Malaysia

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Embassies and consular services for Malaysia

Location Service areas
High Commission for Malaysia
New Zealand High Commission Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia

Our relationship with Malaysia

New Zealand’s relationship with Malaysia is one of our oldest in South East Asia. We celebrate 65 years of diplomatic relations in 2022.

Our long-standing friendship is based on strong ties in trade, education, security and defence, and tourism.

Education

Thousands of Malaysians have been educated in New Zealand, originally through the Colombo Plan, and many now occupy senior positions in business, the professions and government administration. Today a substantial proportion of Malaysian students studying in New Zealand are sponsored by the Malaysian Government, with the majority at university.

Find out more about the Colombo Plan(external link)

Defence and security

New Zealand’s defence relationship with Malaysia goes back to initial, very substantial, deployments during the “Emergency” and “Confrontation” in the 1950s and 1960s. The majority of New Zealand service personnel buried in Malaysia were returned to New Zealand in 2018 in Operation Te Auraki, in accord with their families’ wishes. Today the foundations of the defence relationship are the bilateral programme of co-operation and assistance, beginning in 1964, and the common membership of the Five-Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), established in 1971. The FPDA is comprised of Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom and Singapore. Malaysia and New Zealand’s defence forces continue to work well together in multinational peace-keeping operations, with past operations in Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and Lebanon.

Trade

2020 statistics

Total two-way trade

$2.82 billion

 

Exports to Malaysia

$1.2 billion

Top exports: dairy, meat and edible offal

Imports from Malaysia

$1.6 billion

Top imports: mineral fuels and oils, electrical machinery and equipment

GDP (2020)

US$336.7 billion

 
GDP per capita US$10,402  
GDP growth -5.67%  

Malaysia is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing export markets and our eleventh largest trading partner. Our trade relationship is underpinned by four free trade agreements: the Malaysia NZ Free Trade Agreement (MNZFTA), the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)(external link) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)(external link).

There is plenty of scope for trade to continue growing. There are more opportunities for cooperation in the education, forestry, health, biotechnology and agri-technology sectors.

Regional and multilateral links

Malaysia is influential in regional and international affairs, both bilaterally and through multilateral forums such as the UN, APEC, ASEAN, ASEAN Regional Forum, East Asia Summit (EAS), and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). Malaysia hosted APEC in 2020, launching the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040. New Zealand has now launched the implementation plan for the Putrajaya Vision 2040, as APEC 2021 host. with New Zealand hosting the following year. Malaysia and New Zealand work together in regional settings and bilaterally on shared regional interests such as peaceful management of disputes, non-proliferation and disarmament, maritime security, and countering violent extremism and people-smuggling.

Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealanders aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a 12-month working holiday visa for Malaysia.

To apply, you can go to the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington.

Embassies

Recent official calls 

  • November 2021: Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor had a call with Malaysia Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali for APEC 2021.
  • October 2021: Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta had a call with Malaysia Minister of Foreign Affairs Saifuddin Abdullah.
  • May 2021: Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor had a call with Malaysia Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali for the APEC 2021 Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting.
  • April 2021: Minister of Defence Peeni Henare had a call with Malaysia Minister of Defence Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
  • March 2021: Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta had a call with Malaysia Minister of Foreign Affairs Hishammuddin Hussein.
  • July 2020: Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker had a call with Malaysia Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali for the APEC 2020 Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting.
  • May 2020: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters had a call with Malaysia Minister of Foreign Affairs Hishammuddin Hussein.

Recent official visits

New Zealand to Malaysia

  • March 2019: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters met with Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
  • October 2018: Minister of Finance Grant Robertson met with his counterparts in Finance, Economic Affairs, and Youth/Sports.
  • December 2017: Governor General Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy had a four day State Visit to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Malaysia.
  • May 2017: Minister for Maori Development Te Ururoa Flavell visited Malaysia with a Maori Business Mission.
  • April 2017: Trade Minister Todd McClay visited Malaysia to meet Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed on Trans-Pacific Partnership matters.
  • March 2017: Minister Finlayson visited Singapore and Malaysia for a series of ministerial meetings about countering terrorism and senior law officer matters.
  • January 2017: Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse visited Malaysia on a UN High Commissioner for Refugees selection mission.

Malaysia to New Zealand

  • June 2019: Speaker of the House of Representatives His Excellency Dato’ Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof led a Malaysian parliamentary delegation. The visit included calls with Speaker Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, Parliamentary Under-secretary Fletcher Tabuteau, and Opposition Spokesperson for Trade Hon Todd McClay.
  • June 2019: Deputy Minister of Law YB Mohamed Hanipa Maidin visited for meetings with Minister of Justice Hon Andrew Little and Ministry of Justice officials.
  • March 2018: Sarawak State Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, YB Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah undertook an information gathering visit to New Zealand elite sports programs.
  • April 2017: Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin visited New Zealand as an ASEAN PM's Fellow.
  • February 2016: Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed visited for the TPP signing ceremony.
  • June 2015: Sarawak State Minister for Land Development, YB Tan Sri Dr James Masing, visited New Zealand.

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