Mortality Differences Among Racial Communities in Peninsular Malaysia and Their Implications on Economically Active Life

by Abdul Majid Mat Salleh, Master of Arts in Demography (1976)

The question investigated in this study was whether there were differences in the levels of morality among racial communities in Peninsular Malaysia, and if so, whether these differences exerted considerable influence on their economically active life.

Patterns and trends in mortality indices in the post-World War II period were examined. It was discovered that the Chinese community had by far the lowest mortality level. From the early post-war years till-mid-1960’s, the mortality experience of the Malays was higher than that of the Indians. However, owing to a more rapid decline in mortality among the Malays, their mortality level was slightly lower than that of the Indians in the 1970.

Having established differences in the levels of mortality among the racial communities, the relationships between mortality and socio-economic and demographic factors were examined. The most reliable socio-economic indicators of mortality in Peninsular Malaysia were income, education and employment status. The demographic factor which had considerable influence on mortality was fertility.

Using tables of working life, the effects of mortality on the economically active life were examined. In the 1970, the Malay community experienced considerable gains in the length of working life through improvements in mortality. However, these gains were off-set by labor under-utilization, lower productivity and higher fertility.