In this book, Jerayaj C. Rajarao provides a detailed and compelling account of the first provident fund established in Malaya through co-operation between plantation companies, the All Malayan Estates Staff Union and the then colonial government of Malaya. This account also:
- situates the MESPF in the broader political, economic and social situation in colonial and post-colonial Malaya and later Malaysia,
- highlighting the impact of colonial capitalism and labour regulation,
- the importance of immigration,
- the growth of state intervention in the economy, transformations in the plantation industry
- the impacts of global financial crises on the MESPF.
As the first history of MESPF, The Malaysian Estates Staff Provident Fund 1947–2017, also offers a systematic account of its development, tracing its growth and expansion alongside the rubber and oil palm industries that have been so crucial to the Malaysian economy.
In lucid, vigorous and expressive prose Dato’ Jeyaraj C. Rajarao fills the gap on an important topic that has long eluded Malaysian historiography: the origin and development of the MESPF. Hiscontribution is of immense value to understand and interpret the meager wages paid to plantation workers and retirement security provided to the working class both during the colonial and postcolonial period. Not surprisingly, the system continues to persist in 21st Century Malaysia.
Dr. V. Selvaratnam
Former Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics & Public Administration, University of Malaya & Higher Education Specialist, World Bank
An absorbing read especially for the younger generation kept uninformed or misinformed about an important part of Malaysia’s history because it does not synch with the official history or the versions written or approved by the victors. Although focused on the MESPF, a relatively minor actor on the nation’s economic stage, Rajarao provides a succinct overview and a stimulating analysis of how colonial and post-independence governments have been exploitative of labour rights and engaged in pro-capital policies to further their political agendas.
Dr. Lim Teck Ghee
Former Professor at University of Malaya, and Regional Advisor on poverty alleviation and social integration for the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific; presently a Senior Social Specialist with the Environment and Social Development Sector Unit of the World Bank.