Special Relationship in the Malay World: Indonesia and Malaysia

Special Relationship in the Malay World: Indonesia and Malaysia
Ho Ying Chan, author
Date of publication:  2018
Publisher:  ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute
Number of pages:  432
Code:  BM559
Soft Cover
ISBN: 9789814818179
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About the publication

"Ho Ying Chan provides an expert analysis of Malaysia–Indonesia relations. He demystifies the concept of a 'special relationship', rescuing it from woolly, sentimental rhetoric that often emanates from political figures and popular commentators. His well-informed study shows how a state’s will to survive in the amoral world of international relations drives its conduct even in circumstances of common identities and common strategic interests with other states. He evaluates comparative evidence to shed light on how a special relationship leads to the emergence of a pluralistic security community. This is a conclusion of insight and value, not only to the field of Southeast Asian Studies, but also to the wider community of International Relations scholars." 
Professor Clinton Fernandes, University of New South Wales, Australia

"Empirically rich and theoretically interesting, this book offers an illuminating account of how material and ideational dynamics shape the evolution of Malaysia–Indonesia relations. Focusing on what is arguably the most vital bilateral relationship in Southeast Asia, it addresses the circumstances, conditions and constraints that determine the double-edged effects of the culturally bound 'special relationship'. Ho Ying Chan argues that while their shared serumpun identities and strategic interests do give rise to a considerable closeness between Malaysia and Indonesia, the politics of power (im)balance have prevented the transformation of the special relationship into a 'pluralistic security community', as their egoistic understanding averts the formation of collective self. The book generates useful insights on the interplay of cross-border cultural affinity and political necessity, inviting readers to ponder the politics of identity and survivability at the international level. It is a welcome addition to the growing literature of Southeast Asian international relations." 
— Dr Kuik Cheng-Chwee, National University of Malaysia (UKM) 

"Ho Ying Chan’s important study brings home the international and theoretical significance of the interaction between Malaysia and Indonesia, the two major states of Muslim Southeast Asia — products of the territorial division between the British and Dutch colonial empires. This welcome and revealing review of the Malaysia–Indonesia story deepens our understanding of the concept of a 'special relationship' — explaining both the cooperative and competitive dynamics that can be present, and the way such relationships are influenced by state identities and power imbalances." 
— Anthony Milner, University of Malaya; University of Melbourne


  • Special Relationship in the Malay World: Indonesia and Malaysia
    [Whole Publication, ISBN: 9789814818193], by Ho Ying Chan, author
  • Preliminary pages
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Making Sense of a Special Relationship
  • 3. The Conceptual Foundations for a Special Relationship
  • 4. The Evolution of a Special Relationship into a Pluralistic Security Community
  • 5. Not Yet Special: Indonesia–Malaya/Malaysia Relations, 1957–65
  • 6. The Beginning of a Special Relationship: Indonesia–Malaysia Relations, 1966–84
  • 7. No More Serumpun? Indonesia–Malaysia Relations, 1985–2017
  • 8. Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Author

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