Defining Boundaries: Towards an Identity of The Malaysian Third Sector

  • Nur Azam Anuarul Perai Azman Hashim International Business School, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Malaysia
Keywords: third sector, non-governmental organisations, nonprofit organisations, cooperatives


Reviews of the literature suggest the Malaysian third sector lacks basic descriptive information. Research on what makes up the sector is scarce, indicating little effort was undertaken to define and identify its components from the Malaysian perspective. This paper proposes the scope of the Malaysian third sector by suggesting its boundaries and identifying the constituents. Inclusion was based on the structural-operational definition of third sector organisations developed by Salamon and Anheier (1992, 1996) and the primary basis for exclusion is distribution of profits to shareholders and promoters. It is proposed that social, voluntary, non-governmental and nonprofit organisations make up the Malaysian third sector, while state linked organisations and profit-distributing organisations such as cooperatives and social enterprises are excluded. Knowing the third sector’s boundaries and constituents would allow more focussed research to be undertaken; enabling actors, researchers, and policymakers to identify issues and develop policies and strategies to address them.


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How to Cite
Perai, N. A. (2021) “Defining Boundaries: Towards an Identity of The Malaysian Third Sector”, Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH), 6(11), pp. 259 - 272. doi: 10.47405/mjssh.v6i11.1130.