Foreign relations of Malaysia

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Malaysia is an active member of various international organisations, including the Commonwealth of Nations, the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the Non-Aligned Movement. It has also in recent times been an active proponent of regional co-operation.

Foreign policy 1957–1969[edit]

Malaysia has been a member of the Commonwealth since independence in 1957, when it entered into the Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement (AMDA) with the United Kingdom whereby Britain guaranteed the defence of Malaya (and later Malaysia). The presence of British and other Commonwealth troops were crucial to Malaysia's security during the Malayan Emergency (1948–1960) and the Indonesian Confrontation (1962–1966), which was sparked by Malaya's merger with the British colonies of Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo to form Malaysia in 1963.

The British defence guarantee ended following Britain's decision in 1967 to withdraw its forces east of Suez, and was replaced in 1971 with the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) by which Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore agreed to co-operate in the area of defence, and to "consult" in the event of external aggression or the threat of attack on Malaysia or Singapore. The FPDA continues to operate, and the Five Powers have a permanent Integrated Area Defence System based at RMAF Butterworth, and organise annual naval and air exercises.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman (up to 1970), Malaysia pursued a strongly pro-Commonwealth anti-communist foreign policy. Nonetheless, Malaysia was active in the opposition to apartheid that saw South Africa quit the Commonwealth in 1961, and was a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967 and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in 1969, with the Tunku as its first Secretary-General in 1971.

Foreign policy since 1969[edit]

Under Prime Ministers Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Hussein Onn, Malaysia shifted its policy towards non-alignment and neutrality. Malaysia's foreign policy is officially based on the principle of neutrality and maintaining peaceful relations with all countries, regardless of their ideology or political system, and to further develop relations with other countries in the region.[1] In 1971, ASEAN issued its neutralist and anti-nuclear Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) Declaration. In the same year, Malaysia joined the Non-Aligned Movement. Consistent with this policy Malaysia established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1974.

This policy shift was continued and strengthened by Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, who pursued a regionalist and pro-South policy with at times strident anti-Western rhetoric. He long sought to establish an East Asian Economic Group as an alternative to APEC, excluding Australia, New Zealand and the Americas, and during his premiership Malaysia signed up to an ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and ASEAN+3, a regional forum with China, Japan and South Korea. He was involved with a spat with Australian prime minister Paul Keating, who called him a "recalcitrant" after he refused to attend the APEC summit in Seattle.

A strong tenet of Malaysia's policy is national sovereignty and the right of a country to control its domestic affairs.[2] Malaysia views regional cooperation as the cornerstone of its foreign policy. It attaches a high priority to the security and stability of Southeast Asia, and has tried to strengthen relations with other Islamic states.[3] Malaysia was a leading advocate of expanding ASEAN's membership to include Laos, Vietnam, and Burma, arguing that "constructive engagement" with these countries, especially Burma, will help bring political and economic changes. Malaysia is also a member of G-15 and G-77 economic groupings.

Despite Mahathir's frequently anti-Western rhetoric he worked closely with Western countries, and led a crackdown against Islamic fundamentalists after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Under his successor, Abdullah Badawi, relations with Western countries, particularly Australia, have improved. The current Minister of Foreign Affairs is Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, who assumed office on 18 March 2008.

Malaysia has never recognised Israel and has no diplomatic ties with the state.[4] It has remained a strong supporter of Palestine,[5] and has called for Israel to be taken to the International Criminal Court over the Gaza flotilla raid.[6] Malaysian peacekeeping forces are present in Lebanon[7] and has contributed to many other UN peacekeeping missions.[8] The lack of recognition of Israel became an issue with respect to Malaysia's participation in a United Nations peacekeeping force after the Lebanon-Israel conflict of 2006.

