MALAYSIA’S FOREIGN POLICY
The style and approaches in enunciating Malaysia's foreign policy may differ in keeping with the personality of each past and present prime minister of Malaysia. A critical examination of Malaysia's foreign policy since 1957 would show its steady evolution characterised by notable changes in emphasis, which took place with the change in Malaysia's political stewardship. Briefly; a) In the period 1957-1969, our country has just gained its independence. During this post independence period, under our first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, our foreign policy was geared towards the survival of our newly independent nation. Our foreign policy then was markedly anti-Communist and pro-western in posture with close links to the Commonwealth. We were also a strong opponent of apartheid. Our posture towards regional cooperation also began to take root with the birth of ASA (1960), MAPHILINDO (1963) and ASEAN (1967). b) In the period 1970 -1976, under Tun Abdul Razak, as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), Malaysia began to identify itself as a "Muslim nation." The search for new friends substantially increased the importance of NAM to Malaysia. We became markedly non-aligned and postured towards neutrality, peaceful co-existence and independence. We also began to distance ourselves from major powers, put strong emphasis on regionalism and developed contacts and diplomatic relations with communist countries. Investments from other than British sources began to be also welcomed.
c) A period of consolidation ensued under Tun Hussein Onn (1976-1981) with ASEAN becoming the cornerstone of Malaysia's foreign policy following the collapse of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1975, the withdrawal of the US military presence from Southeast Asia and the invasion of Kampuchea (now Cambodia) by Vietnam. The First ASEAN Summit was held and Malaysia signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Bali in 1976. Further...
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