Prince Amir Al Saud

Current Affairs: Socio-Economic and Political Development of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia

Current Affairs: Socio-Economic and Political Development of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia


Political, economic and social developments go hand in hand. Government leaders need to maintain political stability and freedom before promoting economic dynamism and social awareness. Innovation, communications and flexibility are equally important components. Three nations in Southeast Asia will be the focus of this treatise.



Malaysians have become more confident and empowered nowadays. Citizens of this country have become more urbanized and learned how to collaborate even in diversity. The youth and older generations have turned out to be more idealistic. With the help of information technology and social media, they have recognized the potentials of their native country and are now maximizing these opportunities. The old political system in Malaysia has moved to a higher dimension and this can bode well for the country.


During the last two decades, the Malaysian economic system evolved from a confined low-income provider of unrefined products to an upcoming multi-industry market economy. It is energized by electronic items and semi-conductors that comprise around 90 percent of its export commodities. The Commission on Growth and Development cited Malaysia because of its average economic growth of over seven percent for more than 25 years.


It launched the so-called New Economic Model or NEM as stepping stone for the country to attain high-income category by the year 2020. It includes reforms in the private sector and gears up the economy towards more value-added activities for services and multiple industries. Economic development has accelerated in the last five years. National progress heightened during the fourth quarter of 2014 at 5.8 percent year on year. However, the downside is this may generate decreasing focus on social parity which the government needs to deal with.



Singapore reached exceptional growth rates within the last 35 years. Aside from its strategic setting and positive external environment, the principal force of progress was attributed primarily to effective public sector governance. Some of the factors that contributed to Singapore’s economic advancement are exceptional savings rate, formidable budgetary position, hardworking and skilled labor force, and superb infrastructure.


Moreover, the Singaporean government managed to formulate economic targets, espoused the liberal market system and played a major role in regulating the country’s social structure. Government intervention was intended to ensure that market forces are in position. Singapore’s economic philosophy is to allow the free market system determine allocation of resources. The government has advanced planning. It is willing to heed the suggestions of private citizens.


This modern city-state is practically free from corruption that contributed to its impressive socio-economic performance. Singapore’s development model shows that it is feasible to bring together the free-private market with a dictatorial political. In spite of positive developments, challenges remain and Singapore must make sure to realize twin-digit gross domestic product growth rates. An ageing population, low total fertility rate and insufficient social protection for the elderly are just a few social challenges facing the country.


Some international political analysts say Singapore needs to implement political reforms. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong underscored its no-nonsense approach wherein the present government searches for effective solutions instead of relying on ideological assumptions. Of course, this will depend to a greater extent on the free market system’s efficiency.  The government hopes to arrive at a common agreement instead of discord between rich and poor, political beliefs and economic interests.




President Joko Widodo of Indonesia made the commitment to step up political and socio-economic reforms after he got rid of fuel subsidies worth $18 billion. Widodo’s administration also neutralized the political opposition in a divided parliament within the first three months of his rule.


He is the first businessman to steer the largest economy in Southeast Asia. President Widodo vowed to boost growth from a five-year slump, trim down poverty and redirect spending on fuel funding to the long- ignored infrastructure, education and health sectors. Mr. “Jokowi” (his moniker) announced he will make use of savings in fuel subsidy for investments in infrastructure programs. The Indonesian chief executive advocated absolute changes in the aviation industry after the ill-fated crash of the Air Asia commercial jet.


Indonesia has enormous economic potential which was noticed by the international community. Indonesia is said to be a likely candidate for membership in the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) because it has shown signs of advanced economic development. Indonesia is one of the countries with hopeful markets, diverse economies, fairly developed financial systems, and fast-growing populace.


Another upcoming alliance of nations has emerged with Indonesia as one of the founding members. These countries have formed themselves into a group called CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa). The group’s aggregate Gross Domestic Product is forecasted to account for ½ of the world economy by 2020. Among the robust points of Indonesia right now are practical fiscal management, political stability, reduced labor costs, and strategic location.

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