Md Nasruddin Md Akhir, Mohd Ikbal Mohd Huda & Asmadi Hassan
Author: Md Nasruidn Md Akhir, Mohd Ikbal Mohd Huda, Asmadi HAssan
Publisher: UKM Press
This book was almost one and half year in the making. It is an academic contribution by 22 scholars from various fields of specialization from Malaysia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and India to commemorate the 40 anniversary of the Look East Policy (LEP). The policy has been continuously implemented since the administration of the fourth Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to the ninth Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri, indicating its enduring significance to Malaysia. In fact, the agreement of the Japanese and ROK governments to jointly realize the implementation of the LEP illustrates how diplomatic relations and friendships forged in 1957 and 1960, respectively have been further strengthened.
The idea that led to several brainstorming sessions towards realizing this book took root and arose among the academic staff at the Japan Studies Program (JSP), University of Malaya and the executive committee of the Malaysian Association of Japanese Studies (MAJAS) in 2021. Efforts to expand activities as well as strengthen Malaysia-Japan relations in publishing, and organizing conferences and exhibitions, have become traditional joint endeavors of the JSP, MAJAS and, previously, the Malaysia-Japan Research Centre (MJRC). Therefore, the publication of this book is a manifestation of strategic cooperation between JSP and MAJAS.
This book addresses the evolution and multidimensional reflections of the LEP from four perspectives, namely international relations, education, political economy and socio-cultural aspects. Some key questions on the LEP are elaborated, such as what new dimensions of the LEP are actually served, which sectors should be emphasized in the new wave of the LEP, and whether 40 years have been adequate for Malaysia in inculcating the positive values epitomized by the policy. Although this book's main focus is on Japan's involvement in the implementation of the LEP, a comparison of the execution of its programs between Malaysia and the ROK and India is also included.
We are of the view that, since the LEP has been continuously implemented by retaining its title, the word "dimension" more accurately describes the transition that has taken place since 2012. Thus, the first dimension of the LEP dates from 1982 when it was first implemented until 2012, while the second dimension started in 2012. However, contributors had the leeway to use "LEP 1.0 and LEP 2.0" or "first wave and second wave" because such interpretations do not make much difference. For this reason, certain chapters use the above terms or a combination of them and should be read within the contexts described here.