Path Dependent Development of Indian Plantation Labourers in Malaysia: Unfolding the Historical Events in Understanding their Socioeconomic Problems

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Sivagami Arokiam Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja

Abstract




Given the path-dependent nature of development, it is instructive that one tracks the historical pathways and the multiple moments in time to explain the past events that resulted in the present socioeconomic state of the Indian plantation workers in Malaysia. This study aims to unfold the historical events of the Indian plantation labourers from the colonial periods until the 1990s that were instrumental in understanding the Indian socioeconomic conditions. In doing so, the narrative was build based on different development stages and the governing environment in which the Indian plantation labourers were positioned. The narrative can capture the dynamics of historical events that lead to the socioeconomic problems of plantation workers. The evidence shows that the historically prolonged neglect has contributed to the challenging socioeconomic conditions of plantation workers, which were path-dependent. Indeed, the fate of plantation workers has not changed despite the takeover of plantation estates through state intervention. The rentier politics undermined the long-term socioeconomic progress of the Indian workers. Besides, the socioeconomic situation of the workers was further impacted by the closure of estates and the influx of foreign workers, which has consequently led to forced migration to cities. Historically, the institutional role was limited to uplifting the Indian plantation labourers. The legacy continued during the 1990s and 2000s and marginalised the ignored Indians, i.e., the plantation labourers. The persistent institutional failures left no room for changes which resulted in the socioeconomic inequality of plantation workers.




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How to Cite
AROKIAM, Sivagami; RAJA, Sivachandralingam Sundara. Path Dependent Development of Indian Plantation Labourers in Malaysia: Unfolding the Historical Events in Understanding their Socioeconomic Problems. Institutions and Economies, [S.l.], p. 79-102, aug. 2019. ISSN 2232-1349. Available at: <https://ijie.um.edu.my/article/view/19663>. Date accessed: 20 sep. 2019.
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