JC History Tuition Online - What are the Points of Agreement of 1990 - Interstate Tensions

What are the Points of Agreement of 1990?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 1: Inter-state tensions and co-operation: Causes of inter-state tensions: historical animosities & political differences

Historical context
In 1990, then Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew and the Malaysian Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin signed a Points of Agreement (POA). The POA was a declaration that the Malayan Railway station would no longer occupy the land at Tanjong Pagar. In exchange, a joint venture company would be formed to develop a plot of land of equivalent value in Marina South.

In 1993, both countries were supposed to move the Customs, Immigrations and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities in Tanjong Pagar to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint by 1 August 1998. Yet, in that same year, Zainuddin informed Lee on behalf of the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that the government had to re-look at the terms of the POA.

Points of Contention: The POA
As such, disputes arose due to differing views over the terms stated in the POA. The following was taken from a reflection made by the former Secretary General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Malaysia about the matter.

Daim Zainuddin had the mandate from Mahathir Mohamad to secretly negotiate and sign the POA of 1990 with Lee Kuan Yew. That Mahathir Mohamed apparently changed his mind three years later could only indicate another thing: either Daim Zainuddin had exceeded his mandate when he signed the final version of the POA, or certain provisions in the final version had changed the character of the document, thus inviting the disapproval of Mahathir Mohamad.

An excerpt from “Malaysia-Singapore Fifty Years of Contentions: 1965-2015” by Kadir Mohamad.

On 1 August 1998, when Singapore re-located its CIQ from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands, Malaysia stood its ground, sowing confusion among the travellers and local authorities in Singapore. Subsequently, Singapore published its official correspondence with the Malaysian government.

Tun Daim too does not consider the POA to be of “treaty” status but simply points of agreement between the two Governments signed by him and Lee Kuan Yew as Prime Minister of Singapore in November 1990.

… As disagreements had arisen over its interpretation and status, Singapore offered to refer it to arbitration or, if both sides agreed, to submit it to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

An excerpt from “Malaysia: Fifty Years of Diplomacy 1957-2007” by Jeshurun Chandran.

The Singapore government had made clear emphasis in its press release through the Ministry of Law that the POA was an agreement signed between two governments that came into effect on 27 November 1990.

The relocation of Malaysia’s rail CIQ operations from Tanjong Pagar to its own territory is a completely different and separate issue from the POA and status of Malayan Railway land in Singapore or the railway station at Tanjong Pagar. It is the sovereign right of any country to check entry into its territory at its borders as is done for ships, cars and aeroplanes between Singapore and other countries, including Malaysia.

An excerpt from a press statement issued by the Ministry of Law, 8 July 1998.

Negotiations
Afterwards, the Singapore government sought to address the matter amicably through further negotiations.

On 4 March 2002, Prime Minister Mahathir wrote a letter to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, giving his stand on the POA issue. Mahathir stated that Malaysia would resume operations of railway service to Tanjong Pagar and that the Malaysian CIQ in Tanjong Pagar would be relocated in Johor Bahur. However, Malaysia is to be given “adequate compensation for all MRA land south of Kranji”.

Then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong responded to Mahathir’s letter on 11 April as seen below:

2. Railway

I note that you have decided to relocate your CIQ to Johor Baru.

… I recall, however, that you had proposed at our meeting in Hanoi in 1998, to relocate your railway station to Kranji. I agreed to this proposal in my meeting with Abdullah Badawi when he visited Singapore in February last year. I confirm here that Singapore is prepared to accommodate such a variation to the POA within the bilateral package.

An excerpt from a letter by the Prime Minister of Singapore Goh Chok Tong to Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad, 11 April 2002.

However, negotiations had stalled as Mahathir replied to Goh’s letter on 7 October that Malaysia had decided to discontinue the discussions. In March 2008, when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi assumed leadership in the Malaysian government, the new Foreign Minister Rais Yatim restarted negotiations with Singapore. In particular, Yatim acknowledged the 1990 POA as a ‘valid and legally binding document’.

Notably, both parties were undergoing proceedings in resolving the Pedra Branca dispute in the same year.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the Malaysian railway land dispute was effectively managed by Singapore and Malaysia?

