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HIDDEN DISCIPLINES IN MALAYSIA: THE ROLE OF BUSINESS HISTORY IN A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY FRAMEWORK

Authors

  • Shakila Yacob

    1. University of Malaya
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      This paper has benefited considerably from comments by Geoffrey Jones, Mira Wilkins, Mark Casson, Nicholas White, Lee Poh Ping, Jason Loh, Eugene Arthurs, and Greg Sibley. An earlier version was presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Economic and Business Historical Society. I am grateful for the constructive comments by anonymous reviewers and to Stephen Morgan for his advice and comments.


Abstract

Business history plays a crucial role in the understanding of the history and socioeconomic development of Malaysia. This paper analyses that role through an assessment of the most relevant colonial, post-colonial, and contemporary literature. Malaysian business history adopts a multidisciplinary approach, which has the potential to propel the discipline to address potentially sensitive political issues in Malaysia, though in the past business history's assimilation into other disciplines has discouraged, with notable exceptions, its potential to explore sensitive topics. In conclusion, the paper outlines the challenges faced by Malaysian business history academics and argues for extending the discipline's boundaries.

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