1st Edition

The United States and the Malaysian Economy

By Shakila Yacob Copyright 2008
    272 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the relationship between the United States and the Malaysian economy, concentrating on the period 1870 to 1957, with particular focus on trade flows and foreign direct investment.

    This is the first book to examine, in depth, US economic involvement in colonial Malaya. Exploring the relationship between the United States and the Malayan/Malaysian economy, the book concentrates on the period 1870 to 1957, with particular focus on trade flows and foreign direct investment. It surveys the reasons behind the levels of US trade and investment, and considers the impact of the presence of both British governments and businesses on the US-Malayan relationship.

    The book goes on to examine the impact of US trade and investment on Malaya, with detailed analysis of the cases of three important US inward investors: Yukon Gold Company, United States Rubber Company, and Ford Motor Company. The author argues that the British colonial presence provided an infrastructure that facilitated US trade and FDI flows with Malaya, although on occasion restrictive policies followed by the colonial government diverted US FDI flows elsewhere. However, US FDI and trade remained constrained by Malaya’s status as a low income developing country with little potential for market-oriented manufacturing investment. Nonetheless, it demonstrates that US trade and FDI had a positive impact on the Malayan economy through flows of organisational and technological capabilities. An epilogue brings the story up to date for contemporary US-Malaysian economic relations.

    Overall, this book is an insightful and highly original account of the part played by US trade and investment in Malaya’s economic development.

    1. Introduction: The US, Colonial Rule and the Malayan Economy. 2. US and Malaya Connections: 1870-1918. 3. Strengthening Ties, 1919-1957. 4. Mining: Yukon Gold to Pacific Tin. 5. Plantation: United States Rubber Company. 6. Taking the High Road: Ford Malaya. 7. Conclusion: Counting the Cost. 8. Epilogue: The Future Looks Bright


    Shakila Yacob is Associate Professor in the Department of History, University of Malaya, and Deputy Director of the International Institute of Public Policy and Management. Her research interests are in the areas of international business and business history.

    "This book, by providing an excellent examination of US-Malayan economic ties from 1870 to 1957, represents a substantial contribution to the dearth of scholarship on the relationship. It is also valuable in that it focuses on economic relations, unlike earlier studies that have concentrated on the political and security aspects... The book gives a very good analytical account of the US-Malayan economic relationship in the period covered." - Pamela Sodhy, Georgetown University, The Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Volume 41/3, October 2010