• Malaysia’s policy in relation to regional and
international affairs has as its focus the
creation of peace and harmony.
• A country can achieve peace and harmony
through co-operation in economic, social
and political activities .
• Although misunderstanding can exist among
member countries of an organization, a
solution can be quickly decided.
• Hence, any dispute can be solved, especially
• The Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) was formed in Bangkok in 1967 with the
signing of the Bangkok Declaration.
• It started with 5 original member nations – Malaysia,
Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia.
• Aims at improving co-operation among the member
nations in economic, social, cultural, educational,
technological and administrative matters.
• ASEAN is not a military alliance like NATO.
• Consequently, ASEAN does not involve itself in the
internal affairs or politics of its member nations.
• If a conflict in a member nation is serious enough to
threaten the stability and security of the region,
ASEAN will act – through discussion or consultation.
• ASEAN takes the view that regional problems can be
settled by the region itself without the intervention of
the big powers.
• Was emphasized in the Kuala Lumpur Proclamation
(1971) through an agreement to create a Zone of
Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN).
• Now ASEAN has 10 member nations – Brunei,
Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
• Rapid development of ASEAN had attracted the
interest of the major powers in the world.
• The United States, for instance, was uneasy over
Vietnam’s participation in the grouping.
• However, Myanmar’s admission into ASEAN that
received greatest criticism.
• Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) (1989)
goal is to achieve free and open trade and
investment no later than 2010 for developed
countries and no later than 2020 for developing
• East Asia Economic Caucus (EAEC)/Lingkungan
Ekonomi Asia Timur, is one of the ASEAN
programmes proposed by Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin
Mohamad (1990) as a consultative forum to discuss
common economic problems.
• The ASEAN countries should stand united to
overcome whatever economic, social and political
problems they may encounter, and not be unduly
influenced by the big powers.
The Organisation of Islamic
• The OIC was established in Morocco in 1969 with
the aim of fostering economic, social and political
cooperation among member countries.
• It also seeks to strengthen friendship among Islamic
• Tunku Abdul Rahman was selected as the OIC first
• In education, Malaysia received the cooperation of
several OIC countries to build the International
Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in K.L.
• The Malaysian government has also offered
scholarships to Islamic students from Bosnia,
Albania, Nigeria and other countries at the IIUM.
• The Islamic Development Bank was set up
under the patronage of the OIC.
• To help poor Islamic countries, Malaysia has
extended technical and economic assistance
to countries like Mali and the Maldives.
• Malaysia demonstrated serious commitment
over the Bosnia-Herzegovina issue by
playing host to a meeting of concerned OIC
group in K.L. (Sept. 1995).
The Commonwealth is an organisation made up of
Britain and its former colonies.
There are now 54 countries in the organisation.
These countries which share the same colonial past
have a special diplomatic relationship among
The Commonwealth does not have an official charter
or constitution, and this enables member countries to
act freely in their own internal or external affairs.
Although Queen Elizabeth of England is the head of
the Commonwealth, she has no political power over
the member countries.
• As a member of the Commonwealth, Malaysia has
benefited from a defence treaty with Britain.
• Known as the British-Malayan Defence Treaty, was
signed in 1957.
• Britain agreed to defend Malaya and Singapore in
the event of enemy attack.
• When the treaty was abolished in 1968, a new fivepower defence treaty was signed among Malaysia,
Britain, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
• A plan was drawn up to encourage developed
Commonwealth countries to help fellow member
countries that are poor and needed aid – Colombo
• This programme extended aid in the form of
educational, technical and financial assistance.
The Commonwealth also has a Commonwealth
education scholarship fund.
Under this programme, Malaysian students
studying in Commonwealth countries can have
access to this fund.
Malaysia played host to a Commonwealth Heads
of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 1989.
Two important declarations were passed:
Kuala Lumpur Declaration
Through Kuala Lumpur Declaration, the member
countries resolved to put an end to the Apartheid
Policy of the South African regime.
As a result, the policy was finally abolished in 1994
– Nelson Mandela became the President.
The United Nations Organisation
The UN was set up in 1945 in San Francisco,
• The main objectives of the UN are to preserve
world peace and security, to encourage social,
economic and cultural cooperation among the
nations of the world, and to protect the basic rights
of the people regardless of race, religion and
• Malaysia joined the UN as soon as it obtained its
• Among its contributions is its participation in peacekeeping missions:
i. Congo in 1960
ii. Iran-Iraq border in 1988
iii. Namibia in 1989
Malaysia plays an active role in fighting for the
rights of the people of Palestine.
It has organized an international conference about
the Palestine issue in K.L.
Malaysia was a non-permanent member of the UN
Security Council in 1965 and 1989.
Malaysian leaders also made the name of the
country renowned in the UN:
i. Former PM was selected to head the Conference
on Drug Abuse in Austria in 1987.
ii. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was appointed to head
the UNESCO in 1989.
iii. Tan Sri Musa Hitam was appointed chairman of the
UN committee on Fundamental Rights in 1995.
Malaysia is also a member of the World bank.