Mahathir's "Look East" policy: Changing the values of the Malays

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Mahathir's "Look East" policy: Changing the values of the Malays

Type: Master thesis
Title: Mahathir's "Look East" policy: Changing the values of the Malays
Author: Overtoom, Wietske
Issue Date: 2014-08
Keywords: "Look East" policy
Change of values
Abstract: Upon becoming prime-minister of Malaysia in 1981,Mahathir initiated the “Look East” policy. This policy looked at Korea and Japan and sought to use these countries as examples. The policy was not only meant as an economic measure, but also as a cultural policy to aid the poor Malays. This thesis tries to answer the question to what extent the policy was aimed for the latter and how this was to be implemented. Firstly, it will look at Malaysia's cultural background and Mahathir's view on the matter before becoming prime-minister. It focuses on his book, the Malay Dilemma, where he stressed the need for Malays to change their values. Secondly it will look into the initiation of the “Look East” policy and what it aimed to do. Thirdly, it will go into Japan's image and how Mahathir sought to transfer values from Japan to Malaysia. Then, it will look at the implementation of the policy and how it was executed. Lastly, the conclusion talks about the cultural influence of the “Look East” policy. Saying that the policy was not effective in changing the values of the Malays, but did bring out a change in direction from looking to the West towards looking to the East.
Supervisor: Henley, David
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Asian Studies (60 EC) (Master)
Specialisation: Asian Studies (60EC)
ECTS Credits: 15

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