Mahathir” by Diane K. Mauzy and R. S. Milne.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that external actors were more important than domestic actors in promoting economic development of Southeast Asian states?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the Paths to Economic Development. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How did the 1970s oil crises affect Southeast Asia

How did the 1970s oil crises affect Southeast Asia?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Learn more about the 1973 oil crisis that impacted many economies, including the USA. [Video by ThamesTV]

Historical context: The 1970s oil shocks
In the early 1970s, petrostates in the Arab world agreed to boycott Western nations, such as the USA and UK, for their provision of support to Israel during the Yom Kippur War against Egypt. As a result, crude oil prices quadrupled from $3 per barrel to $12 per barrel by 1974.

The second oil shock took place between 1978-1979, in which the Iranian Revolution concluded with the fall of the Shah’s regime. At that time, Iran was the world’s second-largest oil exporter. With the temporary halt in oil production in Iran, the political turmoil had further devastated the world oil markets, causing oil prices to surge to nearly $30 per barrel by early 1980.

A windfall in Indonesia: Surge of petrodollars
In Southeast Asia, oil exporting nations like Indonesia benefited from this unprecedented development, given their membership in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The oil price in Indonesia increased from $1.67 per barrel in 1970 to $35 in 1981.

With large inflows of revenues from oil exports, the Indonesian government used these surpluses to correct its balance of payment deficits. Furthermore, the New Order government used the oil revenues to expand the manufacturing sector, particularly through import purchases of raw materials and capital goods. More importantly, President Suharto embarked on ambitious large-scale development programs in different parts of Indonesia, including Java.

Due to the higher oil revenues, the Indonesian government was able to undertake substantial public investments and expand and improve the efficiency of the public administration sector (for instance by raising the salaries of public servants) which, in turn, contributed to economic growth.

[…] After the early 1970s first foreign aid and then oil revenues were spent on rehabilitating and expanding the long-neglected physical infrastructure (particularly in rural areas) and transport infrastructure. This rapid expansion and improvement of the physical and transport infrastructure involved roads, railways, bridges, harbours, airports and communications.

An excerpt from “Emergence of a National Economy: An Economic History of Indonesia, 1800-2000” by Howard Dick, Vincent J. H. Houben, J. Thomas Lindblad and Kian Wie Thee.

A temporary setback: For oil-importing nations in Southeast Asia
In contrast to Indonesia and Malaysia, oil-importing nations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines were adversely affected by the rise in oil prices. Higher oil prices meant a decline of the terms of trade as well as their balance of payment positions.

Thailand was hit harder by the second oil crisis and the subsequent world-wide recession because the country had become more dependent on external trade, and the external terms of trade were no longer favourable. […] The rate of inflation as measured by the consumer price index, which was 7 to 10 percent during the period 1977-1979, accelerated to 19.7 percent in 1980. Economic growth slowed somewhat to an annual growth rate of 7 percent in the 1970s, with the manufacturing sector growing at a higher-than-average rate of around 10 percent per annum.

An excerpt from “Economic Development in East and Southeast Asia: Essays in Honor of Professor Shinichi Ichimura” by Seiji Naya and Akira Takayama.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that governments were responsible for the economic instability in independent Southeast Asia?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the Paths to Economic Development. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What affected the economic development of Indonesia under Suharto

What affected the economic development of Indonesia under Suharto?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Challenges that surfaced during the ‘New Order
After Suharto took over Sukarno as the Indonesian President in the late 1960s, the new leader had begun efforts to recover the Indonesian economy. Agendas were set in the new Five-Year Plan, also known as Repelita I (Rencana Pembagunan Lima Tahun I).

A crisis in the agricultural sector: Rice
In the early 1970s, a serious drought had hit Indonesia. It adversely affected rice producers, leading to a fall in production. As a result, the price of rice surged, impacting the poor. If left unchecked, this economic problem may spill over to the political sphere.

In 1973, Suharto formed the Badan Urusan Logistik (BULOG), a national rice agency. It was established to build and maintain a buffer stock of rice, managing distribution of rice across Indonesia. Also, it helped to maintain rice price stability to protect the welfare of rice farmers.

In addition, the Indonesian government aimed to create a national buffer stock of rice to pre-empt shortages, should there be unforeseen circumstances like a serious drought. By 1979, an integrated network of modern warehouses was built. This network had the capacity to store one million tons of rice across the nation.

