Cambodia–Malaysia relations

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Cambodia–Malaysia relations
Map indicating locations of Cambodia and Malaysia


Diplomatic mission
Cambodian Embassy, Kuala LumpurMalaysian Embassy, Phnom Penh
Ambassador Rath ManyAmbassador Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim Vacant

Cambodia–Malaysia relations (Khmer: ទំនាក់ទំនងរវាងកម្ពុជានិងម៉ាឡេស៊ី tomneaktomnng rveang kampouchea ning mealesai; French: Relations entre le Cambodge et la Malaisie; Malay: Hubungan Kemboja–Malaysia; Jawi: هوبوڠن كمبوج–مليسيا) are foreign relations between Cambodia and Malaysia. Both countries are members of ASEAN. Cambodia has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur,[1] and Malaysia has an embassy in Phnom Penh.[2]

Country comparison[edit]

 Kingdom of Cambodia  Federation of Malaysia
Coat of Arms Royal arms of Cambodia.svg Coat of arms of Malaysia.svg
Flag Cambodia Malaysia
Population 15,957,223 31,360,000
Area 181,035 km2 (69,898 sq mi) 330,803 km2 (127,724 sq mi)
Population Density 81.8/km2 (212/sq mi) 92/km2 (240/sq mi)
Time zones 1 1
Capital Phnom Penh Kuala Lumpur
Largest City Phnom Penh – 1,501,725 Kuala Lumpur – 1,768,000
Government Unitary dominant-party parliamentary elective constitutional monarchy Federal parliamentary elective constitutional monarchy
Established 9 September 1953 (Independence from the French Empire proclaimed for Cambodia)
26 September 1989 (Independence from Vietnam proclaimed for Cambodia)
31 August 1957 (Independence from the British Empire proclaimed for the Federation of Malaya)
16 September 1963 (Proclamation of Malaysia)
Predecessor States French Colonial Period (1863–1953)
Protectorate of Cambodia (1863–1941; 1945–1953)
Japanese Occupation Period (1941–1945)
Kingdom of Cambodia (1941–1945)
Post–Colonial Period (1953–1982)
Kingdom of Cambodia (1953–1970)
 Khmer Republic (1970–1975)
Democratic Kampuchea (1975–1982)
Vietnamese Occupation Period (1979–1992)
 People's Republic of Kampuchea (1979–1989)
Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (1982–1990)
State of Cambodia (1989–1992)
National Government of Cambodia (1990–1993)
Independent Period (1993–present)
Transitional Authority in Cambodia (1992–1993)
 Kingdom of Cambodia (1993–present)
Portuguese Colonial Period (1511–1641)
Portuguese Malacca (1511–1641)
Dutch Colonial Period (1641–1825)
Dutch Malacca (1641–1795; 1818–1825)
British Colonial Period (1771–1946)
Straits Settlements (1826–1946)
 Federated Malay States (1895–1946)
Unfederated Malay States (1909–1946)
 Raj of Sarawak (1841–1946)
Crown Colony of Labuan (1848–1946)
 British North Borneo (1881–1946)
Japanese Occupation Period (1942–1945)
Occupied Malaya (1942–1945)
Occupied British Borneo (1942–1945)
Si Rat Malai (1943–1945)
Interim Military Period (1945–1946)
Military Administration of Malaya (1945–1946)
Military Administration of Borneo (1945–1946)
Self–Government Period (1946–1963)
 Malayan Union (1946–1948)
 Federation of Malaya (1948–1963)
Crown Colony of North Borneo (1946–1963)
Crown Colony of Sarawak (1946–1963)
Federation Period (1963–present)
 Federation of Malaysia (1963–present)
First Leader Queen Soma (historical)
Norodom (de jure)
Abdul Rahman of Negeri Sembilan (Monarch)
Tunku Abdul Rahman (Prime Minister)
Head of State Monarch: Norodom Sihamoni Monarch: Abdullah
Head of Government Prime Minister: Hun Sen Prime Minister: Muhyiddin Yassin
Deputy Head of Government Deputy Prime Minister: Ke Kim Yan None
Legislature Parliament (Bicameral) Parliament (Bicameral)
Upper House Senate
President: Say Chhum
President: Rais Yatim
Lower House National Assembly
President: Heng Samrin
House of Representatives
Speaker: Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof
Judiciary Federal Court
Chief Justice: Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat
National language Khmer Malaysian
GDP (nominal) $20.953 billion ($1,308 per capita) $800.169 billion ($25,833 per capita)


