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Embassies and consular services for Malaysia
|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 celebrated sixty-five years of diplomatic relations in 2022.
Our long-standing friendship is based on strong ties in trade, education, security and defence, and tourism.
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. As APEC host in 2021, New Zealand launched the implementation plan for the Putrajaya Vision 2040. 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.
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.
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 begun 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 peacekeeping operations, with past operations in Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and Lebanon.
New Zealand's trade with Malaysia is available on the New Zealand Trade Dashboard(external link).
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:
- Malaysia NZ Free Trade Agreement (MNZFTA),
- ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA),
- Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
- Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
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.
Information on New Zealand’s Working Holiday Scheme with Malaysia(external link) is available on the Immigration New Zealand website.