From 1975 to 1983 BULOG implemented the government’s floor and ceiling price policy and delivered monthly rations to the Budget Groups without a hitch. […] Supporting the floor price received top priority as a way of stimulating domestic rice production, a crucial task because of the perceived unreliability of the world rice market. From 1974 to 1978, persistent problems with disease and pests associated with the new rice varieties kept upward pressure on rural prices, so maintaining the floor price was relatively easy at the prices actually set, which merely kept pace with inflation.

An excerpt from “Indonesia’s Sustainable Development in a Decentralization Era” by Budy P. Resosudarmo, Armida S. Alisjahbana and Bambang P.S. Brodjonegoro.

Public demonstrations: Malari
In the same decade as the ‘rice crisis’, Indonesia grappled with protests in Jakarta and other parts of Indonesia, known as the Malari riots in short (Malapetaka Lima belas Januari). The origins of the riots can be traced to a visit by the Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. There were fears of growing Japanese influence in the commercial sectors of Indonesia.

In response to the demonstrations led by students, the New Order government mobilised the military to quell the unrest and restore order. Furthermore, public discussion of the Malari and its impacts was prohibited.

From the economic standpoint, Suharto revised the policies on attracting foreign investment, especially from Japan, to minimise the resurgence of socio-political instability.

The first was the so-called “Malari Affair” of January 1974, during which public anger about the rising tide of Japanese investment boiled over and called into question the continued dominance of energy extraction in Japanese-Indonesian relations. […] Malari forced a toning down of Japan’s conspicuous presence in Indonesia, as many analysts at the time identified it with Japan’s poor public image abroad.

An excerpt from “Engineering Asia: Technology, Colonial Development, and the Cold War Order” by Hiromi Mizuno, Aaron S. Moore and John DiMoia.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How successful were governments in managing economic challenges in independent Southeast Asia?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about the Paths to Economic Development. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How did the Dutch influence the Indonesian economy

How did the Dutch influence the Indonesian economy?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Historical Context
In the 19th century, the Dutch established the cultivation system known as the cultuurstelsel. The origin of the system can be traced to the early 1800s, in which the Dutch colonial government had struggled to engage private cultivators to raise crop production for export. Under the leadership of the Dutch Governor-General, van den Bosch, he switched to a different method to cultivate export crops.

In particular, the Dutch identified individual villages and instructed the people in each village to grow specific crops, such as rice, coffee and sugar. In the 1830s, export production from Java increased significantly due to the efforts put in by the Chinese merchants and indigenous Javanese ruling class and the Dutch officials.

The emergence of economic nationalism: Limitations of the Ethical Policy
Yet, the Dutch cultivation system was not deemed by all local natives as beneficial. Within the indigenous Indonesian community, some viewed economic participation by the Chinese merchants as a threats to their interests.

Influential merchant groups in urban Java, such as the Sarekat Dagang Islam, resented competition from the Chinese. The better-off farmers in Java, who controlled irrigated rice land, resented the enforced renting of land to the sugar companies. Most of those involved in the growing nationalist movement, including growing numbers of indigenous business people, would probably have agreed with the judgement of a later economist that ‘the developmental effort under the ethical system was too little and too late to be effective in raising levels of living of the Indonesian people’.

An excerpt from “Economic Change in Modern Indonesia: Colonial and Post-colonial Comparisons” by Anne Booth.

The Sarekat Dagang Islam (Islamic Trade Union) was initially formed as a Javanese traders’ cooperative to support textile traders against Chinese competitors. In 1912, it was renamed as Sarekat Islam as the organisation evolved into a mass political party.

The Dutch Ethnical Policy (Ethische Politiek) was identified as the root cause of the unequal economic opportunities that generated resentment towards the Chinese immigrants and the colonial power. The policy was guided by its slogan: ‘irrigation, education and emigration’.

The Dutch colonial administration aimed to enhance the irrigation facilities to increase agricultural productivity. However, the intended growth target was not realised. As a result, the poor living standards had fueled the growth of Indonesian nationalism instead.

The Ethical Policy sought to protect the ‘poor’ and ‘unenlightened’ Javanese peasant against the oppression by feudal Javanese overlords and ruthless Chinese. Its formulated lofty goal was to raise the prosperity of the indigenous population through direct state intervention in economic life.

[…] The economic downturn of the early 1920s and 1930s started a period of consolidation and eventually deterioration of the Ethical Policy. The political will to initiate ethical programs waned as the administration embarked on a policy of expenditure cuts to balance the budget.

