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Dis3113 bilateral relations with neighboring countries

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Dis3113 bilateral relations with neighboring countries

  1. 1. Malaysia’s foreign relations Bilateral relations with neighboring countries
  2. 2. Questions to ask • What theoretical perspective (s) to frame the discussion? • What is Malaysia’s policy towards a particular country in the region? • What are the factors shaping the relationship? • What are the major issues involved? • What kind of bilateral cooperation ?
  3. 3. Malaysia-Indonesia relations • How to describe Malaysia-Indonesia relations? CHARACTERISED BY CONFLICT AND COOPERATION • What are the factors shaping their relationship? Geography • History • Commonalities • Personalities/ leadership • External factors
  4. 4. History : commonality & divergence • SHARED HISTORY: BEFORE COMING OF EUROPEAN COLONIALISM, THE TWO AREAS HAD SHARED HISTORY • European colonialism marked the beginning of their separate ways.
  5. 5. ethnic & cultural affinities • Concept of ‘keserumpunan’ : similarities in traditions, culture, language, religion etc. • Familiarity with each other’s culture helped facilitate closer relationship among peoples of both countries
  6. 6. Differences • There are differences between Malaysia and Indonesia : • Different vision of nation-building & its objectives & philosophy • Power relations and ambitions differ : Indonesia a pivot nation, Malaysia , smaller, developmental state
  7. 7. SPECIAL RELATIONS? • Is Malaysia-Indonesia relations special? • Yes, by virtue of those commonalities, similarities. • but mindful of the differences , own distinct identities. • Conflict : only one in modern time : konfrontasi, both countries chose not to remember it for their own domestic reasons.
  8. 8. Current Major issues in bilateral relations • There are areas of potential conflicts : migrant workers, territorial and maritime dispute, cultural heritage
  9. 9. Areas of cooperation • Security and defence • Economic • Socio-cultural • Political and economic cooperation enhanced through ASEAN.
  10. 10. Relations with Singapore • By and large, relations shaped more by domestic factors than external • geographical proximity, • history, • socio-cultural affinities, • economic interdependence, • similarities in political system.
  11. 11. Why merger in 1963? • Lee Kuan Yew, May 1963 argued that “ the political, economic and military reasons are so compelling that we would be committing national suicide if we refuse to merge in Malaysia.” • LKY also declared that the first pre-condition for the success of Malaysia was “national unity of all the races comprising Malaysia with undivided loyalty to the elected Central Government of Malaysia.” • So what happened?
  12. 12. Why the separation? • Why did Kuala Lumpur decided to “evict” / expel Singapore out of Malaysia? • Tunku spoke in Parliament on 9 August 1965 of “ a State Government that has ceased to give even a measure of loyalty to the Central Government.
  13. 13. Reasons why KL , S’pore didn’t get along • Nordin Sophiee gave several reasons: • 1. Economic & financial issues unresolved • 2. Different ideological temperament : unsuited to each other • 3. Political behaviour of PAP & Alliance leaders—causing verbal dogfight • 4. Singapore’s excessive sense of self- importance & importance of its role in M’sia
  14. 14. Characterizing M-S relations • acrimonious in the beginning, • Tunku’s description : “cat and dog” relationship, others : divorced couple syndrome, “gila talak”, Siamese twins etc. • But relations evolved to become closer.
  15. 15. Issues in M-S relations • Earlier issues surrounding merger & separation dissipated, replaced by other more practical concerns • Water , KTM land CIQ facilities. • Pulau Batu Putih • CPF, SAF use of Malaysian airspace • Interference in domestic politics
  16. 16. Towards better relations after Dr M • Dr M: “ I’m very glad that the problems I have created have been relegated to the background”. • New approach, CBMs on both sides • Politically there are ups and downs but economic relations remain strong. • Increase security & defence cooperation
  17. 17. Relations with Vietnam • Relations began in 1957 with Republic of Vietnam ( South Vietnam), with Democratic Republic of Vietnam ( North Vietnam) in 1973. • Early relations ( with SV) based on support for anti communist regime , Malaysia supported US in the VN war. • Relations with DRVN/ SRVN in the context of non-aligned, independent foreign policy
  18. 18. Why support for South VN? • Malaysia’s fear of China (Chinese) threat, under Tunku, support for US policy of containment of China, pro West FP • Malaysia’s anti-communist stand, bitter experience with communist insurgency at home
  19. 19. Relations with North Vietnam • March 30, 1973-Malaysia & DRVN established diplomatic relations, agreed to “ develop friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of peaceful co-existence, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of each other, equality and mutual advantage.” • Mission set up only in 1976.
  20. 20. Development & evolution after 1975 • assistance to VN in its post war reconstruction efforts • Exchange of visits to promote bilateral relations. • But there were political differences : ZPOFAN, ASEAN . • Despite political differences, both countries avoided confrontation
  21. 21. Issues in bilateral relations • 1. Refugee problem :first batch of “boat people “ arrived in Malaysia May 1973. • By end of 1977 Malaysia became top receiver of refugees —classified as “illegal immigrants” • Refugees created problems in the country, also caused Malaysia external difficulties
  22. 22. Issues ( cont.) • 2. suspicion of Hanoi’s support for CPM • No evidence of direct, strong connection, but exchanges of messages, broadcast by Suara Revolusi Malaya on activities on CPM & CPV • Hanoi valued its cordial relations with Malaysia , would not jeopardize it with support for CPM, esp. CPM was pro-China.
  23. 23. Issues ( cont.) • 3. ZOPFAN –did not gain support of VN • VN described it as” an attempt to paint the same neo-colonial edifice with a different color”, • Suspicious of ASEAN close relations with US
  24. 24. issues • 4. Cambodia : Malaysia alarmed at VN invasion of Cambodia end of 1978 • Halted many diplomatic events business projects between M & VN, • Relations back to mutual distrust , suspicion especially over Hanoi’s regional intention & refugee problem. • Deterioration of relations from 1980 to 1986 over Cambodia
  25. 25. Other issues • Spratlys ( Truong Sa) islands —not a new issue, but surfaced in 1980 • VN occupied Amboyna Cay in 1977, Malaysia published new official map Jan 1980. • Malaysia occupied Swallow reef, ( Terumbu Layang2) ,60km of Amboyna Cay. • Despite claims, accusations, protests against each other, Malaysia & VN did not go to war over Spratlys
  26. 26. Improved relations • Due to several factors: • 1986 introduction of Doi moi . • End of Cold War 1990, • settlement of Cambodian conflict • Vietnam joined ASEAN in 1995.
  27. 27. Post doi moi relations • Increased its economic, trade presence in VN since doi moi, one of top investors • Increased cooperation within ASEAN framework • M-VN relations not burdened by historical or socio-cultural baggages, unlike that of Malaysia’s relations with Singapore or with Indonesia
  28. 28. readings • Abdullah Ahmad (1985) Tengku Abdul Rahman’s Foreign Policy. • Danny Wong Tze Ken (1995) Vietnam-Malaysia relations during the Cold War. • Jatswan S Sidhu ‘ Whither Malaysia-Singapore Relations ‘ in Ruhanas Harun (2006) (ed.) Malaysia’s Foreign Relations : KL , Penerbit Universiti Malaya • Johan Saravanamuttu (2010) Fifty Years of Foreign Policy. • Mohamed Nordin Sopiee ( 1974) From Malayan Union to Singapore separation : KL, University of Malaya Press • Ruhanas Harun ( 2006) (ed.) Malaysia’s Foreign Relations : KL , Penerbit Universiti Malaya

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