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PAD270 MALAYSIAN POLITICS

MALAYSIA : FOREIGN POLICY OVERVIEW

WISMA PUTRA
1.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Wisma Putra
as it is commonly known has been mandated to
pursue the nations foreign policy in accordance
with the Federal Constitution of Malaysia with
the objective of protecting and promoting the
nations interest at the international level.

2. Malaysias foreign policy is premised on


establishing close and friendly relations
with

countries

in

the

community

of

nations. It will continue to respect the


internal affairs of other nations and
advocate a policy of non-interference
recognizing the sovereignty of nations.

3. Since Malaysias independence in 1957 till


today, the vision of our foreign policy remains
consistent that is to safeguard Malaysias
national interests as well as contribute towards
a just and equitable community of nations.
This

is

achieved

through

upholding

the

countrys sovereignty and promoting universal


peace; fostering friendly relations with foreign
countries and protecting Malaysias interests in
the regional and international arena.

In

other

continue

words,
to

Malaysia

will

consolidate

its

relations with other countries and


international organisations, both
at the regional and international
level.

4. In line with the objectives of promoting


and protecting Malaysian national interest
abroad, the Ministry has established a total
of

105

missions

in

83

countries

and

appointed 53 Honorary Consuls who provide


support

and

assistance

Malaysias interest abroad.

in

promoting

5. Since the independence of Malaya in 1957,


the nations foreign policy has gone through
several phases of significant transition with
different

emphases

under

five

previous

premierships. The policy has been largely


determined

by

the

established

national

characteristics and succession of political


leadership

as

well

as

by

the

dynamic

regional and international environment.

6. Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime


Minister of Malaysia held a markedly antiCommunist and pro-Western posture as the era
saw the country threatened by the Communist
insurgency. The foreign policy during Tunkus
time had to take into consideration the bipolar
power struggle between opposing ideas of
democracy and communism.

7.Under the stewardship of


Malaysias second premier Tun Abdul
Razak, Malaysias foreign policy
began to shift towards non-alignment
and internationalism with Malaysia
joining the Organisation of Islamic
Conference (OIC) and Non-Aligned
Movement (NAM).

8.A period of consolidation ensued


under Tun Hussein Onn 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.

9. During the premiership of Tun Dr.


Mahathir in 1981, Malaysia began opening its
doors to foster relations with more nations and
became a symbol of a rising developing country.
Under Tun Mahathirs tenure, the nations foreign
policy began adopting a much greater economic
orientation in the countrys external relations
while championing the rights, interests and
aspirations of developing countries.

This approach led to the advocacy of

the South-South Cooperation, a more


proactive role in the G-77, the
establishment of the G-15 and saw the
Look East Policy being instituted. This
shift to the East greatly influenced
Malaysias economic development.

Malaysia became the voice of

the developing world and was a


role model for many developing
countries as it become well
known for its active stance at the
UN and other international
conferences.

Malaysias

participation in peacekeeping

missions under the UN is also a testimony


of the nations seriousness in instilling the
will of the international community. Since
1960, Malaysia has committed troops to
Republic of Congo, Bosnia Herzegovina,
Somalia, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Western
Sahara, Iraq, Timor Leste and Lebanon.

10. The fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia,


Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi continued to
ensure that Malaysia was active in the
international arena. During his tenure,
Malaysia played an instrumental role in the
formulation and adoption of the ASEAN
Charter which has been ratified by all ASEAN
member states and subsequently entered into
force on 15th December 2008.

11. During this period, Malaysia was also active in


expanding the focus of OIC from being an
organisation focused solely on political issues into
one which focuses on the socio-economic
development of Islamic countries. The Islam Hadhari
concept which promotes a form of civilisational Islam
was also introduced by Prime Minister Abdullah
Badawi and was accepted and recognised by the OIC
member states at the 3rd Special Summit of OIC at
Makkah in December 2005.

12. Under the leadership of Prime Minister YAB Dato


Sri Najib Tun Razak, Malaysia will continue to project a
forward-looking and pragmatic foreign policy whilst
continuing to facilitate trade, attract foreign investment as
well as project Malaysia as a stable and peaceful country.
Upon taking office in April 2009, the Prime Minister also
stressed that Malaysias foreign policy under his
administration would be shaped significantly by the
1Malaysia: People First, Performance Now concept.

