The Evolving Relationship between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China

John L Weed, Salve Regina University


This dissertation is a qualitative study of the developing relationship between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China. The primary timeframe of this research occurs between 2008 and 2020. During this time, Malaysia and China established closer relationships – both from an economic and security perspective. Nevertheless, Malaysia adheres to a “hedging” behavior, as it demonstrates neutrality and diplomatic behavior with respect to China.The study was conducted based upon broad research of the available, published digital literature. Both current academic and available regional news sources were examined. In addition, numerous Malaysian and Chinese academic sources were interviewed for their expertise and knowledge. These conversations served to validate the written source research.During the primary timeframe of the study, Malaysia demonstrated hedging behavior towards China. As detailed in the first Case Study, China established a physical presence in Kuantan, Malaysia – both at the Kuantan Port and the Malaysia China Kuantan Industrial Park. In the second Case study, the East Coast Rail Link showed that China could provide the financing and technological expertise to provide the needed economic connectivity between the East and West Coasts of Peninsular Malaysia. In the third Case Study, the corruption of PM Najib was revealed, and the accompanied Chinese domestic influence upon Malaysia disclosed.The impact of this research is to highlight China’s influence upon Malaysian domestic politics, as well as, China’s significant investments in Malaysia’s economic future. Malaysia hedges in order to promote non-alignment with respect to the great powers present in the SE Asia region. Malaysia does not seek any military confrontation with China. Rather, it wants to secure the financial benefits which China offers.

Subject Area

International Relations

Recommended Citation

Weed, John L, "The Evolving Relationship between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI30311410.

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