ECONOMY: AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, LIVESTOCK AND FISHING
Practiced on less than a quarter of the territory of Malaysia, agriculture agriculture plays an important role in the national economy; although the share of employees is not relatively high, productivity is now considerable and is divided into two sectors: a large sector destined for subsistence, but increasingly modern in its structures and management, and the set of productions destined for industrial transformation or export. The base of the local diet is rice, grown in particular in the north-eastern area of Peninsular Malaysia. The other main food crops are those of cassava, bananas and other tropical fruits, especially pineapple, then sweet potatoes, vegetables etc.; along the coasts the coconut palm thrives. On the other hand, the cultivation of the oil palm nut is very important for commercial purposes, which, introduced on a large scale only in recent times, places Malaysia at the top of the world among producing countries. They also grow peanuts, tobacco, tea, coffee, cocoa (of which Malaysia is the second largest Asian producer), sugar cane, pepper (in Sarawak), etc. The dense forest mantle, which covers the territory, is one of the most important sources of income for the country. Dense forests, including dye, resin, cabinet-making and bamboo trees cover the middle belt of the Malacca peninsula and almost the entire territory of Sabah and Sarawak, fueling a thriving industry. Rubber processing is also important: introduced in colonial times, it occupies a significant weight in the economy of Malaysia. and that it is the third largest producer in the world. § Breeding has little importance, also due to the limited extension of land suitable for grazing; pigs and above all poultry predominate, while cattle and buffaloes are present in more limited numbers; in the rice-growing areas it is frequent the breeding of buffaloes, employed in the work of the fields. § Fishing is a very widespread activity: traditional is that of sea cucumbers which, dried and smoked, make up the trepang, very popular food in the Far East. The fish richness of the Malaysian seas and the modernization of the fishing fleet have also increased the production of the catch.
ECONOMY: INDUSTRY AND MINERAL RESOURCES
There are also huge mineral resources, which have always been a fundamental voice in the production of national wealth. However, the traditional importance of tin has been reduced: the crisis of this product recorded worldwide and the depletion of some fields have marked, in fact, a significant contraction in production. The main fields are located in Perak and near Kuala Lumpur; other minors occur in Johor and Pahang. However, the metallurgical processing of tin and important by-products (columbite and ilmenite) is always noteworthy. Despite the decline, Malaysia still remains the third Asian producer of tin (seventh worldwide) and third overall of foundry tin. Iron ore, bauxite, gold, manganese, tungsten, copper, coal (in Sabah), phosphates and antimony (in Sarawak) follow. Oil and natural gas have a great importance in the national economy, thanks to the presence of rich offshore fieldsboth off the northeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia and off the coast of Sarawak and Sabah. While the good oil availability also contributes to increasing the production of electricity of thermal origin, making the country self-sufficient in terms of energy, the exploitation of the rich liquefied natural gas fields in the Bintulu complex (Sarawak) makes Malaysia the second Asian exporter, thanks to the growing demand from countries such as Japan and Korea. Furthermore, among the objectives of the development plans, there is also the research and diffusion of alternative and renewable energy sources.
According to allcountrylist, Malaysia has successfully invested in the diversification process of economy to free itself above all from the condition of reservoir (lasting from the period of colonial domination) of raw materials destined for industrialized countries. That setting also characterized the country’s industrial structure until the mid-1980s, destined for initial processing (as in the case of mineral products and rubber) or at most for the production of semi-finished products. Only following the intense planning efforts by the authorities, has there been the birth of a more varied range of local productions, mostly destined for export or re-export of products; there is also no shortage of consumer goods industries aimed at the local population. It is in the direction of this reconversion of the industrial apparatus that it has been oriented, in large part, the strong flow of foreign investments, with the general result of a strong increase in the weight of the secondary sector, which in 2006 employed a third of the active population, contributing practically to half of GDP. If the previous economic organization had conditioned some strategic choices in the direction of the development of the classic sectors (tin refining plants and the tire industry), the presence of iron has allowed the birth and strengthening of shipbuilding and mechanical production (railway, automotive), while the growing economic weight of oil, its derivatives and natural gas has significantly characterized the national economy in the years of expansion of the secondary sector. To these sectors must also be added the agri-food, textile, chemical, construction sectors, mainly active in the domestic market. Subsequently, the electronic sector also found development, oriented towards exports above all as a result of foreign investments, in particular Japanese, which have decentralized part of the national productions: Malaysia is the leading country in the world for the manufacture of radios, as well as among the major television manufacturers, although it is the semiconductor and other computer components industry that is truly fundamental. Investments in this sector are huge: next to the industrial area located in the state of Pulau Pinang (an island located on the northwestern coast of the Malacca peninsula).