An excerpt from “Dutch Commerce and Chinese Merchants in Java: Colonial Relationships in Trade and Finance, 1800-1942” by Alexander Claver.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the significance of economic challenges in influencing government intervention in post-independence Southeast Asian economies.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about colonial-era policies and their impacts on the Paths to Economic Development. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How was the Asian Financial Crisis resolved

How was the Asian Financial Crisis resolved?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 2: Asian Financial Crisis

Find out how ASEAN sought to contain the shocks created by the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 [Video by ASEAN Plus 3 Macroeconomic research Office – AMRO]

An overview of the Crisis
In the early 1990s, many member nations of ASEAN pegged their exchange rates to the US dollar (USD). Given the dominant position of the Americans in the global economy, the peg instilled strong market confidence. Over time, the economic expansion in the region led to increased foreign capital inflows. By June 1997, cross-border flows in Southeast Asia totaled US$173 billion.

Greater access to capital had encouraged the provision of private loans. In turn, firms and household investors had ploughed funds into the real estate market. As a result, an asset bubble was formed. When the bubble burst, the Bank of Thailand declared its inability to prop up the largest finance company, Finance One, triggering fears of an impending market crash.

The anticipation of loan defaults resulted in the withdrawal of funds by short-term loan creditors. On the other hand, the gradual recovery of the Japanese economy resulted in the appreciation of the Yen and an interest rate hike. This led to shift of capital from Southeast Asia to Japan markets. The Bank of Thailand struggled to maintain the peg, such that nearly of its reserves were lost, forcing them to float the baht on 2 July 1997.

The unpegging of the Thai baht from the U.S. dollar in July 1997 and the baht’s subsequent collapse are commonly regarded as the triggers of the Asian crisis. The floating of the baht was made necessary by the exhaustion of Thai foreign exchange reserves, after months of futile efforts to stave off necessary policy adjustments and financial sector reforms. The crisis was preceded by an investment bubble, especially in real estate and stock markets, by widespread structural and prudential problems in the financial sector, and by a very rapid buildup of short-term foreign debt liabilities.

An excerpt from “The Asian Financial Crisis: Lessons for a Resilient Asia” by Wing Thye Woo, Jeffrey Sachs and Klaus Schwab.

Concerted efforts for crisis management
In view of the Asian Financial Crisis, governments in Southeast Asia sought solutions to dampen the adverse impacts. On 28 February 1998, finance ministers in ASEAN had gathered in Jakarta to set up a “mutual monitoring system. They agreed to seek technical support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to enhance the development of the system. Later, this system was known as the ASEAN Surveillance Process (ASP).

Ideally, the monitoring system will function as an early warning system, so that the affected member nations can intervene before the economic setback escalates into another crisis.

Before the Asian financial crisis, there were no surveillance mechanisms that functioned to detect irregularities in regional finance markets, either in ASEAN or in East Asia. In that respect, these two mechanisms were formed to address the same problem. However, while the ASEAN Surveillance Process oversees the ASEAN member states, the ASEAN+3 Surveillance Process addresses all East Asian countries.

An excerpt from “ASEAN as a Method: Re-centering Processes and Institutions in Contemporary Southeast Asian Regionalism” by Ceren Ergenç

ASEAN Plus Three: The Chiang Mai initiative
In 1999, the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) [or ASEAN+3] Summit was held, involving ASEAN members and three external powers – China, Japan and South Korea. In 6 May 2000, the APT met in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to derive a regional solution to avert another Asian Financial Crisis.

The Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) became the first regional swap arrangement to address short-term liquidity difficulties in the Asia.

The CMI functioned on two branches:

  1. ASEAN Swap Arrangement (ASA) among the ASEAN member nations
  2. Bilateral Swap Arrangement (BSA) among ASEAN+3 countries

An important feature of the CMI was that crisis-affected members requesting short-term liquidity support could immediately obtain financial assistance up to an amount equivalent to 10 percent (later raised to 20 percent) of the maximum amount that could be borrowed, and that the remainder was to be provided to the requesting member under an IMF program. […] Essentially, the CMI was intended to be used for crisis lending and hence required conditionality.

An excerpt from “Monetary and Financial Cooperation in East Asia: The State of Affairs After the Global and European Crises” by Masahiro Kawai, Yung Chul Park and Charles Wyplosz.

In 2004, an expanded framework was proposed, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM). The CMIM would involve all ten members of ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea, with a combined size of US$240 billion worth of foreign exchange reserves. Five years later, the CMIM was founded.

Structure of the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) [Source: Ministry of Finance, Japan]

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the responses to manage the Asian Financial Crisis were adequate and effective?

Join our JC History Tuition to recap on the Asian Financial Crisis topic. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the Singapore Economic Development Board

What is the Singapore Economic Development Board?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Historical Context
In 1961, the Dutch economist Albert Winsemius made a trip to Singapore to assess the economic situation as a representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) team. Then, he proposed that the Singapore Government should embark on industrialisation to address the high levels of unemployment.

On 26 April 1961, the Minister of Finance Dr. Goh Keng Swee oversaw the tabling of the Economic Development Board (EDB) bill at the Legislative Assembly. The proposed EDB was meant to replace its predecessor – the Singapore Industrial Promotion Board (SIPB). The SIPB was formed in 1957 for industrial development, but it lacked the capacity to scale up domestic production.

Singapore’s rapid GDP growth to the mid-1960s was chiefly due to expansion in the manufacturing and construction sectors. The former depended principally on import-substituting industries encouraged by the formation of Malaysia; increased construction reflected economic planning which concentrated on investment in infrastructure. The Economic Development Board (EDB), as the government’s agent, was set up as ‘the spearhead for industrialisation by direct participation in industry’ and building necessary infrastructure.

An excerpt from “The Economic Growth of Singapore: Trade and Development in the Twentieth Century” by W. G. Huff.

Then, the Permanent Secretary Hon Sui Sen assumed the role of Chairman in the newly-established EDB. Notably, there were four divisions:

  • Finance Division
  • Projects Division
  • Industrial Facilities Division
  • Investment Promotion Division

1960s: Jurong Industrial Estate, JTC and DBS
The Industrial Facilities Division took the lead in shaping Jurong into an industrial estate. Factories were built to support the production of low-value-added goods such as wigs, toys and garments. The EDB had envisioned a production base to prepare Singapore for export-oriented industrialisation (EOI) in the future.

After the Separation from Malaysia in August 1965, plans for export promotion were accelerated. In 1968, the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) was set up to oversee industrial estate development. In the same year, the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) was formed to take over the EDB’s role of industrial financing.

Industrialization was government-driven and approximately 85 percent of the industrial land was developed by government bodies. As a key engine driving the industrialization program, the Economic Development Board (EDB) was set up in 1961 and was instrumental in the birth of the Jurong Industrial Estate. In 1968, the Jurong Town Corporation was created as a full-fledged statutory board of the EDB to undertake planning, development, leasing and management of all industrial estates.

An excerpt from “Spatial Planning for a Sustainable Singapore” by Tai-Chee Wong, Belinda Yuen and Charles Goldblum.

1970s: Gearing up for export-driven industrialisation
The EDB then intensified its efforts to raise the skills proficiency of the labour in Singapore. The Board facilitated the formation of joint government-industry training centres and provided access to training grants.

For instance, the Skill Development Fund was set up in October 1979 to finance manpower training, upgrade business operations and retrain displaced workers. Also, it promoted the expansion and diversification of local industries, so as to position Singapore as a business hub.

With strong government support, Singapore’s reliance on entrepôt trade had declined from 43 percent in 1960 to 16 percent by the early 1970s. In contrast, it was precipitated by the increase in manufacturing activities from 11 percent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1960 to 20 percent in 1970. By then, unemployment rate hovered around 3 percent by the early 1970s.

The EDB’s export strategy was backed by wage control measures. In 1972, the National Wages Council (NWC) was formed to set national wage policies and create annual wage guidelines to regulate wage increment.

The modest wage increase in Singapore from the mid-1970s onwards was a boon to labor-intensive manufactured exports; it also held back the natural adjustment process of economic upgrading in terms of moving towards more capital-intensive activities. Furthermore a low-wage economy creates its own vicious cycle: low wages tend to encourage firms to use labor inefficiently which in turns results in low productivity and, hence, low wages. This actually happened in Singapore in the late 1970s, as labor productivity in 1979 dipped to an all-time low of 2.6 percent amidst full employment and a very tight market.

An excerpt from “Economic Development in East and Southeast Asia: Essays in Honor of Professor Shinichi Ichimura” by Seiji Naya and Akira Takayama.

In view of this economic setback, the Government embarked on its ‘Second Industrial Revolution‘ in 1979 to undergo economic restructuring. It can be understood by its three-pronged approach:

  • Wage increments to incentivise more efficient firms to raise productivity through automation
  • Fiscal incentives in the form of taxation and subsidies to promote expansion, automation and R&D spending
  • Manpower training to cultivate a pool of highly-skilled and literate labour force

Now, [the government] decided that a series of substantial wage increases was the best way to force less productive industries and companies to upgrade, close down, or relocate to countries with cheaper labour costs. These industrial restructuring efforts, driven by a clear government commitment to raise the wage of Singaporean workers , came to be known as Singapore’s ‘Second Industrial Revolution’ in contrast with the earlier industrialisation efforts that had been focussed on solving the unemployment problem.

