ALL INDUSTRIALIZED countries have social welfare systems that have developed over many years in response to national perceptions of economic needs, political imperatives and the seriousness of social problems. As these perceptions have changed so governments have altered their policies, sometimes introducing new policies and sometimes adapting existing ones. Within each country these policy developments have formed the focus of academic enquiry and policy analysis. The papers, reproduced as chapters in this volume, were first presented at a meeting held in the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur during September 1998. Attended by academic researchers, civil servants and officials of NGOs, the meeting was itself one product of an ongoing relationship between the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of Birmingham, UK and those at the University of Malaya that had been involved with its Social Administration programmes.
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