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VIEW ON ASIA briefing series

 View on Malaysia

Victoria Mence
Released: July/August 2005

Executive summary

In late July 2005, Australia concluded a second round of negotiations on a possible bilateral Free Trade Agreement with Malaysia with the agreement marked for completion by mid-2006, and indicated its intention to accede to ASEAN’s non-aggression treaty by the end of the year. As our trade relationship with Malaysia and the region expands, the necessity to develop a deeper understanding of this important regional neighbour grows. Australia has had a long relationship with Malaysia, with a particularly strong emphasis on trade and security between the two countries. With signs that the new Malaysian leadership under Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will tread a more conciliatory path towards Australia, a historic opportunity is presented to Australia to build on this relationship. A robust relationship must also encompass shared values and a shared commitment to fundamental human rights that is the cornerstone of good governance. There will be hurdles to overcome, the least of which will be Australia’s own capacity and confidence to embrace a more humanitarian approach overseas and to expand domestic rights and freedoms even in the current age of international migration and terrorism. However, if Australia is to become an influential regional neighbour, the need to progress this relationship with Malaysia beyond trade and security is essential.

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Victoria Mence has a degree in Bachelor of Social Sciences and undertook an internship at Uniya as part of this degree. She is presently an Honours student at the University of Sydney. View on Asia is a publication of the Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre, a research centre based in Sydney’s Kings Cross, Australia. The views expressed in this report are those of the author. Thanks to Jojo Fung SJ and Paul Dass SJ for reviewing an earlier draft of this paper. Photo credit for the mosque image: Christopher Rayan/SXC. Please email comments to Uniya:



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