The ontological security of Malaysia : abandonment of the Asia Pacific Council (ASPAC)
Zul Hazmi Nordin
Date of Issue2018
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper elucidates the role of ontological security for Malaysia in its decision to withdraw from the Cold War-era Asia Pacific Council (ASPAC) – a decision central to its collapse. It posits that Malaysia’s ontological security contributed to its decision to withdraw from ASPAC, as opposed to realist-materialist considerations as conventionally determined by most scholarship on ASPAC. The research draws upon analysis of archival research on declassified diplomatic cables from New Zealand and Australia as well as relevant secondary literature, and from Ontological Security Theory. It is postulated that Malaysia’s non-aligned self-identity formed from its endogenous biographical narratives (i.e. domestic-foreign policy linkage relating to non-alignment) and exogenous routinized relations (i.e. relationship dynamics with Cold War actors). Ultimately, Malaysia’s ontological security may have a role in the decision to withdraw from ASPAC, made possible due to critical situations which converge its ontological security and physical security goals through a common non-alignment policy.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University