Join our JC History Tuition to study other examples that explained the causes and consequences of inter-state tensions in independent Southeast Asia. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature online discussion, class practices and post-practice review. We also conduct free timed practices for students to assess their level of competency in answering essay and source based case study questions.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is APEC and its Purpose - ASEAN Notes

What is APEC and its purpose?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN : Building regional peace and security)

Examine the origins of APEC to understand its role in promoting economic development in the Asia-Pacific region in the 1990s [Video by APEC]

Historical context: Desire for economic cooperation
Following the economic recession in the early 1980s, ASEAN held conferences at the ministerial level, in which member states have expressed interest to engage in economic cooperation between developed and developing nations.

By the mid-1980s, countries around the world had anticipated the end of the Cold War ushering a new dawn. In the absence of superpower rivalry and the end of proxy wars, markets could finally become integrated. This vision was realised when regional trading blocs were created, such as the European Union (EU) (after the reunification of Germany). Likewise, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed in 1994 to develop a free trade zone for USA, Canada and Mexico.

In the Asia Pacific, more countries identified the economic interdependence of the region, thus expressing desire to forge a regional organisation to promote free trade as well.

Role of the APEC
In November 1989, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was formed as an inter-governmental grouping. When it was formed, there were only twelve members inside, including Singapore and other ASEAN member nations. Till date, APEC has twenty one members.

In 1991, the Seoul Declaration reflected the APEC member economies’ aim to create a liberalised free trade zone around the Pacific Rim. Then, a meeting was held in Bogor, Indonesia, to expand APEC’s aim to include targets like the development of ‘free and open trade and investment’ for the region. ‘Bogor Goals‘, as they were known, specified that industrialised economies should fulfil this aim by 2010 and by 2020 for the developing counterparts.

One main characteristic of APEC is its laissez-faire enforcement mechanism. There is no over-arching supra-national authority that governs APEC or any aspect of its member’s economic policies. The APEC process deliberately avoids impinging on its members’ sovereignty. Its importance and influence, and where it lies, derives entirely from consultation and persuasion in order to encourage commitment to regional goals and policy cooperation.

An excerpt from “APEC at 20: Recall, Reflect, Remake” by Lim Kesavapany.

An ‘ASEAN-nised APEC: EAEC
The United States played a significant role in promoting economic cooperation within APEC. President Bill Clinton hosted the first annual meeting in Seattle, Washington, in 1993. However, not all members were fully supportive of the APEC’s involvement with Western nations.

In 1990, the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir suggested an alternative to APEC, known as the East Asia Economic Group (EAEG). Mahathir was concerned with the rise of other regional trading blocs that may undermine the economic development of Southeast Asian states, namely the EU and NAFTA.

Yet, within ASEAN, Indonesia disagreed with Malaysia’s proposal as the formation of an East Asian alternative may alienate themselves from key trade partners like the USA and Japan. Notably, this concern was partly addressed when the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) was announced in 1992.

Mahathir remains lukewarm at best about APEC, still preferring his EAEC idea as an alternative. He views the APEC forum as a grouping that will likely come under the dominance of the United States, become institutionalized, and lead to Western economic control in Asia, creating a situation wherein Asian members would become minor players with virtually no voice in the economic affairs of their own region.

An excerpt from “Malaysian Politics Under Mahathir” by Diane K. Mauzy and R. S. Milne.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that ASEAN’s successes at promoting regional economic cooperation hinged on the ASEAN Way?

Join our JC History Tuition to evaluate efforts to promote regional economic integration in Southeast Asia. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Sign up now to start your productive online learning classes to prepare for the examinations.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia

What is the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Ess
ay Questions
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991): ASEAN and the Cold War (ASEAN’s responses to Cold War bipolarity)

The document
On 24 February 1976, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) was signed. This peace treaty was formalised during the Bali Summit in Indonesia by the five founding members of ASEAN.

In their relations with one another, the High Contracting Parties shall be guided by the following fundamental principles :

a. Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all nations;

b. The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion;

c. Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;

d. Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful means;

e. Renunciation of the threat or use of force;

f. Effective cooperation among themselves.

An excerpt from the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, Chapter I: Purpose and Principles, Article 2, 24 February 1976.

Notably, this document was signed a year after the Vietnam War concluded, with the forces in North Vietnam unifying the Vietnam territory under Communist rule. It was an alarming development, considering that ASEAN was futile in keeping the region free from external interference, as seen by its use of the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) in 1971.

