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Towards sustainable development? The evolution of environmental policy in Malaysia

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Abstract

Over the last five decades, Malaysia has undergone rapid economic, social and environmental change, a process which is still continuing. The pursuit of socio-economic progress has been accompanied by an unprecedented rate of change in the natural environment. In parallel to this development, governmental responses have also adapted over time to address emerging environmental situations. This article views the recent history of Malaysia's evolving policy response to development needs and environmental change as consisting of four distinct stages. Despite an impressive array of policy statements and strategies to implement sustainable development, many challenges remain today. A clear articulation of normative principles of sustainable development is of paramount importance, as is the monumental task of policy implementation. The article argues that the trajectory of Malaysia's policy on natural resources and environmental issues bears the characteristics of path-dependent evolution.
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Keywords: Environmental law; Environmental policy; Malaysia; Path-dependency; Sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: A. A. Hezri is Asian Public Intellectual Fellow, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, The Australian National University., Email: [email protected] 2: Mohd. Nordin Hasan is Emeritus Professor and Fellow, Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM)., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 February 2006

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