Past Events

Book Launch – The Malaysian Estates Staff Provident Fund 1947-2017

Penang Institute is proud to host the launch of The Malaysian Estates Staff Provident Fund, 1947–2017: Malaysia’s Oldest Provident Fund: With an Economic, Social and Political Perspective by Dato’ Jeyaraj C. Rajarao. The details are as follows:

Date: Saturday 4 August 2018
Time: 11.30am–1.00pm (Doors open at 11.00am)
Venue: Conference Hall 1, Penang Institute, No. 10 Jalan Brown, George Town, Penang

About the Book
In The Malaysian Estates Staff Provident Fund, 1947–2017: Malaysia’s Oldest Provident Fund: With an Economic, Social and Political Perspective, Dato’ Jeyaraj C. Rajarao provides a detailed and compelling account of the first provident fund established in Malaya through cooperation between plantation companies, the All Malayan Estates Staff Union and the then colonial government. The account situates the MESPF in the broader political, economic and social situation in colonial Malaya and later post-colonial Malaysia, highlighting a number of important themes:

  • 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

Written in an accessible and vigorous style, this book argues against the grain of the standard narrative of Malaysian history by stressing the importance of workers’ rights and protections, and the need to harmonise Malaysia’s multicultural society for progress and prosperity. It is a perspective that remains as important today as it did in 1947.

About the Author
Dato’ Jeyaraj C. Rajarao, born in Penang in 1932, was an undergraduate at the University of Malaya in Singapore and proceeded to the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, on a British Council Scholarship in October 1959. In 1960 he was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship though, after clashing with one of his supervisors, he resigned his scholarship and returned home in 1961. Despite the instructions of the Alliance government not to employ him, J.M.B. Hughes defiantly gave Rajarao a temporary teaching job at Penang Free School where he taught from 1962 to 1964. He was the assistant city secretary for George Town City Council in 1965, but had to leave in 1966 when the council was taken over by the Alliance. He then joined the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia where he retired in 1987 as head of the Publications, Library and Information Division. Rajarao continues to pursue his ideals of a just, fully democratic, harmonious and progressive Malaysia, and actively supports many events and undertakes various projects to ensure these ideals are realised.

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