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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:52798
Doc. No:TL22752
Call number:‭3327835‬
Main Entry:Kevin McGahan
Title & Author:Managing migration: The politics of immigration enforcement and border controls in MalaysiaKevin McGahan
College:The University of Wisconsin - Madison
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:242
Abstract:Malaysia is one of the largest net-importers of labor in Southeast Asia, with about 25 percent or 3 million of its workforce comprised of foreign workers. Yet the Malaysian government increasingly harasses, arrests, and deports thousands of migrants each year. This response reveals two puzzles. First, Malaysia has largely embraced neoliberal economic policies, lowering national barriers to trade and capital. While this neoliberal orientation suggests that Malaysia might also lower barriers to foreign labor inflows, the government has instead aggressively instituted restrictive immigration policies and tightened border controls since the late 1990s. Malaysia's increasingly restrictive immigration policies have not only cost the government human and financial resources, but they have also led to labor shortages in key sectors. A second puzzle is that the government has developed formal bureaucratic agencies which offer relatively professionalized and effective enforcement of immigration policies. But the government has delegated sweeping authority to a largely untrained baton-wielding civilian force. This trend runs counter to conventional assumptions that the Malaysian state ardently seeks to monopolize the use of coercion. In examining these puzzles, I engage three approaches. Neither globalization nor interest group approaches can fully account for this policy escalation. By drawing on a third approach, the securitization framework or the Copenhagen School, this study argues that Malaysian elites have socially constructed immigration issues as societal security threats, progressively linking migrants to crime and disease. These threats subsequently create political space for the state to expand its authority in mandating emergency measures, such as the use of a national volunteer force called Rela. Through an examination of these private volunteers, I draw on theories of vigilantism to further explain the Malaysian government's growing reliance on these auxiliary forces. In forming this argument, this analysis seeks to make both empirical and theoretical contributions. This study not only empirically tests the wider applicability of the securitization framework but also sheds light on Malaysia's little understood volunteer force. At the theoretical level, though the securitization framework is helpful, several limitations are revealed in applying it to Malaysia's immigration response.
Subject:Social sciences; Border control; Foreign labor; Globalization; Immigration enforcement; Malaysia; Migration; Security; Southeast Asia; Political science; Immigration policy; Border patrol; Government; 0615:Political science
Added Entry:P. D. Hutchcroft
Added Entry:The University of Wisconsin - Madison