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Lecture 2: Dasar Luar Tunku Abdul Rahman What is Foreign Policy?

Nature how we conduct relations with state actors and non-state actors.

Who are the state actors?

All independent states.

Who are the non-state actors?

IOs MNCs NGOs Liberation Movement

What re the objectives of FP?

Protection of national interest? Are national interests the same for all countries?

What are the interests that are common to all?

To protect ones independence, territorial integrity & sovereignty; To protect ones economic well being; To protect ones principle, ideology and belief.

That is why when a country achieves its independence it would immediately apply for UN membership.

To gain recognition of its existence as an independent and sovereign state. To show commitment to the UN Charter: to maintain intl peace and security; suppression of acts of aggression; pacific settlement of dispute; promotion of econ growth and social progress.

Malaysia achieved its independence on 31/8/1957. Political scenario then:

World divided into 2 Blocs; Cold War at its height; Superpowers did not fight each other. They use proxies. In Asia?

China fell to the Communist in 1949. Believe in exporting the Communist ideology especially to SEA. Who were their agents? Communists trying to expand Communism throughout the world and in South East Asia eg. Vietnam War.

Situation became more threatening to Malaysia. Why?

In 1957, out of a population of 6.2M , 3.2M were Chinese. Majority were not Malaysian citizens; Internal security threatened by armed insurrection waged by the CPM. Who were the supporters of the CPM internally/externally? Malaysia did not have a proper defence force: 9 battalions of land soldiers, no air force, no naval force.

What were the options then: many but we must remember Malaysia has to defend its national interest!!

Sought for British defence umbrella through AMDA; Confluence of interest between Britain and Malaysia. Why? For Britain : Economic; Strategic interest. For Malaysia: Economic, strategic planning, pragmatism.

Could Malaysia afford to break its ties with UK and its Allies?

Have to fight internal communist threat; Have to face a bigger threat from PRC; Have to maintain economic prosperity.

Stance of Malaysia FP was pro West. Manifestation?

AMDA allying Msia with the West in the E-W Conflict; adjunct to SEATO; Membership of the Commonwealth; Anti Communist at home and in FP. Manifestation? Diplomatic relations, position taken on EW conflict eg Tibet, Sino-India War, Vietnam War etc. We have seen the internal and external factors in contributing to Msias FP. What is the other contributing factor?

Ideosyncratic. Personality of the Tunku? Conservative/pragmatic/imbued with Western intellectual and political liberalism.

Besides being pro West what were the other characteristics of Tunkus FP

Experimented with regionalism.1960 initiated SEA Cultural and Econ Cooperation -ASA. Who were the members of ASA. What about the participation of Indonesia? End of ASA. Establishment of ASEAN. What made ASEAN tick?

Universal cause:

Anti-Apartheid: S.Africa, 1960 White Australian Policy. Islamic Commonwealth. Tried to mediate the Irian Barat dispute.

3rd World interest.


Konfrontasi & formation of Malaysia

Indonesia: Neokolim, bigbrotherism. Philippines: Claim on Sabah.

Lessons from Konfrontasi

SEA countries need to know and understand each other. Msia cannot put its egg in one basket the West & Britain. Indonesia must play its regional role.


Statements by Tunku on his pro West and anti China policy. Faktor Penyumbang Ciri ciri dasar luar. Ada cirri ciri regionalism & 3rdWorldism.


Abdullah Ahmad (1985), Tengku Abdul Rahman& Malaysias Foreign Policy 1963-1970, Berita Publishing, K. Lumpur. RuhanasHarun (ed.) (2006), Malaysias Foreign Relations: Issues and Challenges, University of Malaya Press. J. Saravanamuttu (1983), The Dilemma of Independence: Two Decades of Malaysias Foreign Policy, 1957-1977, USM School of Social Sciences, Penang.