An excerpt from “Singapore’s Productivity Challenge: A Historical Perspective” by Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– To what extent was government intervention most crucial in explaining the economic development of Singapore?

Join our JC History Tuition to comprehend the topic on Paths of Economic Development in independent Southeast Asia. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion and writing practices to enhance your knowledge application skills. Get useful study notes and clarify your doubts on the subject with the tutor. You can also follow our Telegram Channel to get useful updates.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9658 5789 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How was Thailand affected by the Asian Financial Crisis

How was Thailand affected by the Asian Financial Crisis?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 2: Asian Financial Crisis

Examine the causes of the regional currency crisis to understand its significance on Southeast Asia [Video by Business Explained]

Overview
The Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 was a devastating problem that impacted fast-growing economies in Southeast Asia. Before the crisis, the region was fuelled by unprecedented growth, as seen by the rise of the ‘Tiger economies’ like Singapore.

The epicentre: Thailand
With the Bank of Thailand (BOT) at the helm of the nation’s push for financial liberalisation from the 1980s to the early 1990s, few had expected the central bank to assume partial responsibility for the underlying problems.

Since the 1960s, the Thai baht was tied to the American dollar. This arrangement proved beneficial in accelerating the Thai government’s switch from import-substitution industrialisation (ISI) to export promotion. The establishment of export processing zones (EPZs) was carried out in tandem with the large capital inflows from newly industrialised economies, such as Taiwan.

Like a moth to a flame: Enter the BIBF
Furthermore, the BOT had accepted Article 8 of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Agreement on 20 May 1990. It meant that BOT agreed to open the Thai economy to a larger degree of financial liberalisation. Notably, the Bangkok International Banking Facilities (BIBF) was formed in March 1993 as an offshore banking centre, turning the nation in to an investment hub that could compete with Singapore.

As a result of Thailand’s market-friendly measures, the economy gained from a tremendous amount of capital inflow.

In fact, between 1988 and 1996 Thailand was the recipient of the largest capital inflows relative to GDP in the world. According to the Bank of Thailand, between 1988 and 1996 Thailand received a staggering cumulative amount of US$100.3 billion, about 55 per cent of 1996 GDP, or 9.4 per cent of GDP on average per annum.

An excerpt from “The Asian Financial Crisis: Crisis, reform and recovery” by Shalendra Sharma.

An impending disaster
However, excessive capital inflow proved to be more detrimental than beneficial for Thailand. In particular, the influx of short-term capital, also known as ‘hot money‘, have debilitating effects on the economy, such as a widening current account deficit and an appreciation of the real exchange rate.

Although capital control measures were introduced on 8 August 1995, such responses proved futile. By mid-1997, Thailand’s external debt stood at US$94 billion. Its current account deficit was nearly 8.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In anticipation of the Thai government’s inability to finance their ever-growing foreign debt, foreign investors brought their money out of the nation. On 10 May 1996, the Bangkok Bank of Commerce (BBC) collapsed, causing widespread panic in the financial market. In December 1996, more than 50 percent of the companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) declared falling earnings. On 5 February 1997, Somprasong Land Company defaulted.

On 5 February came the first Thai default, by the company Somprasong, on a foreign loan repayment. Later that month, it was announced that the largest of the finance companies, Finance One, was seeking a merger with a bank to stave off collapse. In the face of widespread fears of an impending financial implosion, Financial Minister Amnuay and central bank governor Rerngchai Marakanond suspended trading of financial sector shares on the stock exchange and went on national television to announce a series of emergency measures designed to reassure nervous markets.

An excerpt from “The Asian Financial Crisis and the Architecture of Global Finance” by Gregory W. Noble and John Ravenhill.

Although the Thai Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh had claimed that the baht would never be allowed to devalue, a massive depreciation occurred on 2 July 1997. Subsequently, the Chavalit administration turned to the IMF for help.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Asian Financial Crisis was inevitable?

Join our JC History Tuition and learn to answer essay questions on the Asian Financial Crisis. The H2 and H1 History Tuition features enriching and skills-oriented online classes to consolidate what you have learnt at school and apply them to examination-based questions. Get concise study notes and receive tutor feedback to correct your writing errors productively.

