In the last five decades, Malaysia has experienced a rapid structural transformation, shifting from a predominantly pre-industrial agro-based society to a thriving economy with diverse sectors and industries. The ensuing economic growth has remained consistent, enhancing living standards – with mean monthly household expenditures for Malaysians increasing from 877 USD in 2014 to USD 989 in 2016, a nominal growth rate of 6 percent per annum according to Malaysia’s Department of Statistics. Residents also enjoy the third highest GDP per capita in ASEAN Region, behind the high-income countries of Singapore and the Kingdom of Brunei.
However, Malaysia’s meteoric rise and the unique challenges it faces are symbolic of many formerly pre-industrial nations in transition. As disposable incomes surge, so do worrying levels of overconsumption and waste. Government agencies are actively monitoring the status of waste production in the country, especially as it relates to food. In 2016, the State determined that 15 000 tonnes of organic waste is produced daily, 3000 tonnes of which was estimated to be food fit for human consumption. Annually, that food waste translates to almost 1.1 million tonnes, on par, for population size, with smaller European countries. (more…)