Key determining factors influencing small states' relationships : a case study of Malaysia's relations with Saudi Arabia
This thesis examines key determining factors influencing bilateral relations between two small states that emanate from different regions but continuously interacting in the international political system. In doing this, the researcher will focus on Malaysia's relations with Saudi Arabia (with the emphasis more on the Malaysian side). The main reason for choosing Malaysia and Saudi Arabia as the case study is because both countries have significant characteristics which they largely share with most of the other small states such as the overwhelming dominance of one single political regime and the idiosyncratic element that control the administration of these two countries (UMNO party for Malaysia and the Al-Saud family for Saudi Arabia), the dependent position (as peripheral states) in the international political economy, and also sharing co-ideological affiliation of Islam. Upon the employment of the multi-level approach with the incorporation of the empirical textuality (see Chapter II), the study has identified four key determining factors that largely influence Malaysia's relations with Saudi Arabia. The four key determining factors are; the nature of state and regime interest, economic determinants, religious affiliation, and the membership in small states' organizations. Throughout the discussion, however, the study has found that the four key determining factors do not uniformly indicate that the character of Malaysia's relations with Saudi Arabia is intimate. Instead, the relations are variable according to the four determining factors discussed. The thesis has supplied two main original contributions for the development of knowledge in the international relations field. Firstly, the analysis of Malaysia's relations with Saudi Arabia can be considered as a `pioneering' study, and secondly, the employment of the multi-level approach with the incorporation of the empirical textuality may encourage other researchers to evaluate any bilateral relations between two countries, specifically those originating from different regions.