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David A. Welch

We have come to appreciate that our rapidly increasing technological sophistication -- which has brought such benefits as safe and convenient air travel -- carries with it potential costs. It gives us greater ability to destroy, of course. But, it can also lead to the creation of vulnerable, tightly-connected, and inadequately resilient systems. And in those systems, individuals and organizations are often the weakest links -- as the recent Malaysia Airlines disaster makes clear.

Letter From,
Elizabeth Segran

After months of protests over the results Malaysia's contentious election last May, the revolutionary spirit has largely died. Here's why -- and why the calm might not last.

Letter From,
Simon Roughneen

Elections in Malaysia earlier this month resulted in the National Front (BN) coalition maintaining its nearly six-decade hold on power. But the race was closer than any before. Now, Prime Minister Najib Razak, the head of the biggest party within the BN, will struggle to maintain his position in his party and in the government.

Joseph Chinyong Liow

The political trends behind Malaysia's recent "Allah" controversy could undermine the delicate sociocultural balance in one of the Muslim world's most developed nations.

Essay, Nov/Dec 2009
Christopher S. Bond and Lewis M. Simons

Will President Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia herald a new era in relations between Washington and the countries of Southeast Asia? In 2009, Christopher S. Bond and Lewis M. Simons wrote that the United States should use trade, aid, and education to alleviate poverty and prevent terrorism in the region.

Essay, Jul 1969
Bruce Grant

AUSTRALIA'S decision to keep forces in Malaysia and Singapore after Britain leaves in 1971 was taken in an election year, after the most searching public debate on defense and foreign policy in Australia's history and after a substantial official review. It represents, therefore, one country's practical assessment of Southeast Asia "after Viet Nam." In this sense, the decision may have significance outside Australia, for the light it throws on the development of Australian thinking, for the contribution it is intended to make to the security of the immediate subregional neighborhood and for the assumptions it appears to make about the broader question of stability in Asia, especially the role of the United States.

Essay, Jul 1965
Tunku Abdul Rahman

If one studies the map of Southeast Asia it is clear at once that Malaysia is the natural focus of the whole region. It is the only country that is both part of mainland Asia and at the same time part of the vast archipelago stretching westward from the Philippines and New Guinea to Sumatra. Thus Malaysia is not only a bridge between continental and island Asia but also the gateway between the China Sea and the Indian Ocean. By virtue of this position Malaysia is of vital importance to both Southeast Asia and the world. Add to this the fact that although Malaysia is a small nation of only 10,000,000 people, its economic significance is out of all proportion to its size and population. It is the world's leading producer of both natural rubber and tin. For this reason, if none other, the peace and prosperity, security and stability of Malaysia are of key concern both regionally and internationally.

Essay, Jul 1963
Hamilton Fish Armstrong

The Federation of Malaysia is scheduled to come into existence on August 31 of this year by the merger of the existing Federation of Malaya with Singapore, the British colonies of Sarawak and North Borneo and the British- protected Sultanate of Brunei, thus forming a crescent well over a thousand miles long from the borders of Thailand almost to within eyesight of the southernmost Philippine islands. Although many difficulties stand in the way, the British and Malayan Governments say categorically that they will not be deterred from pushing the plan through. Some of the difficulties are historical and local, for the new Federation will be a rather arbitrary assemblage of widely separated territories with mixed populations at different stages of development. More important are the objections raised by Indonesia and the Philippines.

Essay, Apr 1962
William P. Maddox

Flanking the sea artery connecting the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and virtually linking the Asian mainland with the Indonesian archipelago, the island of Singapore occupies a strategic position in southeastern Asia. Toward its 220 square miles of territory have converged races from all the Orient, but especially the southern Chinese in their ubiquitous quest for commercial opportunities. When Sir Stamford Raffles established a trading post near the Singapore River on February 6, 1819, the island's only inhabitants were a few hundred Malays. Four months later, however, he wrote: "From the number of Chinese already settled, and the peculiar attraction of the place for that industrious race, it may be presumed that they will always form the largest part of the community." Today, some 75 percent of Singapore's million and three-quarters inhabitants are Chinese- the largest urban concentration anywhere of overseas Chinese.

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