The Malaysian Federation in 1963 and the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation: An Analysis of the Bipolar International System


  • Mohd Noor Mat Yazid University of Malaysia Sabah


Bipolarity, Indonesia, Malaysia, Confrontation, Indonesian Coup


This paper discusses the formation of the Federation of Malaysia and the Indonesian objection to it from the perspective of the bipolar international system. The confrontation policy launched by Indonesia in September 1963 ended in April 1967 when Suharto became president. Why did the policy and bilateral relation change after the fall of Sukarno? We assess that the systemic factor strongly influenced the Indonesian policy towards Malaysia. The bilateral relations between the two countries shifted after April 1967 as a result of the changes that took place in Indonesian domestic politics. Western powers, especially the United States, had supported Suharto’s ascension to power, with the purpose of avoiding the formation of a communist state in the region. This paper demonstrates that the systemic structure has strongly influenced the Indonesian policy towards Malaysia. The changes in the domestic politics of Indonesia could be considered a part of the United States’ strategy of blocking communism from spreading in Southeast Asia.

Author Biography

Mohd Noor Mat Yazid, University of Malaysia Sabah

Associate Professor at The Programme of International Relations, Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Heritages, University of Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia