40 years of spatial demographic changes: Racial segregation in peninsular Malaysia

Nur Faziera Yaakub, Tarmiji Masron


The implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP) had taken place in peninsular Malaysia for 20 years (1970-1990). It was formulated as a social re-engineering in the aftermath of the 13th of May 1969 Incident. The NEP was “as simple as two eyes” because it targeted to eradicate poverty and at the same time to restructure society in order to eliminate the identification of race with economic function. The objectives reflected that the NEP was focusing on demographic aspects, particularly targeted at eyeing the division of races based on economic function. In conjunction with that, this article aims to study the changes in racial segregation in peninsular Malaysia from 1980 until 2010. To strengthen the findings, this article introduces spatial elements to geo-visualize the long-term changes in the spatial pattern of racial segregation in peninsular Malaysia. In terms of statistical analysis, racial segregation was calculated by using the Entropy Index. In the course of spatial analysis, the results were then being mapped by applying Geographic Information Systems (GIS) according to each district in peninsular Malaysia. Generally, the results divulge that from the year 1980 to 2010, districts in peninsular Malaysia experienced medium segregation of H value between 0.6144-0.7339. However, in detail, the value varied across each district. It was observed that the majority of districts on the East Coast experienced a high degree of racial segregation compared to the majority of districts on the West Coast.

Keywords: Entropy index, geographic information systems, new economic policy, race, spatial demography and segregation


Entropy Index; Geographic Information Systems; New Economic Policy; race; segregation and spatial demography

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