Malaysia today appears to be in a different conundrum than it was 40 years ago. In the 1970s there was surplus labour with masses living in rural areas undertaking subsistence farming. The most telling sign of underdevelopment was chronic unemployment and underemployment.
Three decades later, both underemployment and unemployment have virtually disappeared with more jobs than people. Malaysia currently faces shortage of semi-skilled and skilled labour across almost all sectors. Agricultural land sits idle with growing numbers of immigrant workers playing an increasing role in Malaysian agriculture, household services and manufacturing sectors.