ABSTRACT

In Malaysia, on 22 September 1970, the Tengku stepped down after being prime minister for 13 years. Under the new prime minister Tun Razak and his team, there was a more obvious effort to steer Malaysian foreign policy from its proWestern orientation to a more “non-aligned” stance, although as noted above, this shift had been taking place since 1968, albeit less obvious because of the presence of the pro-West Tengku’s “vociferous, down-the-line support for US policy in Vietnam”. US officials following developments in Malaysia saw this coming. As one report noted, “towards the end of his regime, the Tengku was clearly out of step in his attitudes and style with the current thinking both within and outside of government. With his passing, a readjustment in the style and emphasis of Malaysian foreign policy was inevitable.”1 With the increasing communist activity along the Malaysian-Thai border during this period, which Kuala Lumpur considered the major threat to its security, as well as the intensification of communists propaganda emanating from the Voice of the Malayan Revolution (VMR) transmitting from China in all the major languages of Malaysia, containing China and halting the spread of Beijing-supported insurgency remained the most important aspect of Malaysia’s foreign policy.