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JC History Tuition Online - What is the SIJORI Growth Triangle - Economic Development Notes

What is the SIOJRI Growth Triangle?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Growth Triangle: What is it about?
In December 1989, the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Goh Chok Tong, proposed the idea of a ‘Growth Triangle’. Countries could capitalise on the complementarity of resources and the geographical proximity to promote economic integration.

For Singapore, it had skilled labour and well-developed transportation and communications infrastructure. For Malaysia and Indonesia, Johor and Riau Islands had abundant natural resources like gas, water and land.

Thus far, the “Growth Triangle” has been implemented through a series of bilateral arrangements, rather than through one multilateral agreement, with development primarily led by the private sector. The three governments in turn coordinate investments, immigration, and other policies and plans to adjust to the requirements of the private sector.

An excerpt from “The Growth Triangle of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia” by Terence P. Stewart and Margaret L. H. Png.

The SIJORI
The Singapore-Johor-Riau (SIJORI) Growth Triangle was created as a tripartite arrangement between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia on 20 December 1989. Notably, the Singapore-Riau link had contributed to the development of industrial parks and tourist resorts in the Indonesian islands like Batam and Bintan.

SIJORI was formed in 1989 and covers a population of more than 8 million people. It is built on a vertical division of labour, whereby Singapore serves as the supplier of advanced electronic infrastructure, technology, financial and insurance services, a comfortable international entrance port, and international know-how. The Batam island (in Riau, Indonesia) supplies low-cost labour and land, whereas Johor (Malaysia) provides semi-skilled labour, industrial sites and competence.

An excerpt from “Rethinking Regionalism” by Fredrik Söderbaum.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that regional cooperation was vital in shaping the economic development of Singapore in the 1990s.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about Paths to Economic Development in independent Southeast Asia. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online classes, study references, essay and SBCS outlines.

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JC History Tuition Online - What is the Winsemius report - Economic Development Notes

What is the Winsemius report?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Economic Development after Independence
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II Chapter 1: Paths to Economic Development

Find out how the Dutch economist Albert Winsemius contributed to Singapore’s economic development [Video by The HEAD Foundation]

Who is Albert Winsemius?
Albert Winsemius began his career as a price controller in the Netherlands. After the end of the Second World War, Winsemius assumed the role as a director-general of industrial development in the Finance Ministry. After Singapore attained self-government in 1959, Winsemius made a visit to Singapore. He was involved in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) team to determine Singapore’s capacity for industrialisation.

The Report
Then Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew had welcomed the Dutch economist’s review of Singapore’s economic conditions. Alongside the finance and Deputy Prime Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee, Winsemius served as an economic advisor to the government from the early 1960s to mid-1980s. There were two key observations that were made in his report.

The first was that Singapore did not lack entrepreneurs but they were mainly in commerce and not in manufacturing. This suggested the need for the government to participate directly to operate certain basic industries if neither foreign nor local enterprises were prepared to do so.

… The second point recommended the establishment of a nonpolitical EDB with divisions for financing, industrial facilities, projects, technical consulting, services, and promotion. The report recognized that the EDB’s core function should be the promotion of investment and that it should eventually hand over its financing activities to an industrial development bank.

An excerpt from “Lessons from East Asia” by Danny M. Leipziger.

Notably, the Singapore government had accepted the report’s recommendations. On 1 August 1961, the Economic Development Board (EDB) was established as a statutory board to plan and implement strategies for Singapore. The EDB was helmed by Hon Sui Sen, overseeing the industrialisation policies, particularly the development of the Jurong Industrial Estate.

The Jurong Project
The Report concluded that the development of industrial infrastructure was of paramount importance to Singapore’s growth and expansion of its manufacturing sector. Jurong was identified as a viable location for industrialisation, given its flat terrain and proximity to commercial port installations.

Jurong was the only waterfront area in Singapore that “possessed all the necessary conditions for development as an integrated town with the economic base centered around an industrial estate of considerable magnitude“. The Winsemius Report recommended establishing an integrated township that would consist of about 16,000 acres, significantly larger than the 9,000 acres a team of Japanese experts had proposed earlier.

An excerpt from “Infrastructure Strategies in East Asia: The Untold Story” by Ashoka Mody.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Winsemius Report was the fundamental cause of Singapore’s successful industrialisation policies.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about Paths to Economic Development in independent Southeast Asia. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning lessons that cover topical review, essay and source based case study skills development.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics Tuition, JC Chemistry Tuition, JC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.