International affiliations[edit]

Malaysia is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation).[9][10] It is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.[11] Kuala Lumpur was the site of the first East Asia Summit in 2005,[3] and Malaysia has chaired ASEAN, the OIC, and the NAM in the past. A former British colony, it is also a member of the Commonwealth.[12]

Malaysia is affiliated with the United Nations and many of its specialised agencies, including UNESCO, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, International Atomic Energy Agency; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. It is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Developing 8 Countries.[13][14][15] Asian Development Bank, Five-Power Defense Arrangement, G-77, and South Centre.[citation needed] On 31 October 2011 Malaysia became a party to the Antarctic Treaty.[16]

International disputes[edit]

The policy towards territorial disputes by the Malaysian government is one of pragmatism, solving disputes in a number of ways, including some resolved in the International Court of Justice.[17]

Spratly Islands[edit]

Malaysia has asserted sovereignty over the Spratly Islands together with China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Brunei. Tensions have eased since the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea". However, it is not the legally binding code of conduct sought by some parties.[18] Malaysia was not party to a March 2005 joint accord among the national oil companies of China, the Philippines and Vietnam on conducting marine seismic activities in the Spratly Islands. Malaysia has maintained a balance relations with the countries involved in this dispute.[19]

Ligitan, Sipadan and Ambalat[edit]

ICJ awarded Ligitan and Sipadan islands, also claimed by Indonesia and Philippines, to Malaysia but left the maritime boundary in the hydrocarbon-rich Celebes Sea in dispute,[18] culminating in hostile confrontations in March 2005 over concessions to the Ambalat oil block.

Singapore[edit]

Singapore was a part of Malaysia for two years (1963–65), but it ultimately was asked by Tunku to secede after increased racial tensions due to the election campaigns in 1964. Today, disputes continue among other things, over the pricing of deliveries of raw untreated water to Singapore, Singapore's land reclamation causing a negative environmental impact in Malaysian waters, a new bridge to replace the Johor-Singapore Causeway which Singapore does not want to pay for, maritime boundaries,[18] the redevelopment of Malayan Railway lands in Singapore and Pedra Branca. Both parties however, agreed to ICJ arbitration on the island dispute. On 24 May 2008, the International Court of Justice ruled that Pedra Branca belonged to Singapore with the nearby Middle Rocks going to Malaysia.[18] Regarding railway land in Singapore, see also Malaysia-Singapore Points of Agreement of 1990. On introducing budget flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the stumbling block appears to be Malaysia's sympathy towards flag carrier Malaysia Airlines, and preference for the existing near duopoly with Singapore Airlines.

The Philippines[edit]

Main article: North Borneo dispute

The Philippines has a dormant claim to eastern Sabah.[18]

Brunei[edit]

Malaysia's land boundary with Brunei around Limbang is no longer in dispute. On 16 March 2009, Brunei announced its decision to drop a long-standing claim to Sarawak's Limbang district. This was the result of the two countries resolving their various land and sea territorial disputes. This issue was resolved along with several other disputes with the sealing and signing of letters of exchange by Abdullah and the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei at Istana Nurul Iman. As of 2010, the two countries are working towards resolving disputes over their maritime boundaries.[18]

Bilateral relations[edit]

ASEAN[edit]

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Brunei January 1984

Brunei has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has a high commission in Bandar Seri Begawan. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations. The states of Sarawak and Sabah in East Malaysia are connected to Brunei via the Pan Borneo Highway. Brunei has denounced its claims on Limbang and recognises Malaysia's full sovereignty. In 2003, Brunei and Malaysia ceased gas and oil exploration in their disputed offshore and deep water seabeds and negotiations have stalemated prompting consideration of international adjudication.

