Malaysia’s Policy Responses to the Panic of 1997: An Islamic Perspective

PhD Thesis

Shahar, M. 2021. Malaysia’s Policy Responses to the Panic of 1997: An Islamic Perspective. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Business and Law
AuthorsShahar, M.
TypePhD Thesis

This thesis explores the rationale behind the decisions of the Malaysian policymakers in response to the Panic of 1997, as Malaysia is the only country that had rejected the Washington Consensus while the rest of the crisis-affected countries pursued the orthodox policies. The thesis is to investigate whether the reasons behind the policy responses were due to adhering to the underlying principles of Shariah or mere political pragmatism.
Identified by the World Bank as a newly industrialising economy (NIE), Malaysia symbolises a developing country with an impressive growth rate in the last thirty years prior to the Panic of 1997. The transformation to a rapid economic growth in the 1980s and 1990s resulted from a change of policies regarding social and economic development. It was a widespread perception that the reason for Malaysia’s rejection of IMF’s involvement was primarily due to prevent any intervention in its existing social affirmative action policy known as the New Economic Policy (NEP). Concurrently, Prime Minister Mahathir’s strong advocation towards the Islamisation policy had also made a significant impact in the development of Malaysia’s policy framework.
The Washington Consensus via the IMF delegitimised the prevailing economic system in Southeast Asia by blaming the structural deficiencies in the financial and corporate sectors of the countries as the root cause of the Panic of 1997. The IMF believed that the Washington Consensus presents a model for institutional transformation. However, Malaysia had adopted the unorthodox capital control policy as a policy response, while the rest of the crisis-affected countries had accepted the Washington Consensus. The thesis adopts a historical institutional analysis in explaining the significance of the Islamisation policy and the importance of upholding the NEP and the likely impact of its reversal or revocation.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
Online19 Jul 2021
Publication process dates
SubmittedApr 2021
Deposited19 Jul 2021
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