Application: Dispute resolution
To put the principles of the TAC into practice, ASEAN formed a ‘High Council’ that features a judicial dispute-settlement mechanism to resolve regional matters amicably. Yet, the High Council was only being referred to when Indonesia suggested to resolve the territorial dispute with Malaysia with regards to the Sipadan and Ligitan islands. Eventually, when Malaysia objected, this dispute was brought up to a globally-renowned International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The only time that resort to the dispute-settlement provisions of the TAC was ever considered was in the mid-1990s, when Indonesia proposed using the TAC’s High Council to help resolve its dispute with Malaysia over ownership of the Sipadan and Ligitan islands. Malaysia declined the proposal. Instead, Kuala Lumpur preferred, and President Soeharto eventually agreed, to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which has since ruled in Malaysia’s favour.

An excerpt from “Southeast Asia in Search of an ASEAN Community” by Rodolfo Severino.

Application: Extra-ASEAN engagement
In the post-Cold War phase, ASEAN re-positioned itself to maintain its relevance. The establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1994 was meant to engage non-ASEAN countries, particularly the big powers like the USA and China, through peaceful talks.

The TAC was applied to enforce the need for proper code of conduct so as to de-escalate tensions and resolve disputes, such as the ongoing territorial clashes in the Spartly Islands.

In the early 1990s, ASEAN supplied an inclusive security dialogue forum to bring together all the major regional powers and players, something other actors were unable to do. Through this process all powers agreed to ASEAN’s TAC as a regional code of conduct, and to dialogue as a key aspect of regional strategic engagement, no mean feat considering the US’ and China’s scepticism and opposition to multilateralism in the initial post-Cold War years.

An excerpt from “Understanding ASEAN’s Role in Asia-Pacific Order” by Robert Yates.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the TAC was effectively applied in ASEAN’s response to the Cold War?

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse the political effectiveness of ASEAN in the Cold War and post-Cold War periods. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Receive summary notes and attempt diverse practices to get a head-start in your examination preparation.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the purpose of AFTA - ASEAN

What is the purpose of AFTA?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN : Building regional peace and security)

Learn more about the ASEAN Free Trade Area [Video by NBT World]

What is the AFTA?
On 28 January 1992, ASEAN formalised the ASEAN Free Trade AREA (AFTA), which aims to enhance the region’s competitive advantage as a production base to access the world market in the post-Cold War world. Through the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) Agreement, the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers among member nations would help to expand intra-regional trade.

At first, then Thai Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun proposed the AFTA during the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 1991. At the Kuala Lumpur meeting, his Malaysian counterpart Dr. Mahathir Mohamad lent support to Anand’s proposal.

Establishment of a Free Trade Area

54. The Foreign Ministers welcome as a matter for serious consideration the initiative of His Excellency the Prime Minister of Thailand, which was supported by the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia, that ASEAN moves towards a Free Trade Area by the turn of the century, and agreed that the Senior Officials of ASEAN undertake further study and discussion for submission to the forthcoming ASEAN Summit.

An excerpt from the 1991 Joint Communique of the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 20 July 1991.

The backstory of AFTA: Lee’s meeting with Anand
Before the AFTA was created, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew met the incoming Prime Minister Anand in May 1991. Apart from the discussion of a recently resolved Cambodian conflict, Lee brought up the topic of regional trade. Although Singapore was at the forefront of economic development in the region, not all member nations shared similar sentiments in promoting regional economic cooperation, partly due to inter-state tensions.

Strategically, Lee and Anand both knew AFTA could not be promoted as any sort of Singaporean initiative. “If Indonesia and Malaysia had known the idea was discussed at my meeting with Lee Kuan Yew, it would have been a problem and treated with a degree of skepticism,” said Anand. Indonesia felt it should always take a leading role in ASEAN affairs, which is one of the reasons the grouping’s secretariat had been established in Jakarta in 1975. Meanwhile Malaysia has always been suspicious of anything with Singaporean fingerprints on it.

Lee was circumspect about his meeting with Anand. “He understood the economics of trade and investment in an interdependent world,” Lee later wrote. “To avoid lingering suspicions about Singapore’s motives, I advised Prime Minister Goh to get Anand to take the lead to push for an ASEAN Free Trade Area.”