 Burma 1 March 1957

Burma has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[20]

Relations between the two countries were established on 1 March 1957 and the first Burma mission at the legation level was set up in Kuala Lumpur in June 1959 and later raised to the embassy level.[20]

 Cambodia 2 December 1996

More than 24,000 Cambodians visited Malaysia since the first half of 2012, while Malaysian visited to Cambodia numbered 54,000.[21] In 2011, bilateral trade between the two countries worth over US$319.5 million and in 2010 Malaysia were consider as one of the biggest investors in the country with the total investments were U$2.19 billion while Malaysian investments in Cambodia during the past two years totalling U$118 million.[21][22]

 Indonesia
 Laos

During the collapse of the Communist Bloc, the Soviet Union could no longer afford aid for the development of Laos.[23] This made Laos seek aid from other countries to help develop their country and has led the country to adopt a neutral foreign policy.[23] When this policy of neutrality was adopted, relations with Malaysia were established.[23]

 Philippines
  • The Philippines has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Manila.
  • Despite religious differences (the former is mostly Muslim, while the latter is predominantly Roman Catholic). Malaysia and the Philippines share a one-of-a-kind relationship rooted on the bases of geography, ethnicity, and political aspirations.
  • Both countries are members of the Asian Union.
  • The countries are both involved in ongoing disputes over ownership of the Spratly Islands and the Philippines has a claim on the eastern Sabah in northern Borneo though this is currently not being actively pursued.
 Singapore

Singapore has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has a high commission in Singapore. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations. See also Malaysia-Singapore border, Pedra Branca dispute

 Thailand

Thailand has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in Bangkok. Recently, Thai-Malay relations have soured considerably due to the ethnically-Malay Pattani separatists in three southern provinces of Thailand.

 Vietnam 30 March 1973
  • Vietnam has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Hanoi.
  • Malaysia forged diplomatic ties with the modern-day Vietnamese state in March 1973 which have lasted until today. Relations between two countries were frosty in the late 1970s and 1980s as a result of the Cambodian–Vietnamese War and the influx of Vietnamese boat people into Malaysia. The subsequent resolution of these issues in the late 1980s saw the cultivation of strong trade and economic ties, and bilateral trade between both countries grew exponentially in the 1990s. and later expanded to other areas of major co-operation including Information Technology, education and defence in the 2000s.

Middle East[edit]

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Bahrain

Bahrain has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[24] and Malaysia has an embassy in Manama.[25]

 Egypt 1957
  • Egypt has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Cairo.
 Iran

Diplomatic relations between Iran and Malaysia are brotherly and cooperative, with Iran having its Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia having its Embassy in Tehran. The two countries are members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the D8.

The Economic trade between Iran and Malaysia is quite sturdy as well, amounting to US$1.43 billion as of 2008.[26] In 2010, ASEAN jointly with Iran opened a trade center in Malaysia to promote trade ties between Iran and the regional countries.[27]

 Israel
None

Despite initial contact after the independence of Malaya, no diplomatic relations were made. Malaysia consistently rejected relations with Israel as it tried to increase its relations with Arab states and shore up support for its conflict with Indonesia. Malaysia officially declared it did not recognise Israel in 1966. Relations ceased to exist until the 1990s, when limited economic ties were made, although diplomatic ties were explicitly rejected. Malaysia has stated it will open ties with Israel upon a settlement of the issue of Palestine.[28]

 Jordan

Jordan has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[29] and Malaysia has an embassy in Amman.[30] Relations between the two countries are mainly in economic and Islamic affairs.

 Kuwait

Kuwait has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in Kuwait City.[31] Relations are mainly in economic cooperation.

 Lebanon

Lebanon has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[32] and Malaysia has an embassy in Beirut.[33]

 Oman 1983

Oman and Malaysia signed an agreement for Oman to import frozen chicken from Malaysia, costing 120 million Malaysian ringgit. Oman imports most of its food, up to 80%.[34]

 Palestine

Palestine has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[35] Malaysia is a supporter of the Palestinian bid for UN membership.[36]

 Qatar

Malaysia has an embassy in Doha,[37] and Qatar has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[38]

 Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in Riyadh. Relations, both diplomatic and economic, are quite close between the two Muslim-majority OIC members. Additionally, there is a sizeable population of Malaysian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.

