Past Event

Ambiguities of Alignment: the Politics of Malaysian - US Relations

April 28, 2021
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
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Zoom webinar

Although Malaysia is not a treaty ally of the United States, the two countries have had longstanding and institutionalized relations. However, the two countries’ alignment on issues pertaining to defense and security has been increasingly colored by ambiguity and ambivalence. While the Biden Administration raises hopes that the Malaysia-US Comprehensive Partnership will be strengthened, it is likely that old and new ambiguities will endure in sectoral, strategic, and other spheres. This webinar will trace the changing structural and domestic conditions underpinning these ambiguities, before presenting a preliminary assessment on the prospects and problems of the Malaysia-United States alignment in the post-pandemic era. 


Cheng-Chwee Kuik is Associate Professor and Head of the Centre for Asian Studies, Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), National University of Malaysia (UKM). He is concurrently a Non-resident Fellow at Johns Hopkins’ Foreign Policy Institute. He served as Head of the Writing Team for the Government of Malaysia’s inaugural Defence White Paper (2020). Previously, Cheng-Chwee was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Princeton-Harvard “China and the World” Program. Dr. Kuik’s research concentrates on smaller state foreign policy, Asian security, and international relations. His publications have appeared in peer-reviewed journals and edited books. He is co-author (with David M. Lampton and Selina Ho) of Rivers of Iron: Railroads and Chinese Power in Southeast Asia and co-editor (with Alice Ba and Sueo Sudo) of Institutionalizing East Asia.


Elina Noor is Director, Political-Security Affairs and Deputy Director, Washington, D.C. Office at the Asia Society Policy Institute. A native of Malaysia, Elina’s work focuses on security developments in Southeast Asia, global governance and technology, and preventing/countering violent extremism.


Ann Marie Murphy is a Professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, Senior Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University, and 2019-2010 ASEAN Research Program Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Murphy’s research interests include international relations and comparative politics in Southeast Asia, U.S. foreign policy toward Asia, and governance of non-traditional security issues. Dr. Murphy is a founding partner of the New York Southeast Asia Network and is currently completing a book on the impact of democracy on Indonesian foreign policy with the generous support of the Smith Richardson Foundation.

This event is part of the Southeast Asia Views America: Perceptions, Policies & Prospects virtual conference.

This event is organized by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and cosponsored by the New York Southeast Asia Network (NYSEAN) and the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University.

Contact Information

Sreyneath Poole