Relations between Cambodia and Malaysia were established on 31 August 1957. From 1969 to 1975, the Malaysian embassy in Beijing was accredited to Cambodia. The Malaysian embassy in Phnom Penh was closed after the Khmer Rouge regime reached the capital and took power in 1975. It was re-opened on 26 November 1991 following the signing of the Paris Peace Accord on 23 October 1991 and establishment of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia.[3][4]

Since then, the relations grew after both countries decide to discover other potential of economic co-operation.[5] The relations were also supported by Malaysian King Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail and Cambodian King Sihanouk.[5]

Economic relations[edit]

A total of 64,534 Cambodians visited Malaysia in 2013,[6] while Malaysian visitors to Cambodia numbered 54,000.[7] In 2011, bilateral trade between the two countries was worth over US$319.5 million and in 2010 Malaysia was considered one of the biggest investors in the country with total investments of U$2.19 billion while Malaysian investments in Cambodia during the previous two years totalled U$118 million.[7][8] In 2015, trade between the two countries amounted to $385.8 million, with Malaysia recorded $234.5 million in exports and $151.3 million in imports with Cambodia. In the same year, Malaysia became the fifth largest investor in Cambodia, with more than 150 Malaysian companies operating or having business interests. To increase the continuous business co-operation between companies in the two countries, a memorandum of understanding was signed.[9] There is also a Malaysia Cambodia Business Council.[10] In September 2019 during the visit of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the two countries signed two agreements on tourism and double tax avoidance to boost trade, investment and co-operation in tourism.[11][12][13][14]

Issues and incidents[edit]

Cambodian domestic workers ill-treatment in Malaysia[edit]

Cambodia is known as another source of domestic workers for Malaysia after Indonesia decided to stop sending their maids in 2016 due to frequent reports of abuse,[15] although they started to send their maids again in 2017.[16] Cambodians were not exempt from similar treatment, and many of their maids were also treated badly by their Malaysian employers or immigration officers who had their documents held for years after being cheated by recruitment agents in the country.[17][18][19] A report in 2016 stated that a Cambodian maid detained in one of Malaysian immigration centre saw three women of Cambodian and Vietnamese nationalities die there after being severely tortured, with other nationalities like Thai, Indonesian and Laotian prisoners badly tortured as well.[20] Previously in 2012, one Cambodian maid died after being starved to death by her employer.[21] Since 2011, Cambodia has banned its domestic workers from travelling to Malaysia.[22] The issues led to protest and criticism from various human rights groups in Cambodia who demanded the Cambodian government stop sending domestic workers until Malaysia adhered strictly to human rights,[23] although many Cambodians continued to explore job opportunities, mainly as domestic workers, in the hope of earning more money than they could at their home country.[24] Following negotiation between the two countries government, Cambodia lifted the ban for its workers to going to Malaysia, with Malaysia also legalising any Cambodians maid working illegally in the country.[25][26] In 2017, five Cambodian domestic workers were repatriated from Malaysia for working illegally.[22] Responding to the frequent maid abuse cases in Malaysia, the Malaysian Human Resource Ministry has released a "Guidelines and Tips for Employers of Foreign Domestic Helpers" to promote more cordial relationships and understanding between employers and their maids while minimising unpleasant incidents.[27] On 29 November 2017, the Cambodian government signed a Memorandum of Agreement to appoint the Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (PAPA) as its representative to monitor the safety and welfare of its citizens returning to work as domestic workers in Malaysia.[28] Each workers will be given a smartphone with security application by Malaysian Private Employment Agency and guidelines for hiring maids will also be provided to ensure that their welfare and safety are assured throughout the time. While for employers, the period for their workers to work are limited for at least two years and if any problems occurred, the employer can contact the employment agency that provides the maid.[29]

Detention of Malaysian nationals in Cambodia[edit]

