Malaysia's impact on World Politics Exceeds the usual level of inf luence expected of a small state in an international system. It has exercised a leadership role in the Commonwealth, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Non-aligned Movement and South-South Cooperation, and has tried to modify the agenda of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation through the East Asian Economic Caucus. In addition, Malaysia has championed selfdetermination, articulated an ‘Asian’ approach to the issues of human rights and democratization, and has contributed to international peace-keeping operations under the aegis of the United Nations, where it has also served as a non-permanent member of its Security Council and chaired its General Assembly. These achievements in themselves are sufficient to draw scholarly attention to Malaysia although, it must be admitted, that the arena of foreign policy itself is part of domestic politics. In this domain too, Malaysia has long been of interest to political scientists. For an ethnically divided society, Malaysia has maintained a remarkable record of political stability. This in turn had contributed to sustained development, and up till the advent in 1997 of the Asian financial crisis, Malaysia was poised to be the next newly-industrialized country in the Asia-Pacific.