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Salient. Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 25. October 4, 1976

Request From Razak on Restrictions

Request From Razak on Restrictions

This request asked if there was anything the New Zealand government could do to restrict the flow of Malaysian students to New Zealand and at the same time the Malaysian government said that it would do what it could to restrict the flow from the point of exit m Malaysia. Hence the Bahasa Malaysian requirements and the financial bond and registration that is now required with the Malaysian Ministry of Education. One therefore has to ask what is it in Malaysias interests to restrict the number of Malaysian students to New Zealand and what is it in New Zealands interest to aid and abett in this process, and then look at the internal situation in all three countries.

In terms of diplomatic relationships, from an Asian perspective New Zealand gets lumped with Australia, and by and large there are three dimensions to this relationship:
a)Defence - The formal military ties (i.e. the Five Power Defence Arrangements) rightly or wrongly reassure Malaysian and Singapore that they have a couple of friendly western democratic nations to their south who are willing to rise up in their defence. The defence arrangements are an important link because Australia and New Zealand are seen as integral stabilisers within the region. (It will take a National government in New Zealand donkeys years longer than any other country to realise that South-East Asia wants a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality and that New Zealands military presence is incompatible with this aim).
b)Economic/Aid - Kuala Lumpur and Singapore see NZ as important in terms of supplying some economic assistance although NZ's economic aid is in no way as significant as that rendered by the US, West Germany or the UK. It is also seen as a source of private investment which is fairly marginal.
c)Education - New Zealand is seen as a centre to take the strain off some of the indigenous educational resources. It has been seen as a provider of educational institutions.

Apart from this New Zealand is also seen as a Western outpost in the Southern hemisphere which may or may not be reassuring depending on how New Zealanders view the west. Under the Muldoon government the principal objective of New Zealands foreign policy has been to play second-fiddle to the US and to act as a kind "trip-wire" or "trigger" in SEA for one of the world's most devastation nuclear arsenals. This is, what New Zealand is to South-East Asia.