An abridged excerpt from “Anand Panyarachun and the Making of Modern Thailand” by Dominic Faulder.

Features of the AFTA
Under the CEPT Agreement, tariff rates levied on a range of products traded within Southeast Asia should be lowered to 0-5%. Notably, there are exclusions to protect the interests of key industries for member nations. An extended deadline was given to new members like Vietnam (2013) and Cambodia (2017), so that they have adequate time to facilitate market integration with the free trade area.

CONVINCED that preferential trading arrangements among ASEAN Member States will act as a stimulus to the strengthening of national and ASEAN Economic resilience, and the development of the national economies of Member States by expanding investment and production opportunities, trade, and foreign exchange earnings;

DETERMINED to further cooperate in the economic growth of the region by accelerating the liberalisation of intra-ASEAN trade and investment with the objective of creating the ASEAN Free Trade Area using the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) Scheme;

An excerpt from the Agreement on the Common Preferential Tariff (CEPT) Scheme for the ASEAN Free Trade Area Singapore, 28 January 1992.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the effectiveness of ASEAN in promoting regional economic cooperation through the AFTA in the 1990s.

Join our JC History Tuition to study the effectiveness of ASEAN in promoting regional cooperation. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Get useful study references and timely feedback to grasp the subject well.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - South China Sea dispute - Cartoon Analysis - ASEAN

South China Sea dispute – Cartoon Analysis

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Gain insights to understand the significance of the dispute
In the following section, we will be examining some political cartoons to comprehend the perceptions and interpretations by various authors on the South China Sea dispute. As JC students preparing for the GCE A Level History examination, it is important to refine your critical thinking skills by exploring diverse sources. Try to critique the strengths and limitations of each cartoon to test your level of understanding.

By Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE, 20 August 2014.
About ASEAN’s repeated calls for the adherence to its ‘Code of Conduct’ while being surrounding by myriad claimants in the sea.
Cartoon by Paresh Nath, 10 July 2012.
Depiction of conflicting clams among Vietnam, the Philippines and China, while ASEAN struggles to remind all parties to follow the ‘Code of Conduct’.
By Paresh Nath, 27 July 2020.
About a Chinese ‘dragon’ surrounding the sea while other claimants look on helplessly.
Cartoon from Times of India, 31 October 2019.
ASEAN member states facing a menacing-looking whale that deployed Chinese vessels into the disputed territory.
An editorial cartoon from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 30 April 2017.
ASEAN struggles in its responses towards a ‘militarised’ China in the West Philippine Sea.
Editorial cartoon on ASEAN unity and issue of the South China Sea dispute.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that ASEAN was successful in maintaining its regional security in the post-Cold War world?

Join our JC History Tuition to find out how to revise for the Source Based Case Study section in Paper 2. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature thematic revision for areas like The Cold War, Global Economy and the Asian Financial Crisis. Students can participate in free writing practices to find out what are the areas of improvement and raise their writing proficiency levels.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - What was ASEAN's response to the Third Indochina War

What was ASEAN’s response to the Third Indochina War?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Essay Questions
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991): ASEAN and the Cold War (ASEAN’s responses to Cold War bipolarity)

Historical context: A violation of national sovereignty
In December 1978, Vietnamese forces launched a full-scale assault, crossing the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.

In January 1979, the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh was occupied by an alternative government, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK).

In the same month, Singapore joined other member nations for an urgent meeting. After much deliberation, ASEAN issued a joint statement to deplore the invasion, calling for the immediate withdrawal of Vietnamese forces from Cambodia.

4. Towards this end, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers called for the immediate and total withdrawal of the foreign forces from Kampuchean territory.

5. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers welcomed the decision of the United Nations Security Council to consider without delay the situation in Indochina, and strongly urged the Council to take the necessary and appropriate measures to restore peace, security and stability in the area.

An excerpt from the “Joint Statement The Special ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting On The Current Political Development In The Southeast Asia Region Bangkok“, 12 January 1979.

Notably, ASEAN not only made a united stand against military aggression, but also called on the United Nations to address this escalating threat that had endangered regional stability.

Contestation by Great Powers
On 17 February 1979, China engaged in a military confrontation with Vietnam. Observers interpreted the attack as a hint to Moscow that China would not remain on the sidelines following the invasion. Yet, ASEAN members were increasingly concerned with the Chinese involvement in the conflict.

After much persuasion with member nations in the United Nations General Assembly, the International Conference on Kampuchea (ICK) was held from 13 to 17 July 1981. However, there were some shortcomings.

The pro-Communist bloc nations like Soviet Union and Vietnam were absent. Additionally, China had disagreed with ASEAN’s draft for the ICK, particularly the disarmament of Khmer resistance groups and the creation of an interim administration.

Singapore saw this inflexible Chinese position as evidence of Beijing not wanting an early solution, and that it was more interested in a protracted conflict to “bleed” Vietnam. Its ultimate objective was to use the armed forces of the Khmer Rouge to restore a pro-China regime in Phnom Penh, and hopefully see the emergence of a Chinese-friendly Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Manila felt that ASEAN should not be seen to be succumbing to China’s pressure at this stage whereas Bangkok was more interested in accommodating China, as its overriding concern was to ensure that China could help defend Thailand against a Soviet-supported Vietnam.

An excerpt from “Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict 1978-1991” by Ang Cheng Guan.

The situation had become even more complex when the US delegation sided with China. Then Foreign Minister of Singapore Dhanabalan had revealed that attempts to convince Big Powers like the USA and China had been challenging, given their diverging interests with ASEAN members during the Cold War.

I was surprised to note how keen the U.S. was to accommodate the PRC’s request. I explained to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State that it was not possible to accede to the PRC’s request as it was wrong and would also not get any support from the conference. He ended the meeting by threatening that he would go over my head and take the matter up with Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore… It was a real life experience for me that interests and not principles determine the actions of big powers.

An excerpt from “The Little Red Dot: Reflections by Singapore’s Diplomats” by Tommy Koh and Li Lin Chang.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the challenges that ASEAN faced in response to the Third Indochina War.

Join our JC History Tuition to study how ASEAN managed various regional and international threats during the Cold War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning programmes to organise your content awareness and writing skills for essay and source based case study. We organise free writing practices for students to hone their answering techniques.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the Kuantan Doctrine - ASEAN Notes

What is the Kuantan Doctrine?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security – relations between ASEAN and external powers)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Essay Questions
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991): ASEAN and the Cold War (ASEAN’s responses to Cold War bipolarity)

Historical context: A looming threat of Great Powers
In response to Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia in December 1978, the Indonesian President Suharto and Malaysian Prime Minister Hussein Onn met in Kuantan in March 1980. Both parties agreed that the Cambodian conflict posed a grave threat to regional security, if left unchecked.

The threat extended beyond the presence of a pro-Vietnam government in Cambodia, particularly the dangers posed by the Soviet Union and China.

The joint statement issued by Malaysia and Indonesia took into consideration the broader security concerns of the two countries, such as the perceived threat posed by China and the increased influence of the Soviet Union in the region. The statement envisaged a Vietnam free from the influences of both China and the Soviet Union and took into consideration Vietnam’s security interests in Cambodia. In other words, the Kuantan Principle sought to bring Vietnam out of the Sino-Soviet dispute and to reduce the influence of these two powers in the region. It also displayed a less confrontational stand toward Vietnam over the Cambodian situation as compared with the ASEAN policy.

An excerpt from “Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor” by Keat Gin Ooi.

However, the Kuantan Doctrine was never put into practice as other member states of ASEAN rejected the proposed solution. For instance, the frontline member Thailand was concerned with its border security, given its proximity to Cambodia.

Soviet Union or China: A greater threat?
Although ASEAN eventually issued a joint statement to deplore the Vietnamese aggression, diverging perceptions among some member states had given rise to disagreements.

From Suharto’s point of view, China was deemed a more serious threat than Vietnam. As such, Indonesia put forward the idea of granting a certain degree of autonomy to Vietnam for its presence in Cambodia.

As the interlocutor of ASEAN on the Kampuchea issue, Indonesia was mainly concerned that the conflict might divide the region into two clusters: maritime ASEAN and Indochina under Vietnamese domination. Indonesia feared that a bipolar Southeast Asia could pit the communist against the non-communist states, thereby opening the door to intervention by external great powers.

