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Globalisation and Economic Insecurity: A Need for a New Social Policy in Malaysia

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The globalisation of economies offers new opportunities to both developed and developing countries in terms of promoting growth, improving income, and reducing poverty and inequality. However, it has also given rise to labour flexibility, wage depression, and eroded important elements of redistribution and weakened social protection systems. The 1997–1998 financial crisis in Southeast and Northeast Asia further exposed important limitations in the ability of such existing systems to cope with the crisis. This paper identifies new forms of economic insecurities generated by the renewed growth of labour flexibility as globalisation weakens the basis of social partnership and tripartism. It examines Malaysia's development experience, the impact of the crisis on workers' economic security, and assesses the adequacy of existing social protection programmes in its response to new types of economic insecurities generated by globalisation. It argues that these issues need to be addressed in formulating policies to ensure equitable social development in Malaysia in the future.


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