China’s Globalization and the Belt and Road Project: The Case of Indonesia and Malaysia
This chapter seeks to position two countries straddling mainland and maritime Southeast Asia within China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), namely Indonesia and Malaysia. China’s BRI is not seen as threatening per se, this is related with our theme of the book. While in Indonesia the Bandung Railroad project funded by China also remains an area of controversy, in contrast to Malaysia, Chinese projects in Indonesia are spread more widely ranging from infrastructure, steel, agriculture and high technology. In the case of Indonesia, China must step carefully with its high profile initiatives, especially given the history of nationalistic backlash against the nation’s small but economically important Chinese minority. In Malaysia, Chinese investment in transport infrastructure—including grandiose railway projects—appeared to trigger a strong reaction in 2018 on the part of the incoming government led by newly sworn-in Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad citing potential indebtedness and echoes of neo-colonialism.
KeywordsASEAN Belt and Road Indonesia Mahathir Malaysia
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