ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Impact of Smallholders in Colonial South East Asia

Contract Labour in Rubber Plantations

The rubber boom in colonial south-east Asia was followed by the arrival in increasing numbers of indentured labour from other colonised areas, mainly India, to serve in the larger-scale plantations. Despite the gradual abolition of indentured labour, the contract system that took its place, perpetuated the workers' exploitation, albeit in a different manner. Free labour would arrive only with independence. Independence would also see the formation of the first labour organisations, the end of long-distance recruitment and also released the long-suffering smallholder from any restraints on production and land use.



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