Security For Development: Tun Abdul Razak’s National Security Strategy


Authors: Amelia Yuliana Abd Wahab, Wan Hashim Wan Teh & Abdul Rahman Abdul Razak Shaik, National Defence University of Malaysia, Malaysia
Published: May 2016

Citation: Wahab, A. Y. A., Teh, W. H. W., & Shaik, A. R. A. R. (2016). Security For Development: Tun Abdul Razak’s National Security Strategy. IAFOR Journal of Politics, Economics & Law, 3(1).


Tun Abdul Razak’s counterinsurgency (COIN) through security and development (KESBAN) strategy, in contending the illegal communist activities led by the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), was a successful COIN strategy. In the case of Malaysia, even though the First Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) was declared over in 1960, the communist insurgents were still continuously active in expanding their covert agenda. Thus, their subversive movement gave a significant threat to national security during the Malaysian Second Premiership, of Tun Abdul Razak Bin Hussien Al-Haj. The objective of this paper is to highlight the national security strategy crafted during Tun Abdul Razak’s premiership in the 1970s, that contributed to the success of countering communist insurgents. This period of low-intensity conflict between the Government of Malaysia and the CPM, also known as the Second Emergency (1969-1989), was a tough and challenging phase for Malaysia, to ensure its survival as the sovereign state. KESBAN, taken from the Malay words KESELAMATAN and PEMBANGUNAN, or security and development, was originated during Tun Abdul Razak’s premiership, albeit KESBAN was formally much later legislated in 1980 by the National Security Council (NSC). The paper discovers Tun Abdul Razak’s national security strategy to counter communist insurgents did not solely rely on the usage of hard power; the concentration of his strategy was on internal development, that led to victory on the side of the Malaysian government, to end the illegal guerrilla activities of Communist insurgents, and unite the multi-ethnic society in Malaysia. KESBAN was an admirable COIN strategy for a small country with a multi-ethnic society.


COIN, Strategy, Security, Internal Development, Second Emergency