An excerpt from “Indonesia’s Ascent: Power, Leadership, and the Regional Order” by Christopher Roberts, Ahmad Habir and Leonard Sebastian.

On the other hand, both Thailand and Singapore perceived a Soviet-backed Vietnam as a more significant threat than China. To some political observers, inaction may mean that neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia condone sovereignty violation.

However, Singapore’s strident anti-communist posture was essentially aimed at the Soviet Union and its perceived regional proxy, Vietnam. Hence, curiously enough, whereas there was clear evidence of Chinese support for communist insurgency in Southeast Asia, the most aggressive policy pronouncements against communism were those aimed at the Soviet Union.

An excerpt from “Realism and Interdependence in Singapore’s Foreign Policy” by Narayanan Ganesan.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that Singapore’s foreign policy responses were successful during the Third Indochina War?

Join our JC History Tuition to study conflicts and challenges such as the Third Indochina War. The H2 and H1 History Tuition programmes feature online learning classes to develop sound thinking and writing skills. We provide concise study notes and hold guided writing practices to prepare you for the GCE A Level History examinations.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary Online Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - Why was Singapore separated from Malaysia - JC History Essay Notes

Why was Singapore separated from Malaysia?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 1: Inter-state tensions and co-operation: Causes of inter-state tensions: racial and religious divisions, ideological differences

Learn more about historical developments that led to Singapore’s independence [Video by Singapore Bicentennial]

Historical Context: Merger with Malaya
On 16 September 1963, the Federation of Malaysia was established, comprising of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo. Before the Federation was formed, a White Paper was published in November 1961 to outline terms of Singapore’s entry into Malaysia, such as the revenue contribution to the federal government and the creation of a common market between Singapore and Malaysia. However, there were political differences between the two governments that had affected the sustainability of the merger.

The Federal General Election of 1964
Following the Tunku’s contestation in the 1963 Singapore General Election, the People’s Action Party (PAP) participated in the 1964 General Election in Malaysia. Although the PAP had only secured one seat, extremists from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) viewed their non-communal style of politics had threatened the party’s interests. A smear campaign to discredit the PAP begun, which later culminated in the communal riots in July and September 1964.

Following the 1963 Singaporean elections, relations between UMNO and the PAP, with their competing multiracial visions quickly soured…These tensions began to be reflected in strained Malay-Chinse relations in Singapore, which were exacerbated when the Singapore-based PAP won a seat in the suburbs of the federal capital, Kuala Lumpur, in the general election in peninsular Malaysia in April 1964 by campaigning on the slogan of a “Malaysian Malaysia.” In this toxic political climate, the usually peaceful Malay procession to celebrate the Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday in Singapore quickly deteriorated in July 1963 into riots between Chinese secret society and Malay ultranationalist gangs.

An excerpt from “Multiculturalism in the British Commonwealth: Comparative Perspectives on Theory and Practice” by Richard T. Ashcroft and Mark Bevir.

Money matters: Disputes over tax and revenue contributions
On 25 November 1964, the Malaysian Finance Minister Tan Siew Sin brought up the Malaysian budget during the federal parliament. The budget sought to raise M$147 million through a policy of taxation, in which Singapore was required to contribute 39.8%.

In response, the Singapore government rejected the proposal on the basis that the disproportionate amount would harm businesses and labour-intensive industries.

Then, the minister stated that Singapore had to increase its revenue contribution to the federal government from 40 to 60%. Again, the Finance Minister of Singapore, Dr Goh Keng Swee, responded by stating that the 60% was not ‘equitable’.

These arrangements did not work out even though the Malaysia Agreement was signed on 9 July 1963, which included the creation of a common market.

The Malaysian Solidarity Convention: Multiculturalism in Malaysia
On 9 May 1965, the Malaysian Solidarity Convention was formed with the aim of fighting the spread of communalism in the Malaysian Federation.

The convention involved six political parties, comprising of the following:

  • Singapore – People’s Action Party
  • Sarawak – Machinda Party and United People’s Party
  • Peninsula Malaysia – People’s Progressive Party and United Democratic Party

Yes, we have got differing points of views, different experiences, different parties. But I tell you two things brought us together; one, the fact that we are Malaysians and not communalists; second, the fact that is spite of all this truculence, we are still talking for Malaysians on behalf of a Malaysian Malaysia towards a Malaysian Malaysia, and we will continue to do so.

