COLLEGE OF LAW, GOVERNMENT AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
MALAYSIAN FOREIGN POLICY
GIVE AN EXPLANATION ON NATIONAL INTEREST. EXAMINE AND ANALYSE MALAYA’S AND MALAYSIA’S NATIONAL INTEREST BETWEEN 1957 AND 1980.
04TH MARCH 2010
The national interest often referred to by the French term raison d’état, is a country’s goals and ambition whether economic, military or cultural. The notion is an important one in international relations where pursuit of the national interest is the foundation of the realist school. The national interest of a state is multi faced. Primary is the states survival and security. Also important is the pursuit of wealth and economic growth and power. Many states, especially in modern times, regard the preservation of the nation’s culture as of great importance.
It is also undeniable that the national interest of a state is interrelated to the states internal situation and most critically to the international environment. Other then that the personalities and background of the decision makers are considered with the factors based on decision making modals such as: comprehensive rational actor modal, the bound rationality decision, and the bureaucratic modal to formulate foreign policies that are aimed to protecting the national interest. The national interest of the state as long as Malaysia is concerned, is the preservation, protection and enhancement of the core values of the state. Looking at this point of view we could project five core values, which are: i) The preservation of sovereignty and political autonomy ii) The preservation of national security
iii) Economic development and prosperity
iv) The preservation of one’s cultural, social, religious values – ones way of life v) Enhancing the country’s image, influence and power abroad and in the international system Looking at our time line, that is 1957 to 1980, I would like to synchronize the core values above to the national interest and related foreign policy decisions during the tenure of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj (1957-1970), Tun Abdul Razak (1970-1976) and Tun Hussein Onn (1976-1981)
TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN (1957-1970)
The first premier of Malaysia, held key position during the shadow cabinet prior to the independence as the chief minister of the then Malaya. Tunku continued as the first Prime Minister of the newly independent Federation of Malaya, then Malaysia from 1957 to 1971.
During this tenure Malaya’s national interest during the 6 years of its existence and Malaysia was focusing in preserving the sovereignty of the state and political autonomy over various aspects. Regarding the sovereignty of the state, Malaya didn’t have a strong military in place to safeguard the newly awarded territory from enemies and insurgence. It also faced problems in setting up the government machinery as it lacked the men power to do the job. Malaya’s “independent foreign policy, the Tunku declared, was not neutral, the country’s fundamental security concerns made it undoubtedly anti communist not in any evalangical sense. It was simply to protect our independence” Malaya negotiated a bilateral mutual defense agreement with Great Britain. The Anglo-Malayan Defense Agreement (AMDA), before independence and signed it forty two days after it became free. Under the treaty Britain was to defend Malaya from any external attacks; and to train and develop the Malaysian armed forces. Malaya in turn undertook to help Britain in the event of an attack on British Colonial territories in the region – Hong Kong, Singapore, North Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei. Malaya also allowed the stationing of commonwealth strategic forces comprising of Britain, Australian and New Zealand forces into the country. Malaya needed the AMDA to defend its independence, sovereignty and security of...