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  Rationale

The Southeast Asia centered foreign policy that Malaysia has adopted since 1957 is gradually changing to be more extensive to contain various international powers such as the Middle East and Africa. As such, the Middle East was not a priority area in the Malaysian foreign policy despite the long established historical, cultural, social and religious connections that the country has been having with that region.

Since the 1980s when Malaysia began to turn a little bit more from the West to the Middle East and the Islamic World, we can notice the verity between two stages. The first one started from the year 1980 till the year 2005 where the Malaysian-Middle East relation witnessed a process of strengthening and bridging, the second could be dated from 2005 till the present days where the bilateral relations have entered a stage of extensive cooperation after a series of encouraging policies that Malaysia adopted towards the Middle East in terms of tourism, economy and education. However the bilateral relations are still lacking the visibility and force in comparison with Malaysia’s relations with ASEAN and the West.

 
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