An excerpt from Prime Minister of Singapore Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s speech at the Malaysian Solidarity Convention at the National Theatre, 6 June 1965.

The convention sought to advocate the concept of a ‘Malaysian Malaysia’, so as to preserve the unity and stability of the Federation. As a result, the federal government objected to the convention, particularly during the parliament meeting on 25 May 1965.

From then on, the Tunku decided that the removal of Singapore from the Malaysian Federation was the only way to mend the political fissures.

The Separation: A different Singapore
On 9 August 1965, Singapore was declared independent. The Tunku made a similar announcement on the separation to the federal parliament in Kuala Lumpur. During a press conference, Prime Minister Lee explained why the separation took place.

But I would say that the Tengku convinced me and he told me that he could not go on holding the situation much longer and that he could see real trouble in Malaysia if Singapore continues to be in it.

…You see, this is a moment of … everytime we look back on this moment when we signed this agreement which severed Singapore from Malaysia, it will be a moment of anguish.

…There is nothing to be worried about it. Many things will go on just as usual. But be firm, be calm. We are going to have a multi-racial nation in Singapore. We will set the example.

An excerpt from the transcript of a press conference given by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, at Broadcasting House, 9 August 1965.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that political differences most significant in affecting Singapore-Malaysia relations?

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about regional conflicts and co-operation, such as the Merger and Separation. Our H2 and H1 History Tuition classes will improve your reading and writing processes.

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JC History Tuition Online - What is the Sabah dispute - JC History Essay Notes

What is the Sabah dispute?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 1: Inter-state tensions and co-operation: Causes of inter-state tensions: territorial disputes

Historical Context: The Malaysian Federation
Before the Malaysian Federation was formed, the Cobbold Commission was held to assess the willingness of the people in the North Borneo territories to support the merger. Later, the Commission concluded that about ‘one third’ were in favour of the Federation.

Yet, both Indonesia and the Philippines rejected the results of the Commission. Then, a tripartite meeting was conducted in Manila, in an attempt to resolve the differences among three, including Malayan Prime Minister Tunku.

12. The Philippines made it clear that its position on the inclusion of North Borneo in the Federation of Malaysia is subject to the final outcome of the Philippine claim to North Borneo. The Ministers took note of the Philippine claim and the right of the Philippines to continue to pursue it in accordance with international law and the principle of the pacific settlement of disputes. They agreed that the inclusion of North Borneo in the Federation of Malaysia would not prejudice either the claim or any right thereunder.

An excerpt from the Manila Accord, 31 July 1963.

The conclusion of the meeting was marked by the signing of the Manila Accord by the Philippine president Macapagal, Indonesian president Sukarno and the Tunku. All parties had expressed their desires to respect the wishes of the people in North Borneo, should the United Nations establish another commission to confirm the general opinion.

Nearly two months later, the United Nations Malaysia Mission report was submitted by the Secretary-General U Thant on 14 September 1963. The report stated that “majority of the peoples of Sabah (North Borneo) and of Sarawak, have given serious and thoughtful consideration to their future, and to the implications for them of participation in a Federation of Malaysia”.

However, the findings were again rejected by the claimants. Two key incidents occurred as a result of the Federation – the Confrontation and ‘Operation Merdeka’.

Conflicting Claims
From the Philippines’ perspective, Sabah was rightfully under their control, citing historical basis for their claims. In 1704, the Sultan of Brunei ceded the North Borneo territory to the Sultan of Sulu for quelling an internal rebellion. In the 19th century, major powers like Great Britain and Spain had recognised the Sultan of Sulu’s sovereignty over the territory.

In 1878, the Sultan of Sulu signs a contract of permanent lease with Baron von Overbeck and Alfred Dent. The rights over Sabah were transferred to the British North Borneo Company, in exchange for annual payments of 5,000 Malayan dollars.

However, Malaysia maintained its position that the North Borneo Company had ceded territorial rights of Sabah to Britain in 1946, thereby making it a British colony.

Visual illustration of the disputed claims over Sabah [Illustration by The Economist]

On 15 October 1968, the Philippine government brought the Sabah dispute to the United Nations General Assembly. In his address, the President Fidel Ramos proposed to submit the case to the International Court of Justice.