Since 11 December 2018, around 47 Malaysian nationals have been detained by Cambodian authorities after they been suspected of being involved in illegal gamblings activities in the country, where the news are only arrived to Malaysia and confirmed by the Malaysian Foreign Ministry on 7 February 2019.[30] According to the one of the detainees, they were promised $1,500 monthly to work in Cambodia by Chinese nationals but was instead treated like bonded slaves in Poipet, Banteay Meanchey Province after being picked up in Siem Reap following their arrivals in Cambodia between 18 and 19 September 2018.[31] Following his arrestment together with the other victims, he said that he is uncertain whether the Chinese nationals who cheated them are also being detained as they are nowhere to be seen in the detention centre.[31] With the negotiation between the Cambodian and Malaysian governments, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn finally approved for their release on 15 February 2019 after finding most of the victims have been duped by a job agency syndicate.[32][33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Royal Embassy of Cambodia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cambodia. Archived from the original on 6 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Official Website of Embassy of Malaysia, Phnom Penh". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Royal Embassy of Cambodia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cambodia. Archived from the original on 7 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  4. ^ "The Mission's History". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b Siti Aishah Mohamad (16 December 2002). "Cooperation Between Malaysia And Cambodia Brings Tangible Benefits". Malaysian National News Agency, Cambodia Human Rights. Archived from the original on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ a b Kun Makara (24 September 2012). "Malaysia-Cambodia trade increases". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Cambodia, Malaysia pledge to further trade, investment relations". People's Daily Online. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  9. ^ Prashanth Parameswaran (16 August 2016). "Can Malaysia and Cambodia Breathe New Life Into Economic Ties?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Home". Malaysia Cambodia Business Council. Malaysia South-South Association. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Long Lasting Historic Relationship Between Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Samdech Techo Hun Sen". Khmer Times. 2 September 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Malaysia, Cambodia to boost trade cooperation". The Phnom Penh Post. 2 September 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  13. ^ Ben Sokhean (3 September 2019). "Cambodia, Malaysia sign agreements". Khmer Times. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  14. ^ Wu Qin (3 September 2019). "Cambodia, Malaysia sign deals to boost trade, investment, tourism". Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  15. ^ "No more Indonesian domestic workers to be sent abroad?". Rappler. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  16. ^ Beh Lih Yi; Ros Russell (21 March 2017). "In U-turn decision, Indonesia to continue sending maids abroad to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, etc". Reuters. Coconuts Singapore. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  17. ^ Sek Odom (9 August 2016). "Government Repatriates 11 Migrant Workers From China, Malaysia". The Cambodia Daily. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  18. ^ Pav Suy (23 November 2016). "More Cambodians Seek Help Returning Home". Khmer Times. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  19. ^ Sen David (4 May 2017). "Migrant abuses: Maid seeks return from Malaysia". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  20. ^ Zsombor Peter; Kuch Naren (15 August 2016). "Maids Claim Fatal Abuse at Malaysian Depot". The Cambodia Daily. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  21. ^ Cassandra Yeap; Sen David (17 April 2012). "Malaysian couple charged in death of Cambodian maid". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  22. ^ a b Martin de Bourmont (17 May 2017). "Homecoming: Five maids in Malaysia repatriated". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  23. ^ Zsombor Peter (4 April 2017). "Asean Lawmaker Group Slams Malaysia Over Migrant Detentions". The Cambodia Daily. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  24. ^ Chhorn Phearun (6 April 2017). "Seventeen Cambodians Repatriated From Malaysia". The Cambodia Daily. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Cambodia's ban on maid work in Malaysia could end soon". The Malay Mail. 15 May 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  26. ^ Joseph Kaos Jr (25 May 2017). "Cambodia lifts freeze on maids to Malaysia". The Star. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  27. ^ "Treating foreign maids with respect — Sin Chew Daily". The Malay Mail. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  28. ^ Sumisha Naidu (29 November 2017). "Cambodia signs agreement to ensure welfare of maids in Malaysia". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  29. ^ Mohamad Athir Ismail (29 November 2017). "[VIDEO] Amah Kemboja lebih murah, lebih cekap, lebih setia" [[VIDEO] Cambodian maids is affordable, more efficient, more loyal] (in Malay). Utusan Malaysia. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  30. ^ "Detention of 47 Malaysians in Cambodia". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  31. ^ a b Sangeetha Amarthalingam; Anith Adilah Othman (11 February 2019). "Malaysian detainees in Cambodia promised $1,500 monthly salary". Khmer Times. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  32. ^ "Malaysian govt thanks Cambodia over release of 47 detainees". The Star. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  33. ^ "Cambodia frees all 47 Malaysian detainees". Bernama. Daily Express. 16 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.

External links[edit]