 Syria 1958

Syria has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in Damascus. Syria and Malaysia negotiated over a $30 billion worth of contracts over Malaysian companies building infrastructure in Syria.[39]

 Turkey 1964
 United Arab Emirates 1983

United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in Abu Dhabi.

 Yemen

Malaysia has an embassy in Sana'a,[40] and Yemen has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[41]

Other parts of Asia[edit]

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Azerbaijan 5 April 1993
  • Azerbaijan has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[42]
  • Malaysia embassy in Ankara, Turkey is accredited to Azerbaijan.[43]
  • Malaysia recognise the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan on 31 December 1991 and in 5 April 1993 diplomatic relations has been established.[44]
 Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Malaysia has a high commission in Dhaka.
  • Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • Malaysia and Bangladesh share common places in many global organisations, much less share cultural connections.
  • Both the two countries are members of the OIC, the Asia Cooperation Dialogue.
 China 1974

China has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in Beijing and a consulate-general in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Diplomatic relations were established in 1974.

Following the end of the Cold War, diplomatic foreign relations between China and Malaysia immediately and positively changed. That being said, political and cultural connections between the two nations began to strengthen. Both countries are full members of APEC, and there is a sizeable population of Chinese in Malaysia.

 East Timor

East Timor has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[45] and Malaysia has an embassy in Dili.[46]

Since 1999, Malaysia has contributed to many UN peacekeeping missions on the country, such as one are the Operation Astute during the 2006 East Timorese crisis.[47] Malaysia also has provided assistance to Timor-Leste in the area of human resources development through various training programmes and providing assistance to East Timor in its nation building efforts.[47]

 Hong Kong

Under the "One Country, Two Systems" law, the People's Republic of China is responsible for diplomatic and defence affair of Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong enjoys significant autonomy in economic, trade, financial and monetary matters.[48] Currently, Malaysia has a consulate general office in Wan Chai and the relations are mostly based on economic cooperation.[49]

 India 1957[50]
  • India has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has a high commission in New Delhi.
  • Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Asian Union.
  • India and Malaysia are also connected by various cultural and historical ties that date back to antiquity.
  • The two countries are on excellently friendly terms with each other seeing as Malaysia is home to great number of Indians who have become naturalised.
  • Prime Minister Najib Razak made his official trip to India in January 2010.
  • Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh made a three-day official visit in November 2010.
 Japan 1957[51]

Japan has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia has an embassy in Tokyo.

Bilateral economic trades between Malaysia and Japan have increased. In 2011, total trade between both countries was at MYR145.3 billion. Japan has increased its import of liquefied natural gas to about 34%. Before 2007, the bilateral rate between both countries were at a deficit. About 1,400 Japanese companies are operating in Malaysia creating more than 11,000 job opportunities. Halal certification endorsement by the Malaysian government has allowed Malaysian companies in the halal food industry to compete well in the Japanese market. The building of a halal park in Japan is also considered.[52]

 Kazakhstan 16 March 1992

Kazakhstan has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur while Malaysia has an embassy in Astana. Both are members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

 Kyrgyzstan March 1992
  • Kyrgyzstan has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[53]
  • Malaysia embassy in Tashkent is also accredited to Kyrgyzstan.[54]
 Maldives 1968

Malaysia high commission in Colombo is also accredited to Maldives,[55] and Maldives has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur.[56]

 Mongolia 8 September 1971

Malaysia has an honorary consulate in Ulaanbaatar,[57] and Mongolia honorary consulate in Bangkok was accredited to Malaysia.[58] However since 2006, Mongolia has not presented any ambassador to Malaysia for seven years due to the murder of a Mongolian citizen on the country, but later decided to appointing an ambassador on 2014.[59]

   Nepal 1 January 1960

Malaysia has an embassy in Kathmandu,[60] and Nepal has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[61] Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 January 1960,[62] with bilateral relations between Malaysia and Nepal have developed from historic grounds.[63]