38. It is obvious even from a cursory examination of the documents to be considered in the determination of the issues involved in the dispute that the International Court of Justice is the organ of the United Nations that should take cognizance of the dispute between the Philippines and Malaysia. It is the body best suited to handle such a complex dispute.

39. In that case that Malaysia agrees to elevate the dispute to the Court, the Philippines will be prepared to abide by whatever decision that judicial body may render. If the decision of the Court is in favour of Malaysia, that will be the end of the Philippine claim. If the decision is in favour of the Philippines, that will not be the end of the case. For the Philippines is committed to the principle of self-determination and would be prepared to ensure the observance of that principle in Sabah.

An excerpt from the official records of the Twenty-Third Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 15 October 1968.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the implications of the Sabah dispute on bilateral relations between the Philippines and Malaysia in the 1960s.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about regional conflicts and co-operation, such as the Confrontation. Our H2 and H1 History Tuition classes are conducted online to broaden your understanding of different topics and refine your writing techniques for essay and SBCS.

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JC History Tuition Online - Konfrontasi Revisited - JC History Essay Notes

Konfrontasi: Revisited

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 1: Inter-state tensions and co-operation: Causes of inter-state tensions: territorial disputes

Find out what happened during the Konfrontasi [Video by Singapore Bicentennial]

The Confrontation
In July 1963, the Konfrontasi (Confrontation) began, threatening the socio-political stability of the newly-formed Malaysian Federation. The conflict had significant impacts on the perceptions of neighbouring countries toward Indonesia, especially after the formation of ASEAN.

Impacts on Indonesia-Malaysia relations
Bilateral relations were affected by the ‘ghost’ of Konfrontasi. With the the institutional support from the regional organisation, both parties were more willing to cooperate politically and economically.

Despite mutual high-level reassurances, relations thus remain somewhat ‘brittle’. Bilateral ties are still more contingent than institutionalized, and neither side seems sure of the other’s genuine goodwill or commitment to reciprocity – whether ‘bilateralism’ really means something more than involving two parties. Much as Konfrontasi has been ascribed at last in part to Sukarno’s grandstanding style and the verbal jousting between him and Tunku Abdul Rahman, which left little room for compromise, a change in domestic mood – especially in a rise in non-negotiable, emotional nationalism – can still dangerously curtail policy options or public support for particular positions.

An excerpt from “International Relations in Southeast Asia: Between Bilateralism and Multilateralism” by N. Ganesan and Ramses Amer.

Impacts on Indonesia-Singapore relations
For Singapore, the lingering impacts of the Konfrontasi on bilateral relations had subsided by the 1970s, following the Prime Minister’s visit to Jakarta. Furthermore, increased cooperation between the two nations in the 1980s and 1990s had helped to normalise relations.

Although it remains contentious as to whether the kind of multilateralism enjoined by ASEAN has brought about a regional security community, in the sense of its members having stable expectations of peaceful dispute resolution among themselves, most accounts of the regional organization argue that it has served to embed shared interests, trust, and habits of cooperation.

An excerpt from “International Relations in Southeast Asia: Between Bilateralism and Multilateralism” by N. Ganesan and Ramses Amer.

Regional cooperation: A new goal
Notably, the Konfrontasi was a reminder to member nations of ASEAN on the fragility of diplomatic relations. At the final stages of the conflict, efforts were made by Suharto and his counterparts to de-escalate tensions amicably.

In wrecking the prospects for MAPHILINDO, Konfrontasi had underscored the importance of regionalism by demonstrating the high costs of the use of force to settle intra-regional conflicts.

… While interest in regionalism among the five member states of ASEAN was a result of varied geopolitical considerations, all recognised ASEAN’s value as a framework through which to prevent a return to a Konfrontasi-like situation. As a regional forum under Indonesia’s putative leadership, ASEAN would first and foremost constrain Indonesia’s possible return to belligerence.

An excerpt from “Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia: ASEAN and the Problem of Regional Order (Politics in Asia)” by Amitav Acharya.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess whether inter-state tensions have hindered regional cooperation after 1967.

Join our JC History Tuition to learn more about regional conflicts and co-operation. Our H2 and H1 History Tuition classes are conducted online to improve your awareness of historical developments and refine your writing skills for essay and source based case study questions.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.