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Development of a country is a significant marker of the successful planning and implementation of policies by the government. It also shows the government’s ability to manage the country’s resource and wealth efficiently and effectively. The study on development has shown that the underlying perspectives that dominate the discussions on economics also determine the meaning and indicators for development. This article discusses the two central actors in development by looking at the relationship between state and NGOs in a Muslim majority society i.e. Malaysia. It looks at the pattern of the relationship through the political space allowed for NGOs to operate. An analysis on this suggests that political orientation of the NGOs and importance of state political survival shape the pattern of state-NGO relationship especially during the era of the government under Barisan Nasional (BN). This article argues that despite the legalistic and restrictive structure imposed on NGOs to mobilise, they are still considered the best partners for the government in meeting the goals of state development agenda.
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