A pejorative term extensively applied to former colonial powers to describe their activities and policies in respect of nations formerly under colonial tutelage and also others.
Originally a term of opprobrium or abuse it has morphed into a way of describing political and commercial activities designed to secure a particular result in the country at which they are aimed.
Britain and Malaysia provide a perfect practical illustration of neo-colonialism. When Britain ceded sovereignty over Malaya, and later its Borneo colonies, it did not abandon its commercial interests or influence there. To the contrary the business links strengthened once the political control element was out of the way.
There have been British commercial interests on a very large scale since Raffles set foot in Singapore all those years ago. Of course, since political independence, there has necessarily been a sharing out of the spoils but London still has a very considerable commercial presence in the area and a group of business interests who expect, and receive,UK governmental protection. At least from this and earlier Conservative administrations.
In recent years a new threat to these interests has emerged with the outing as a world class crook of the Malaysian Prime Minster. Not only does this have domestic implications in Malaysia with one of them being the probable ousting of this crook in approaching elections.
Any likely replacement for him and his associates in government in Kuala Lumpur carries an implication that vested commercial interests may be threatened. Whether this is so or not is less important than the belief in UK commercial circles that it would and therefore all that can be done to shore up the world class crook should be done.
It is known that official UK circles hold the opinion that sitting Prime Minister and mega crook Najib Razak is “certain to win re-election”. But with him the object of official denunciation by the US Department of Justice as a mega crook such a “certainty” cannot be relied on. So what else can be done to help?
Someone has come up with what they clearly consider to be a brilliant idea. A Royal Visit no less and at the highest practical level to stress the UK’s support for the ruling Malaysian party.
Whether and to what extent this event will have any practical effect on the political chances of mega thief Najib remains to be seen. But the sheer cynicism of it is breathtaking.
Politicians do what they perceive their political interests require them do and that often means dancing to the tune of their purse string holders. The only possible explanation for President Trump agreeing to receive a man openly denounced as a mega crook by his own Justice Depatrment was the prospect of US commercial advantage. Najib duly performed with a string of promises to buy American goods which he knows he has neither the money nor the intention to make good on.
With that apparent US political absolution in his pocket Najb visited Downing Street on his way home to see what assistance he could get there. The answer is now public. A visit from the Heir to the British Throne. A powerful initiative in Malaysia, a country wth a monarchical constitution and a tradition of subservience to royal authority on the part of its majority community
So, not for the first time, a small group of well heeled businessman are granted what they ask for to protect their commercial interests. The Visit may or may not help them but it will certainly add fuel to the fire on the part of those in the UK who seek to replace the Monarchy. The Palace may have to do what the politicians tell them to do. But at the cost of slitting their own throats?