 North Korea 30 June 1973[64]

North Korea maintains friendly diplomatic ties with Malaysia. In an effort to boost tourism between the two countries, North Korea announced that Malaysians will not require a visa to visit North Korea.[65] North Korea's flag carrier, Air Koryo has regular flights to Kuala Lumpur. Recently, Malaysia's Bernama News Agency reported that the two countries will enhance cooperation in information-related areas.[66] North Korea maintains an embassy in Kuala Lumpur while Malaysia has an embassy in Pyongyang.[67][68]

 Pakistan

Pakistan has its High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has its High Commission in Islamabad. Pakistan has strong brotherly relations with Malaysia. Both are members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Commonwealth of Nations.

There is a trade and cultural pact between the two countries, under which the import and export of various goods is done on fairly large scale. The President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan along with other high officials visited Malaysia many times and Malaysian officials also paid a good will visit to Pakistan. Both countries enjoy close relations and military links of mutual friendship and the cooperation has further strengthened.

Since the independence of Malaysia, Pakistan has supported the re-unification of Singapore, Pattani and Brunei as integral part of Kuala Lumpur's administration; it also considers the Riau Islands as part of Malaya Federation since its independence in 1960.

Pakistan and Malaysia are linked by air transport. Pakistan International Airlines and Malaysia Airlines operate many weekly flights between Karachi and Kuala Lumpur. Both Malaysia and Pakistan were a part of the South east Asian version of Nato called Seato also known as a 'mutual defence pact'.[citation needed]

 South Korea 1960

The two countries established relations in 1960. South Korean president Lee Myung-bak was in Kuala Lumpur from 9–10 December 2010 for a two-day visit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and South Korea.[69]

 Sri Lanka 1957

Malaysia has a high commission in Colombo,[70] and Sri Lanka has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur.[71]

The diplomatic relations has been establish since 1957, President Chandrika Kumaratunga made a state visit on 1997 and several memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed during the meeting.[72]

 Taiwan 1960 (ceased on 1974)

The relations are conducted on an unofficial level as Kuala Lumpur has changed to a one-China policy in 1974 and only recognised the People's Republic of China. However, the economic and the cultural relations are still maintained with Malaysia has an trade centre office in Taipei,[73] and Taiwan has an economic and cultural centre in Kuala Lumpur.[74]

 Tajikistan 11 March 1992
  • Tajikistan embassy in Putrajaya is currently under construction.[75][76]
  • Both countries have been enjoying warm diplomatic relations since the relations been establish in 11 March 1992, and are willing to make constructive efforts towards progress.[77]
 Turkmenistan
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Ashgabat,[78]
  • Turkmenistan has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[79]
 Uzbekistan 1992[80]

Europe[edit]

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Albania See Foreign relations of Albania
  • Albania has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
 Austria 6 August 1962

Austria has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[81] and Malaysia has an embassy in Vienna.[82]

Malaysia is one of Austria's most important trading partners in Southeast Asia.[83] In 2003, Austrian exports to Malaysia, covering a wide range of products such as machinery and components, especially electrical machinery and parts thereof, paper, paperboard, telecommunication equipment and medical and pharmaceutical products, declined by 10.8% to 82.6 million. Malaysian imports to Austria, consisting mainly of one product group, namely electronic and electrical goods, especially semiconductors, reduced by half to 236.4 million. In Kuala Lumpur, the Austrian Trade office offers support to Austrian and Malaysian companies to assist them in forging new partnerships.

Austrian President Heinz Fischer made a state visit to Malaysia on 7–9 November 2010, visiting Kuala Lumpur and Malacca Town.

 Belarus 5 March 1992
 Belgium

Belgium has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in Brussels.

 Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[85]
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Sarajevo.[85]
 Croatia 4 May 1992

Croatia has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[86] and Malaysia has an embassy in Zagreb.[87]

 Czech Republic
  • Czech Republic has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[88]
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Prague.[89]
  • Following the establishment of relations with the Soviet Union in 1968, Malaysia also expanded its relations with Czech Republic and other Eastern European countries.[90]
 Denmark 1963

Denmark has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia is represented in Denmark, through its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.[91][92]

 Estonia 4 November 1993 See Foreign relations of Estonia
  • Estonia has an honorary consul in Kuala Lumpur.[93][94][95]
  • Malaysia embassy in Helsinki is accredited to Estonia.[96]
  • Malaysia has recognised the independence of Estonia on 11 September 1991 shortly after the dissolution of Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic on 20 August 1991.[96] While the relations between the two countries has been established since 4 November 1993.[96]
 European Union

The relations started with the 1980 European Commission–ASEAN Agreement and were developed since the formation of European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957.[97][98]

In 2011, Malaysia is the European Union second largest trading partner in Southeast Asia after Singapore and the 23rd largest trading partner for the European Union in the world,[98][99] while the European Union is Malaysia's 4th largest trading partner.[100]

 Finland 1972
 France 1957
  • France has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Paris.
 Georgia 7 May 1993 See Foreign relations of Georgia
  • Georgia is represented in Malaysia through its embassy in Beijing (China).
  • Malaysia is represented in Georgia through its embassy in Kiev (Ukraine).
 Germany

Germany has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in Berlin.

 Greece
  • The Greek embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, is also accredited to Malaysia. In the opposite way, the Malaysian embassy in Berlin is at the same time accredited to Greece. There is an Honorary Greek Consulate in Kuala Lumpur and there is a Malaysian honorary consulate in Athens.
  • Greece exports specialised machinery, non-ferrous metals, tobacco, metal goods, medical products, minerals and fruit, and imports industrial equipment, oil, footwear, paper, rubber, vehicles and telecommunications equipment from Malaysia.
 Holy See 2011
 Hungary 1969
 Ireland
 Italy
  • Italy has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[104]
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Rome.[105]
 Kosovo 2008

Formal relations between the two countries first began in 2000, when Malaysia became the first Asian country to establish a liaison office in Kosovo.[106] Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008 and Malaysia recognised it on 30 October 2008.[107] Since that time, Malaysia has pledged assistance to Kosovo in several areas.

 Latvia

Latvia doesn't have any embassy in Malaysia.[108] while Malaysian embassy in Helsinki is accredited to Latvia.[109][110]

 Lithuania 1994

Lithuania has an honorary consulate in Kuala Lumpur,[111] while Malaysia embassy in Stockholm were also accredited to Lithuania.

 Netherlands

Netherlands has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in The Hague. The Dutch established relations with the Sultanate of Johor in the early 17th century, and in 1641 they captured the Portuguese colony of Malacca (on the south-western coast of today's Peninsular Malaysia). With a long interruption during the Napoleonic Wars, the Dutch Malacca era lasted until 1824.

In the 20th century, the Netherlands established diplomatic relations with Malaysia soon after the Asian state became independent. The erudite Dutch Sinologist and author Robert van Gulik (who was raised in the former Dutch East Indies himself) served as the ambassador of the Netherlands in Kuala Lumpur in the early 1960s. During his diplomatic service there he became closely acquainted with Malaysia's gibbons (he kept a few in his ambassadorial residence) and became sufficiently interested in this ape species to start the study of its role in ancient Chinese culture, the results of which he later published in his last book (Gibbon in China).[112]

 Norway
  • Malaysia has a consulate in Oslo, while Norway has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[113]
 Poland

Malaysia has an embassy in Warsaw,[114] and Poland has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur and a consulate in Kuching.[115][116]

 Romania 22 March 1969

Malaysia has an embassy in Bucharest.[117] Romania has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[118]

 Russia 1968 (as Soviet Union)

Russia has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[119] and Malaysia has an embassy in Moscow.[120]

 Serbia 2003 See Foreign relations of Serbia

Entry to Malaysia was refused to all Serbian passport holders until 2007, unless they were in possession of a letter of approval from Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs.[121] During the time, citizens of Serbia and Montenegro were banned from participating in Malaysia My Second Home program.[122] However, in August 2008, senior officials of Serbia and Malaysia held their first diplomatic meeting since 1991. Afterwards, Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić said that establishing an embassy in Malaysia was a possibility, bilateral agreements between the two nations would be signed, and Malaysia has removed all visa restrictions for Serbian citizens. This meant that now only the citizens of Israel were banned from participating in Malaysia My Second Home program.[123] Currently, Malaysia has an embassy in Belgrade while Serbian embassy in Jakarta was also accredited to Malaysia.[124][125]

 Spain 12 May 1967

Malaysia has an embassy in Madrid,[126] and Spain has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[127] Spain established a diplomatic relations with Malaysia in 12 May 1967 with both the Malaysian and Spanish embassy were opened in 1985.[128]

 Sweden 1958

Diplomatic relations were established in 1958.[129] Sweden has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in Stockholm. As of 2009, 90 Swedish companies are present in Malaysia and about 450 Swedish citizens live in Malaysia.[130]

  Switzerland 1963

Switzerland has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[131] and Malaysia has an embassy in Bern.[132] The diplomatic relations has been established since 1963.[133]

 Ukraine 3 March 1992
  • Malaysia has an embassy in Kiev.
  • Ukraine has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
 United Kingdom

United Kingdom has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has a high commission in London. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Americas[edit]

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Argentina 7 June 1967[134]

Argentina has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[135] and Malaysia has an embassy in Buenos Aires.[136] Argentina established diplomatic relations with Malaysia in 7 June 1967.[134]

 Brazil

Brazil has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[137] and Malaysia has an embassy in Brasilia.[138]

 Canada 1957[139]

Canada has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has a high commission in Ottawa. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Canada's trade relationship with Malaysia includes commerce across several sectors.[140]

 Chile 1979[141]

The Chile–Malaysia relations is mainly based on trade. In 2009, the total trade between Chile and Malaysia is $336 million with the total Malaysian export to Chile were $16.8 million while the import with $148.7 million.[142]

 Colombia 19 August 1987[143]

Ambassador of Colombia in Malaysia also accredited to East Timor, Thailand and Vietnam, while Malaysian Embassy in Lima, Peru, accredited to Colombia. Both are the members of United Nations, Movement of Non-Aligned Cooperation Forum Asia-Latin America (FEALAC) and Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).

 Cuba 6 February 1975[144][145]

Malaysia has an embassy in Havana, while Cuba has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

 Ecuador 1994

Their relations covers on political, commercial, cultural and social activities.

 Jamaica
Further information: Jamaica–Malaysia relations

In 2006, Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller and Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, have expressed satisfaction with the progress of bilateral relations between the two countries and have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening these relations through the exchange of visits and cooperation in the economic, technological, shipping, health and educational sectors, among other areas.[146][147]

 Mexico 27 March 1974[148]

Malaysia has an embassy in Mexico City,[149] and Mexico has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[150] Relations between the two countries was established on 27 March 1974.[148]

 Peru

Malaysia is one of the main destination for Peruvian exports with the total trade in 2012 records $235 million.[151] Peruvian exports to Malaysia total around $28 million while Malaysian exports with $207 million.[151] In 1995, an agreement on mutual promotion and protection of investments has been signed between the two countries.[152]

 United States

Economic ties are robust. The United States is Malaysia's largest trading partner and Malaysia is the tenth-largest trading partner of the U.S. Annual two-way trade amounts to $49 billion. The United States and Malaysia launched negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in June 2006. President Barack Obama had a state visit during April 2014

 Venezuela 1986

Malaysia has an embassy in Caracas while Venezuela has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Both countries are full members of the Group of 77.

