Extraterritorial migration control in Malaysia

Militarized, externalized, and regionalized

in Regions and Cohesion
Author:
Choo Chin Low Lecturer, University Sains Malaysia, Malaysia lowc@usm.my

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Abstract

This article examines how migration control in Malaysia has been transformed in response to non-traditional security threats. Since the 2010s, the state has expanded the territorial reach of its immigration enforcement through trilateral border patrol initiatives and multilateral defense establishments. Malaysia's extraterritorial policy is mostly implemented through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) frameworks. Common geopolitical security concerns, particularly the transnational crime and terrorism confronted by Malaysia and its bordering countries, have led to extraterritorial control measures to secure its external borders. Key elements include the growing involvement of the army, the institutionalization of border externalization, and the strengthening of the ASEAN's regional immigration cooperation. By analyzing the ASEAN's intergovernmental collaboration, this article demonstrates that Malaysia's extraterritorial migration practices are militarized, externalized, and regionalized.

Resumen

Este artículo examina la transformación del control migratorio en Malasia en respuesta a las amenazas de seguridad no tradicionales. Desde 2010, el estado aumentó el alcance territorial de su control migratorio a través de patrullas fronterizas trilaterales y establecimiento de defensa multilateral. La política extraterritorial de Malasia tiene como marco principal la Asociación de Naciones del Sureste Asiático (ASEAN en inglés). Las preocupaciones de seguridad geopolítica comunes, particularmente los delitos y el terrorismo transnacional, provocaron medidas de control extraterritorial para asegurar sus fronteras externas. Los elementos clave son la creciente implicación del ejército, la institucionalización de la externalización de fronteras y el fortalecimiento de la cooperación regional en inmigración de ASEAN. Este artículo demuestra que las prácticas migratorias extraterritoriales de Malasia están militarizadas, externalizadas y regionalizadas.

Résumé

L'article analyse les changements apportés aux services de contrôle de la migration en Malaisie. Depuis 2010, l’État a étendu son champ d'action et mis en place des initiatives de patrouilles frontalières trilatérales, de défense multilatérale et une police extraterritoriale déployée sous l'impulsion de l'Association des nations de l'Asie du Sud-Est (ANASE). Les problèmes de sécurité géopolitique, comme la criminalité transnationale et le terrorisme qui sévissent en Malaisie et dans les pays voisins, ont donné lieu à des mesures extraterritoriales pour sécuriser les frontières extérieures. Parmi elles, figurent l'implication de l'armée, l'externalisation institutionnalisée du contrôle aux frontières et le renforcement de la coopération de l'ANASE en matière d'immigration. Par l'analyse de cette coopération intergouvernementale, cet article démontre que la politique migratoire malaisienne est régie par la militarisation, l'externalisation et la régionalisation.

Contributor Notes

CHOO CHIN, LOW is a lecturer in the History Department, School of Distance Education University Sains Malaysia (USM). She holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne. Academic interests include comparative citizenship, migration, diaspora and studies. She currently serves as a country expert for the European Union Democracy Observatory on Citizenship (EUDO-Citizenship). Email: lowc@usm.my

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Regions and Cohesion

Regiones y Cohesión / Régions et Cohésion

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