Economic Background of Malaysia
As one of three countries that control the Strait of Malacca, international trade plays a large role in its economy. The Malay Peninsula and indeed Southeast Asia has been a center for trade for centuries. All the trade in the Straits, and especially the spices from the Celebes and the Moluccas, moved under its protection and through its markets. In the 17th century, porcelain and spices were found in several Malay states and were actively traded. Large deposits of tin were found in several Malay states. Later, as the British started to take over as administrators of Malaya, rubber and palm oil trees were introduced for commercial purposes. Over time, Malaya became the world's largest producer of tin, rubber, and palm oil. These three commodities along with other raw materials, sawn logs and sawn timber, cocoa, pepper, pineapple and tobacco, firmly set Malaysia's economic tempo well into the mid-20th century dominate the growth of the sector. Tin and petroleum are the two main mineral resources that are of major significance in the Malaysian economy. Malaysia was once the world's largest producer of tin until the collapse of the tin market in the early 1980s. It was only in 1972 that petroleum and natural gas took over from tin as the mainstay of the mineral extraction sector. Other minerals of some importance or significance include copper, bauxite, iron-ore and coal together with industrial minerals like clay, kaolin, silica, limestone, barite, phosphates and dimension stones such as granite as well as marble blocks and slabs. Small quantities of gold are produced. Manufacturing has a large influence in the country's economy. Malaysia today is a middle-income country with a multi-sector economy based on services and manufacturing Malaysia is one of the world's largest exporters of semiconductor components and devices, electrical goods, solar panels, and information and communication technology (ICT) products. High levels of...
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