Transformation of Malaysia-China Relations: Drivers, Motives and Possible Impact
MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME SEMINAR
Transformation of Malaysia-China Relations:
Drivers, Motives and Possible Impact
About the Seminar
This presentation examines the evolution and management of Malaysia-China Relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1974. Various drivers and motives, both domestic and geopolitical have shaped the relationship to what it is today.
Looking at the spectrum from the period 1974 to 2016, the relationship has gone through several waves, but broadly registering a positive trend – from fear and deep suspicion in the 1970s to normalization and the current strategic partnership and cooperation. Despite the varying influencing factors over the years, the Malaysian leadership has shown a consistent attitude towards China. These are based on: China’s importance to Malaysia; recognition of the asymmetrical nature of the relationship; and awareness that a friendly and non-confrontational approach serves Malaysia’ national interest.
The recent deepening of Malaysia-China economic collaboration has raised concerns regarding Malaysia’s vulnerability and its longstanding foreign policy vis-à-vis the major powers. It is to be noted that while pursuing its bilateral interest, Malaysia has always been sensitive to ASEAN and the interests of the other powers. While Malaysia is always mindful of China’s sensitivities, it has demonstrated and will continue to demonstrate its strength to protect its principles as a sovereign nation.
About the Speaker
Dato’ Abdul Majid was a former Malaysian diplomat who joined the Malaysian Diplomatic and Administrative Service in 1970. In his thirty-four years of service, he has served in the Prime Minister’s Department as well as in several Malaysian Missions abroad and in senior positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served as a diplomat in Laos, Vietnam, China (concurrently accredited to the DPRK), United States and Nigeria. He served twice in China and was the Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, a post he had for seven years until his retirement in January 2005.
Abdul Majid is currently attached to the Institute of Chinese Studies, University of Malaya as an Adjunct Professor. He also holds the following positions: President of the Malaysia-China Friendship Association (a position held since 2005); Director of Malaysia-China Business Council; and Honorary Chairman of the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce. He is also an Advisor to Invest KL and an advisory member to the Small and Medium Enterprises Section of the Prime Minister’s Department. He sits as an independent director in four Malaysian listed companies.
Abdul Majid graduated from the University of Malaya in 1970 with a Bachelor of Economics (Hons).