Malaysia and New Zealand established diplomatic relation on 25 September 1957 and since then bilateral relations remain on a firm and stable footing. Close and substantive collaborations are particularly significant in areas of trade and investment, education, defence, security, science and technology. The High Commission of Malaysia in New Zealand was established on 9 December 1969.
Exchange of bilateral visits particularly at the Ministerial and senior official level has played an important role to the strong and steady expansion of bilateral cooperation. In 2010, high levels visits from Malaysia included Minister of Foreign Affairs, YB Dato' Sri Anifah Hj Aman (June 2010); Minister of Tourism, YB Dato' Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen (August 2010); and Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Department, YB Datuk Haji Ahmad Maslan (May 2010); and Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia, YBhg. Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa (June 2010).
Foreign Minister of New Zealand, Hon. Murray McCully visited Malaysia in October 2010. In 2009, Right Honourable John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand and Honourable Tim Groser, Minister of Trade visited Malaysia for the signing ceremony of the Malaysia - New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (MNZFTA). In 2011, YB Dato' Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, Second Finance Minister visited New Zealand, in conjuction with his Annual Saad Lecture 2011 organised by the Chair of Malay Studies, Victoria University of Wellington on 26 May 2011. Further to that, the Chief of Defence Force Malaysia, General Tan Sri Dato' Sri Azizan Arifin and Secretary General of Ministry of Defence, YBhg. Dato' Sri Dr. Hj. Ismail Ahmad, visited New Zealand to hold meetings and bilateral talks with their counterparts.
Trade and economic relations remain strong and promising despite the global economic downturn. In 2010, Malaysia was New Zealand’s 10th largest trading partner (by value) and 11th largest export market. Bilateral trade in 2010 was valued at RM 4,963.38 million [(NZ$2.15 million) (up from RM 3,560.70 million in 2009)] in favour of Malaysia at RM 1,024.74 million. Export value was at RM 2,994.04 million and import at RM 1,969.34 million. The bulk of New Zealand’s exports to Malaysia are agriculture-related produce, with dairy products (mainly milk powder) account for around 45%. Malaysia’s main exports include petroleum oils and crude, computers and automatic data processing machines, television receivers, machinery parts, and oil-cake.
The Malaysia - New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (MNZFTA) signed on 26 October 2009 entered into force on 1 August 2010. Both countries are also signatories to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) which entered into force on 1 January 2010. AANZFTA is anticipated to deepen the economic engagement between Malaysia and New Zealand in the region. Both countries are currently negotiating the Trans Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) with other partners such as Australia, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.
New Zealand Defence Forces’ presence in Malaysia dated back to 1950s and 60s where they fought alongside Malaysian heroes against the tyranny of communism and threat of confrontation. As a sign of gratitude, the Government of Malaysia had awarded Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) medal to New Zealanders who served in Malaysia between 31 August 1957 and 31 December 1966. For further information on PJM, please refer to our link. Today, our defence cooperation continues through various bilateral programme and Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA). Over the years, many Malaysian soldiers, sailors and air crew had participated in training and exercises.
The bedrock of Malaysia and New Zealand’s firm relations could be attributed to the outstanding people-to-people’s relations especially in education. More than 30,000 Malaysians received their education in the various colleges and universities in New Zealand. Today, there are approximately 2304 Malaysian students pursuing their tertiary education in New Zealand. On 27 March 1996, the Chair of Malay Studies at the Victoria University of Wellington was established aimed at encouraging teaching and research in Malay & Malaysian studies. The current Chair is Prof. Dato' Dr. Wan Rafaei Wan Abdul Rahman (until March 2014).Further information about the activities carried out by the Chair of Malay Studies can be found at www.victoria.ac.nz/slc/study/subjectsoffered/mala.aspx
People-to-people‘s relations remains close and cordial. The number of tourists from New Zealand visiting Malaysia has increased to more than 64,000 in 2010 from approximately 56,000 in 2009. The most significant achievement in bilateral tourism cooperation was the launch of Air Asia X in Christchurch on 2 April 2011. Air Asia X has 4 return-flights a week between Kuala Lumpur and Christchurch. This is expected to increase the number of tourist arrivals from New Zealand and vice versa. Malaysia Airlines has also increased its services and now fly 6 times a week beginning 27 March 2011.
Malaysia continue to work tirelessly with New Zealand at various multilateral avenues such as the United Nations, APEC, ASEAN, East Asia Summit, and the Commonwealth to pursue matters of mutual interest. Malaysia is the current Country Coordinator for ASEAN - New Zealand Dialogue for a term of 3 years.
- Five Power Defence Arrangement, 1971 (with Australia, Singapore and the UK)
- Armed Forces Personnel Exchange Programme 1974
- Double Taxation Agreement 1976
- Science & Technology Cooperation Arrangement 1994
- Defence Cooperation Arrangements 1996
- MOU on Education Cooperation 1996
- Chair of Malay Studies Arrangement 1996 repealed 2009
- Working Holiday Arrangement 1996
- Trade Agreement 1998
- Air Service Agreement 1998
- MOU on NZAQ/LAN Education Quality Assurance 2001
- MOU on Securities Commission Cooperation 2004
- Malaysia - New Zealand Environment Cooperation Agreement 2009
- Malaysia - New Zealand Labour Cooperation Agreement 2009
- Malaysia – New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (MNZFTA) 2009
- Animal Products (New Zealand Overseas Market Access Requirements for Halal Assurances) Notice 2010 and Malaysia Meat and Meat Products Halal Requirements (Overseas Market Access Notification) Notice 2010