Oceania[edit]

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Australia
 Fiji 1977
 New Zealand

New Zealand has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has a high commission in Wellington. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

 Solomon Islands 1986 or 1988

Malaysia has an honorary consul in Solomon Islands while Malaysia high commission in Port Moresby also accredited to the country,[154][155] and Solomon Islands has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur.[156][157][158]

Africa[edit]

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Algeria

Algeria has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[159] and Malaysia has an embassy in Algiers.[160]

 Ethiopia

Ethiopia has a consulate-general in Kuala Lumpur,[161] while Malaysia has no embassy in Ethiopia.

Malaysia is one of the major trade partner and also one of the largest investors in Ethiopia.[162][163][164]

 Ghana

Ghana has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur,[165] and Malaysia has a high commission in Accra.[166]

 Kenya

Kenya has maintained a resident Mission in Kuala Lumpur since in 1996. Malaysia opened a diplomatic Mission in Nairobi in 2005.[167]

 Libya

Libya has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[168] and Malaysia has an embassy in Tripoli.[169] Relations are mainly in economic cooperation.

 Malawi

Malaysia together with Malawi are both significant tea producers, and cooperate in tri-national (with India) discussions of market conditions and promotion of the product globally.[170]

 Mauritius January 1987[171]

Mauritius has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur, while Malaysia embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe also accredited to Mauritius. Both are members of Commonwealth of Nations. Cooperation between the two countries include cultural exchanges, trade in goods, financial assistances and capacity building in various sectors.

 Morocco 1963

Malaysia has an embassy in Rabat,[172] and Morocco has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[173]

 Namibia

Malaysia has a high commission in Windhoek,[174] and Namibia has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur.[175] Both countries were once part of the British Empire and before Namibia achieved its independence, Malaysia has contributed to some operations in Namibia by sending a group of soldiers to help monitor the Namibia elections and peace process.[176] Today, the relations are much more focused in economic cooperation.

 Nigeria 1965

The High Commissioner of Nigeria, Bello Shehu Ringim, speaking with the Yang Dipertua Dewan Negara, Abu Zahar Ujang, expresses the concern of Nigerian students being fooled by Malaysian private-owned universities and social problems. The Nigerian government are serious about the problems by its citizens and the negative perception of its students. Malaysia is committed to Nigeria's concern and will give solutions to the problem.[177]

 Senegal

Malaysia has an embassy in Dakar,[178] and Senegal has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur.[179]

 South Africa 8 November 1993

Relations are good between Malaysia and South Africa, who view each other as close partners. Malaysia is the fourth largest new investor in South Africa, and the countries have exchanged High Commissioners.[180]

 Sudan

The stability of Sudan has enabled the country to take experiences from Malaysia in law legislation and investor-friendly policies, as claimed by Mahathir Mohammad, former prime minister of Malaysia who visits Khartoum in November 2012. At least seven Memorandum of Understandings have been made, related to Malaysian companies. The expected growth of bilateral trade between Malaysia and Sudan will have a big impact on the import of Sudanese beef.[181]

 Tanzania

Malaysia has a high commission in Dar es Salaam, and Tanzania has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur.[182]

 Tunisia 1957

Several agreements were signed since 1969 covering a lot of sectors, including the agreement on suppression of visa and the agreement on economic and technical cooperation which signed in 1994. Several other drafts also are currently under negotiations.[183]

 Uganda 1962

Malaysia does not yet have a high commission in Kampala,[184] while Uganda has a consulate in Kuala Lumpur and Uganda high commission in India were also accredited to Malaysia.[185][186]

Malaysia and the Commonwealth of Nations[edit]

The Federation of Malaya became an independent native elective monarchy within the Commonwealth on the 31 August 1957 with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as head of state.

Malaya united with North Borneo (now Sabah), Sarawak, and Singapore to form Malaysia in 1963.

Singapore was expelled from Malaysia in 1965, and became an independent Commonwealth republic.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

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