This book explores the limits of the idea of 'neo-colonialism' - the idea that in the period immediately after independence Malaya/Malaysia enjoyed only a 'pseudo-independence', largely because of the entrenched and dominant position of British business interests allied to indigenous elites. The author argues that, although British business did indeed have a strong position in Malaysia in this period, Malaysian politicians and administrators were able to utilise British business, which was relatively weak vis-a-vis the Malaysian state, for their own ends, at the same time as indigenous businesses and foreign, non-British competitors were gathering strength. In addition, despite the commitment of both Conservative and Labour governments in the UK to preserving British influence worldwide through the Commonwealth relationship, British firms in Malaysia received only limited support from the British post-imperial state.
Nicholas J. White is Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History at Liverpool John Moores University where he specialises in British imperialism and decolonisation and the recent history of Southeast Asia.