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Roundtable on the 2030 Agenda: Revitalising Rural Malaysia

Revitalising Rural Malaysia

This roundtable aims to bring together the nation's decision-makers to focus on food security and rural development in the context of SDGs. It hopes to offer an overview of the current state of food security, status and welfare of rural communities, as well as strengths and vulnerabilities in the food sector.

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As a country that faces challenges in food self-sufficiency, Malaysia sits at a difficult crossroads in determining its priorities for agricultural and rural development.  In 2017, the Malaysian Department of Statistics (DOSM) released data that highlighted a decrease in Malaysia’s population employed in the agricultural sector (which includes crops, livestock and fisheries) by 8.2 percent from the previous year. The reasons for the downward trend in Malaysia’s agricultural employment are diverse, and could be a reflection of rapid urbanisation and shifting priorities in the labour market. However, this trend also highlights possible vulnerabilities in rural populations, who are the cornerstone of food production in the country. The Malaysian government cannot allow its rural population to fall by the wayside, nor risk the country’s food security while it seeks to grow other sectors. The rural population is particularly important to national development policy as it remains the social strata with the highest incidence of poverty at 1%, as compared to 0.2% for Malaysia’s urban population (EPU statistics, 2016).



  • The past in the future of rural development
  • Whither rural Malaysia?
  • Towards creating value chains and market linkages
  • Rethinking rural development for sustainability in Malaysia

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Wolfgang Hruschka †

A woman selling her goods in an open air market. Free stock photo from ASEAN Up -

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Institute for Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia