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ASEAN is often said to be the “cornerstone” of Malaysian foreign
policy, and Malaysia has certainly played a central role in the
development of this regional endeavour. Malaysia’s approach to
regionalism and community building, however, has not received
enough analytical attention. The study of Malaysian regionalism
is important, in part, because over recent years we have seen an
increasingly fluid and multiplex Asian region - in which not only
major powers but also smaller states can be influential. In this
developing situation, it is becoming urgent to understand non-
Western thinking about international relations not only in China,
the United States and India but also in individual Southeast Asian
states such as Malaysia.. This essay collection examines a range
of Malaysian perspectives on regional institutions and regional
community building. It identifies Malaysian aspirations and
anxieties, as well as elements of a particular Malaysian regionalist
style. It notes too the recurring problem of how to balance regional
against more narrowly national objectives.

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