Malaysia–New Zealand relations

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Malaysia–New Zealand relations
Map indicating locations of Malaysia and New Zealand


New Zealand
Diplomatic mission
Malaysian High Commission, WellingtonNew Zealand High Commission, Kuala Lumpur
High Commissioner Nur Izzah Wong Mee ChooHigh Commissioner Vacant
Chargé d'affaires a.i. Richard Mann

Malaysia–New Zealand relations (Malay: Hubungan Malaysia–New Zealand; Jawi: هوبوڠن مليسيا–نيوزيلندا; Māori: Ngā whanaungatanga Malaysia-Maori) refers to foreign relations between Malaysia and New Zealand. Malaysia has a high commission in Wellington, and New Zealand has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations and Malaysia is important to New Zealand for strategic, political and economic reasons,[1][2] with both countries' leaders were engaged in frequent visits to boost their relations.[1][2][3]

Country comparison[edit]

 Malaysia  New Zealand
Coat of Arms Coat of arms of Malaysia.svg Coat of arms of New Zealand.svg
Flag Malaysia New Zealand
Population 31,360,000 4,863,910
Area 330,803 km2 (127,724 sq mi) 268,021 km2 (103,483 sq mi)
Population Density 92/km2 (240/sq mi) 17.9/km2 (46/sq mi)
Time zones 1 2
Capital Kuala Lumpur Wellington
Largest City Kuala Lumpur – 1,768,000 Auckland – 1,657,200
Government Federal parliamentary elective constitutional monarchy Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Established 31 August 1957 (Independence from UK)
16 September 1963 (Formation of Malaysia)
7 May 1856
First Leader Abdul Rahman of Negeri Sembilan (Monarch)
Tunku Abdul Rahman (Prime Minister)
Queen Victoria (Monarch)
Henry Sewell (Prime Minister)
Head of State Monarch: Abdullah Monarch: Elizabeth II
Head of Government Prime Minister: Muhyiddin Yassin Prime Minister: Jacinda Ardern
Legislature Parliament of Malaysia Parliament of New Zealand
Upper House Senate
President: S. Vigneswaran
Lower House House of Representatives
Speaker: Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof
House of Representatives
Speaker: Trevor Mallard
Judiciary Federal Court of Malaysia
Chief Justice: Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat
Supreme Court of New Zealand
Chief Justice: Helen Winkelmann
National language Malaysian English
GDP (nominal) $800.169 billion ($25,833 per capita) US$215.1 billion (44,069 per capita)


New Zealand Prime Minister Walter Nash with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdul Razak Hussein during Nash's visit to Kuala Lumpur in 1960.

Official diplomatic relations between Malaysia and New Zealand has been established since 25 September 1957, with Malaysia remains as one of the oldest partner for New Zealand in Southeast Asia.[1] The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has maintained its presence since the 1950s to fight alongside its allies from the threat of communism in the Malayan Emergency, Second Malayan Emergency and Sarawak Communist Insurgency. Following the path of the formation of the Malaysian federation, the NZDF also defended the British Malaya and Borneo from the Indonesian military infiltration.[4][5][6][7]

Economic relations[edit]

The relationship between these countries is strong as business links in Malaysia were one of the influential members in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and best known to New Zealanders. In 2005, both countries began to pursue for a free-trade agreement.[8] In 2012, Malaysia was New Zealand's eighth-largest trading partner with Malaysia's exports comprising petroleum, computer and television equipment and palm oil worth around NZ$1.84 million while New Zealand exports to Malaysia are much higher standing at NZ$888 million consisting of dairy products, meat and scrap metal. A free trade agreement between the two countries was signed into force on 26 October 2009 in Kuala Lumpur. Many New Zealand companies have their significant present in Malaysia mainly in food sectors, telecommunications and ICTs as well the New Zealand urging more Malaysian investors to invest in New Zealand.[9]

The total bilateral trade between two countries in 2016 stood at US$1.42 billion with exports amounted to US$730 million, while imports amounted to US$680 million. In 2017, the two countries expressed their interest to expand the collaboration in ICTs and tourism sectors.[10] In the same year, New Zealand economic relations with Malaysia is also being discovered in other areas such as food (mainly dairies products) and beverage sector and both countries announced their intention to fosters stronger business and cultural links between them. A cultural exchange between Māori and the indigenous people of the Malaysian state of Sabah have been held in Kota Kinabalu.[11] New Zealand also welcoming a group of 15 delegates from the Malaysian state of Sarawak government for a meeting held in April 2019 to share and discuss common indigenous interests and co-operation.[12]

The economic relations between the two countries also represented by the Malaysia–New Zealand Free Trade Agreement.[7]

Education relations[edit]

Under the Colombo Plan, a large numbers of Malaysian students have further continue their studies in New Zealand.[1][9] New Zealand are working to attract more students from Malaysia as part of the country efforts to promote it as a first choice for foreign study. An arrangement on higher education co-operation was signed between the two countries in 2013.[7] In 2019, further education relations are reinforce between New Zealand and the Malaysian state of Sarawak.[13]

Security relations[edit]

Three flags dedicated to Australian, British and New Zealanders soldiers in Kundasang War Memorial, Ranau, Sabah, Malaysia.

As part of the alliance in Five Power Defence Arrangements, New Zealand plays a key role in the frequent military exercises between the countries involved.[14][15]


In 2014, a Malaysian diplomat named Mohammed Rizalman Ismail was arrested by the New Zealand Police and charged with burglary and assault with intent to rape after allegedly following a 21-year-old woman, Tania Billingsley to her home.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Our relationship with Malaysia". Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (New Zealand). Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b Peter Sibon (3 November 2013). "NZ keen to enhance ties with Malaysia – With David Pine". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  3. ^ Hon Todd McClay (17 April 2017). "McClay in talks to promote trade & investment with Malaysia". Government of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 18 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Aggression Must be Deterred". The Age. 7 September 1964. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Confrontation in Borneo". NZ History. Government of New Zealand. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Malaysia–New Zealand Ties". Official Website of High Commission of Malaysia, Wellington. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  7. ^ a b c "Malaysia". Auckland Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on 25 January 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  8. ^ Georgina Bond (10 March 2005). "Strong reasons for Malaysia, NZ deal". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  9. ^ a b Fiona Acheson (12 July 2013). "Malaysia - the ties that bind". New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Malaysia To Expand Collaboration With New Zealand In IT, Tourism Sectors". Bernama. Malaysian Digest. 18 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Minister fosters stronger business and cultural links between Māori and Malaysia". 13 May 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  12. ^ Ghaz Ghazali (9 March 2019). "Envoy: Indigenous cooperation to reaffirm NZ-Sarawak ties". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  13. ^ "New Zealand, Sarawak reinforce ties through education". The Borneo Post. 9 March 2019. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  14. ^ Zhang Dongmiao (20 April 2017). "New Zealand forces say to play leading role in Southeast Asia military exercise". Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  15. ^ "HMNZS Te Kaha Plays Key Role in Southeast Asia Exercise". New Zealand Defence Force. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  16. ^ Isaac Davison (30 June 2014). "Govt wanted sex case diplomat to face charges - Key". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  17. ^ Rebecca Quilliam; Isaac Davison (30 June 2014). "Diplomat case: NZ asked to drop all charges". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 June 2014.

External links[edit]