13. Among the key elements of the 1Malaysia concept


is in realising the strength of Malaysia lies in its diversity.
This concept bodes well with the main vision of Malaysias
Foreign Policy that is to protect and promote interests
abroad and at the same time responsibly and effectively
contribute towards the building of a fair and just world.
Dato' Sri Najib believes that the interconnectedness of
nations in the world means that Malaysia would benefit in
applying 1Malaysia in its efforts in diplomacy and foreign
relations.

14. Synonymous with the 1Malaysia


concept, Malaysia will continue to
maintain close relations with all
countries in the world and will continue
to work with like-minded nations in
pursuing national interest.

15. YAB PM also introduced the


Government Transformation Programme (GTP)
that identified Key Results Area (KRAs) and Key
Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the Ministry as
a promise of commitment by the Government
to the rakyat. In line with this, the Ministry has
identified 14 Key Performance Indicators to
measure the success of the Ministry.

16. The KRAs of the Ministry are as follows:

a. Protection and promotion of Malaysias interests


bilaterally, regionally and internationally through proactive
diplomacy;

b. Realisation of an ASEAN Community by 2015 via the


ASEAN Political Security Community Blueprint, ASEAN Economic
Community Blueprint and ASEAN Social Cultural Blueprint;

c. Enhancing Malaysias standing in the international


community particularly in the framework of 1Malaysia in an
ever changing geopolitical scenario; and

d. Provision of prompt and effective services locally and


abroad.

17. Malaysia has also


maintained excellent relations with
other countries, bilaterally and
multilaterally through existing
regional and international
mechanisms of ASEAN, UN and
other organisations which we are a
member of.

18. Malaysias foreign policy is structured upon a


framework of bilateralism, regionalism and
multilateralism where its outreach is likening to a pattern
of concentric circles. ASEAN forms the core priority of
Malaysias current foreign policy, in consideration of our
neighbours as our closest allies. Looking further a field,
as a country with a strong Muslim majority, Malaysia also
gives importance to the solidarity of the Ummah and the
spirit of cooperation among the Organisation of Islamic
Conference (OIC).

Malaysias

status as a developing nation makes it

imperative for the country to engage actively in the NonAligned Movement (NAM), the Commonwealth, Group of
Seventy Seven (G77), Developing Eight (D8), Asia Middle
East Dialogue (AMED), Far East Asia Latin America
Cooperation (FEALAC), Indian Ocean Rim Association for
Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), Asia Europe Meeting
(ASEM) and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). No
less important is the countrys continued active
participation in the Commonwealth, the United Nations and
other international organisations.

19. Through these organisations, Malaysia has


sought to promote the South-South Cooperation
among the developing countries and the Muslim
world. Malaysia also advocates the Prosper thy
neighbour policy to enhance economic relations
and cooperation with its neighbouring countries
through Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Phillippines
East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), IndonesiaMalaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMTGT) and
other entities.

20. Malaysia will continue to play a


significant role in the various multilateral issues
that affect our interests. These issues include
disarmament, counter terrorism, trafficking in
persons, climate change and environmental
issues. As a member of the UN, Malaysia is a
firm believer of international peace and
security and an upholder of international law.

21. Malaysias election as the


President of United Nations Economic and
Social Council (ECOSOC) for 2010 and the
Chairmanship of the Board of Governors
of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) were a further testimony of
Malaysias positive international image.

22. Malaysia will also continue to


engage with like-minded nations, both in
the region and beyond in ensuring its
sovereignty and economic well being are
preserved and protected. Malaysia will
continue with the principles of
engagement and cooperation rather than
isolationism and unilateral action.

23. Trade and investment


opportunities will continue to be explored
with our traditional trading partners and
at the same time to develop strategic
partnerships for trade and investment
with countries in the Middle East, Africa,
Latin America and other parts of Asia.

24. In the decade leading up to 2020, Malaysia


would have to deal with great changes in the global
environment whilst improving and upgrading the
countrys domestic conditions. In recognising this
challenge, it is vital that Malaysias foreign policy
continues to focus on protecting national interests
while responsibly and effectively contributing
towards the building of a fair and just world.

25. The fundamental principles of sovereign equality,


mutual respect for territorial integrity, peaceful settlement
of disputes as well as mutual benefit in relations are the
guiding principles that would continue to guide Malaysias
relations with other countries. These principles have
stood the test of time. Indeed, our steadfast adherence to
these principles, supported by a consistent foreign policy,
has established for Malaysia a credible image in the eyes
of the international community.

~ THANK YOU ~
By: Siti Hapizoh Johari ( KAMP6A)Dis-April 2016