Love or loathe Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first prime minister of Malaya/Malaysia, he was not as "nationalist" and "neutralist" the way former supreme court judge Harun Hashim portrayed him to be.
According to Harun, who wrote in the New Straits Times on Sept 12, "In the early days of our independence, the US made its first attempts to gain a foothold in Malaya by persuading us to join the South East Asia Treaty Organisation (Seato) a military alliance led by the US by offering to build for free the East-West Highway in the north of Malaya bordering Thailand.
"Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra refused to have anything to do with Seato to keep this country from the presence of foreign troops on our soil."
As this writer has pointed out, while Malaya/Malaysia never formally joined Seato, its defence and security were indirectly but effectively and ultimately linked to the US-led military alliance, through the overlapping memberships of Britain, Australia and New Zealand in both Seato and the Anglo-Malayan/Malaysian Defence Agreement (AMDA).
In fact, since Australia, New Zealand and the US were members of the Anzus military alliance formed in 1951, American military resources could also be technically called into Malaya/Malaysia via AMDA after April 1959 when Australia and New Zealand joined AMDA.