Canada and Malaysia have a long history of close and friendly bilateral relations that encompass a full range of political, economic, trade, social, and cultural relations.
Canada was one of the first countries to recognize Malaysia's independence and establish diplomatic relations in 1957. In Malaysia, Canada is represented by the High Commission of Canada in Kuala Lumpur, and by a consulate headed by an honorary consul in Penang. Malaysia is represented in Canada by a high commission in Ottawa, a trade office in Toronto and a consulate in Vancouver.
People-to-people links between Canada and Malaysia are the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship. These links have been strengthened by recent high level visits such as by H.E. Governor General David Johnston on his first State Visit abroad and first visit by a Canadian Governor General to Malaysia in November 2011. In addition, Minister of International Trade Ed Fast visited Malaysia in February 2012 and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia visited Canada in September 2010.
Education and tourism also play key roles in fostering people-to-people ties. Malaysia is an important source of students to Canada and a number of Canadian universities maintain exchange and study programs with Malaysia. Some 86,000 Canadians visited Malaysia in 2011, with approximately 12,000 Malaysians visiting Canada during the same year.
Canada engages Malaysia on issues related to the promotion of good governance, human rights, and pluralism, both bilaterally and in multilateral organizations. Canada worked with Malaysia during Canada's tenure on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) until 2009 and continues to work with Malaysia on the promotion of universal respect of all human rights and fundamental freedoms during its tenure on the UNHCR.
Canada and Malaysia place a high priority on the security aspect of the relationship. Canada provides support for capacity-building initiatives related to counter-terrorism, security and defence. Through these programs, Canada has trained nearly 1000 Malaysians to safely respond to terrorist attacks.
The Canada-Malaysia relationship is further fostered through close partnership and cooperation in international organisations such as the Commonwealth, the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and World Trade Organization (WTO). Canada also works with Malaysia as a dialogue partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and its security forum, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
Canada's trade relationship with Malaysia includes commerce across several sectors. Canadian companies in Malaysia employ thousands of Malaysians. This relationship is complemented by major investments by Malaysian companies in Canada in the oil and gas and agriculture sectors and Canadian investments in the aerospace, high tech, transportation and oil and gas sectors in Malaysia.
Malaysia is a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations, which Canada and Mexico are expected to join in fall 2012.
In terms of development assistance to Malaysia, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) does not maintain a bilateral program although Malaysia remains eligible for core multilateral programs.