Malaysia–United States relations
Malaysia–United States relations (Malay: Hubungan Malaysia–Amerika Syarikat) are bilateral relations between Malaysia and the United States. The two countries have long been close allies and diplomatic partners.
According to global opinion polls, only 27% of Malaysians viewed the US favourably in 2007, likely due to disapproval of US foreign policy against fellow Islamic nations. However, as of 2013, 55% of Malaysians view the US favourably, declining somewhat down to 51% in 2014. According to the same poll conducted in 2014, 54% of Malaysians have confidence that U.S. President Barack Obama will do the right thing in international affairs. According to the 2012 US Global Leadership Report, 34% of Malaysians approve of US leadership, with 31% disapproving and 35% uncertain.
|Area||329,847 km² (127,355 sq mi)||9,826,630 km² (3,794,066 sq mi )|
|Population Density||83/km² (216/sq mi)||31/km² (80/sq mi)|
|Capital||Kuala Lumpur||Washington, D.C.|
|Largest City||Kuala Lumpur – 1,887,674 (7,200,000 Metro)||New York City – 8,214,426 (18,818,536 Metro)|
|Government||Federal constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy||Federal presidential, constitutional republic|
|First Leader||Tunku Abdul Rahman||George Washington|
|Current Leader||Najib Razak (Prime Minister)
Abdul Halim (Constitutional Monarch)
|Barack Obama (President)|
|Official languages||Bahasa Malaysia||None at federal level (English de facto)|
|Official National Anthem||Negaraku (My Country)||The Star Spangled Banner|
|Main Religions||60.6% Islam, 19.1% Buddhism, 9.0% Christianity, 6.3% Hinduism, 2.6% traditional Chinese religions, 0.5% Judaism and 2% other religions||78% Christianity, 0.7% Buddhism, 1.2% Judaism, 0.8% Islam, 12% other religions/non-religious|
|GDP (nominal)||$307.178 billion ($10,578 Per capita)||$13.770 trillion ($44,190 Per Capita)|
Political relations became strained under the rule of Mahathir bin Mohamad. Tun Dr. Mahathir ruled from 1981 until 2003 and was critical of the foreign policy of the United States, especially the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration. Nevertheless, diplomatic relations between the two nations did not prevent United States from being one of the largest trading partners for Malaysia during Tun Dr. Mahathir's tenure. The US was, and still is one of the largest trading partners for Malaysia and is traditionally considered to be Malaysia's closest ally.
In 2002, Malaysia-US Friendship Council was established to strengthen the friendship between the Malaysian government and the US government. Datuk Amin Mohd Noor, Chairman of the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT), was appointed as the Secretary-General for this council. The council is headquartered in Washington D.C and sponsored by leading Malaysian companies to offer advice on matters relating to bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Two-way diplomatic ties between the two sovereign nations have thawed and subsequently warmed under the helm of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's administration. This led to US President Barack Obama's official visit to Malaysia in April 2014, the first visit by a sitting US President since 1966. President Obama and Prime Minister Najib issued a joint statement that, among other things, elevated the US-Malaysia relationship to a comprehensive partnership. Malaysia is currently pursuing the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty with the support of the US.
Currently, Malaysia and US continue to enjoy warm relations. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and US President Barack Obama are known to be close personal friends. On Christmas Eve 2014, both leaders played golf together at Obama's home state of Hawaii.
Trade and investment
The United States is the largest foreign investor in Malaysia. American companies are particularly active in the energy, electronics, and manufacturing sectors and employ nearly 200,000 Malaysian workers. While figures capturing the full range of foreign investment (including oil and gas) are not available. The cumulative value of US private investment in the manufacturing sector in Malaysia is roughly $15 billion.
In the 1970s, American companies, including Agilent AMD, Fairchild Semiconductor, Freescale, Intel, Texas Instruments and Western Digital pioneered the Malaysian electrical and electronics (E&E) sector, which exports billions of dollars of equipment to global supply chains every year. Major US oil and gas companies, including ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Hess and Murphy Oil, have invested billions of dollars to develop Malaysia’s energy resources. Recent US investors include Hershey, Kellogg, Bose and Darden.
Malaysian investment in the United States is small but growing, particularly in leisure, gaming and biotechnology. Significant Malaysian companies operating in the United States include Genting's Resort World Casino and MOL Global, a New York Stock Exchange listed company.
The United States is Malaysia's fourth largest trading partner and Malaysia is the 22nd largest trading partner of the US Annual two-way trade in goods and services in 2013 amounted to approximately $44 billion. The United States and Malaysia launched negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) but did not conclude an agreement after eight rounds of talks.
In 2010, Malaysia joined the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) (Japan subsequently joined the negotiations in 2013). This agreement seeks to expand market access, strengthen intellectual property protections, and support high labour and environmental standards while fostering greater economic integration among participants.
The United States and Malaysia enjoy strong security co-operation. Malaysia hosts the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counterterrorism (SEARCCT), where over 2000 officials from various countries have received training. The United States is among the foreign countries that has collaborated with the center in conducting capacity building programmes. The US and Malaysia share a strong military-to-military relationship with numerous exchanges, training, joint exercises, and visits.
Malaysia’s Peacekeeping Center provides pre-deployment training to Malaysian and other peacekeepers before deployment on UN missions. Through the Global Peace Operations Initiative, the United States provided support for the Malaysian Peacekeeping Center.
During President Obama’s April 2014 visit, Malaysia joined the Proliferation Security Initiative.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and President Barack Obama met just before the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on 12 April 2010. This meeting was thought by many to represent a significant improvement in US-Malaysia relations. This was their first one-on-one meeting. During their talk Obama sought further assistance from Malaysia in stemming nuclear proliferation which Obama described as the greatest threat to world security. In June 2009 Najib and Obama discussed via telephone the global financial crisis, nuclear non-proliferation issues and two Malaysians detained at Guantanamo. During the summit Najib stressed that Malaysia only supported nuclear programmes designed for peaceful purposes. Najib's attendance at the summit was part of a week-long official visit to the United States.
On 21 October 2013, Secretary Of State, John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker visited Kuala Lumpur to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Secretary Kerry visited Malaysia again from 4 to 6 August 2015 to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) .
The following are senior US diplomats and politicians who have visited Malaysia:
- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Kuala Lumpur in July 2006.
- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a 3-day bilateral visit to Kuala Lumpur in November 2010.
- US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Malaysia in November 2010.
- US Attorney General Eric Holder visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July 2012.
- US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August 2013.
- US Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in November 2013.
- US Trade Representative Michael Froman visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on four occasions, most recently in July 2014.
- US Congress bipartisan delegation led by Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in February 2015.
American embassy to Malaysia
The American embassy in Malaysia is located in Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. The Principal US Embassy Officials include:
- Ambassador – Joseph C. Yun
- Deputy Chief of Mission – Edgard D. Kagan
- Political Counselor- Tressa Finerty
- Economic Counselor – Andrew R. Herrup
- Public Affairs Counselor – Frank J Whitaker
- Consul - Wendy Vincent
- Management Counselor – James Kent Stiegler
- Defense Attaché – John Segura
- Commercial Counselor – Stephen Jacques
- Agricultural Attaché – Chris Rittgers
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Media related to Malaysia – United States relations at Wikimedia Commons