Monday, November 9, 2015

Dr Mahathir's legacy discussed in new book

 Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s contributions to a wider East Asian regionalism are a lasting legacy of the former premier’s personalised foreign policy, according to an academic.

Prof Joern Dosch of the University of Rostock, Germany is of the view that Malaysia's foreign policy has moved away from being “highly personalised” under Dr Mahathir, but by doing so, Malaysia now suffers from a lower profile in foreign relations.

“Mahathir’s foreign policy style may have been controversial in many instances, but Malaysia’s influence and leverage in regional and global affairs was remarkable for a country of its size,” said Prof  Dosch, who wrote in the chapter, A Decade Later: The Lasting Shadow of Mahathir in the soon to the launched book titled Malaysia Post-Mahathir: A Decade of Change?

“State leaders like Mahathir are rare. Their blunt views polarise international audiences but also fascinate them,” he added.

Post-Mahathir, Malaysia has seen an improvement in bilateral relations with countries like the United States, Singapore and Australia but it comes with the expense of Malaysia’s former high profile role in shaping and managing regional order, he said.

Prof Dosch concludes that the foreign policy under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak "is firmly aligned with the country’s foreign economic policy, as well as geo-strategic and security interests” which explains the central focus of China in Malaysia’s foreign policy.

Malaysia Post-Mahathir: A Decade of Change? is due to be launched on Monday at Sunway University. It is published by Singapore-based publishers Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Private Limited and edited by Prof Dosch and University of Tasmania’s Prof James Chin.

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