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 an important facet of the bilateral relationship. These links have been strengthened by recent high level visits such as by H.E. Governor General David Johnston in November 2011, which was his first State Visit abroad and the first visit by a Canadian Governor General to Malaysia. 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. It is estimated that close to 80,000 Malaysians have studied in Canada since the 1950s. Some 86,000 Canadian tourists 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 has continued to work with Malaysia on the promotion of universal respect of all human rights and fundamental freedoms during Malaysia’s tenure on the United Nations Human Rights Council (2010-2013).
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 Malaysian first responders to safely respond to terrorist attacks.
Canada works with Malaysia as a dialogue partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and its security forum, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). The 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'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.
Canada and Malaysia are members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations.