China-Malaysia Relations as a Campaign Strategy: The BN Prime Ministers’ Understanding of China and the Ethnic Chinese


  • Thean Bee Soon Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman


Malaysia-China Relations, Elections, Chinese


During the administration of the Barisan Nasional in Malaysia, three Prime Ministers, namely Abdul Razak, Mahathir Mohamad and Najib Razak, strategically incorporated the China factor to attract the support of the Chinese voters in their respective election campaigns. These campaigns took place in 1974, 1999, and 2013. It appeared that the Prime Ministers perceived a preference among the Chinese community for China, despite the Chinese were born in Malaysia or had been granted Malaysian citizenship. Thus, Razak, Mahathir and Najib’s understanding of China and Chinese voters played a crucial role in shaping their decision to employ diplomatic relations as a campaign strategy.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Thean Bee Soon, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman

Soon Thean Bee attained a PhD in Political Science at the National Taiwan University. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communication in Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia. This journal article is a chapter from the writer’s PhD dissertation. The title of the dissertation was “Ma Lai Xi Ya Shou Xiang Dui Zhong Guo Ji Hua Ren Xuan Min De Shen Fen Ren Zhi: Zuo Wei Xuan Ju Ce Lue De Ma Zhong Guan Xi (Understanding China and Chinese Voters’ Identities in the Eyes of Malaysian Prime Ministers: Sino-Malaysian Relations as Campaign Strategy”. She can be reached at,