The United States-Malaysia Relationship
Office of the Spokesperson
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 14-15 where he will meet with Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob and Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah to discuss peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific as well as our strong bilateral relationship rooted in robust security, economic, and people-to-people ties. While in Kuala Lumpur, Secretary Blinken will also hold a hybrid virtual and in-person townhall with Malaysian Young Southeast Asia Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) alumni, meet with members of the U.S. embassy community, and hold a roundtable discussion on clean energy with Energy Minister Takiyuddin Hassan.
The Enduring Partnership Between the United States and Malaysia
- The United States looks forward to strengthening the excellent cooperation between our two countries.
- Our relationship is deep and enduring. The United States established diplomatic relations with Malaysia in 1957 and elevated the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership in 2014.
- Over the past 64 years of Malaysia’s independence, our countries have forged a strong partnership rooted in close people-to-people, economic, and security ties. Our cooperation is based on democratic values, and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
- We look forward to deepening our friendship, especially as we cooperate on global efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent the next one. We are proud to have donated 1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Malaysia.
Security Cooperation Supports Shared Priorities
- Our security cooperation with Malaysia promotes shared priorities of prosperity, security, and peace. We are partnering with Malaysia in supporting its efforts to promote maritime security and governance through improved defense and law enforcement capabilities.
- During FY 2018-2022, the United States will have provided approximately $220 million in security assistance for Malaysia, including provision of equipment, education, training, and other exchange programs.
- We have invested approximately $1 million annually in our International Military Education and Training programs to bolster our people-to-people capacity building programs, sending over 300 Malaysian service members annually to various academies and schools in the United States.
Mutual Benefit from Our Close Economic, Educational, and People-to-People Ties
- Malaysia has long been and continues to be a key trading partner and an attractive location for U.S. economic and commercial activity. The United States seeks to continue to grow our productive trade and business relationship with Malaysia.
- Malaysia is the third-largest economy in ASEAN and the second-largest U.S. trading partner in Southeast Asia. The United States is one of Malaysia’s top investors, particularly in the electrical and electronics sector, where Malaysia has achieved impressive export growth during this challenging period. Malaysia’s private sector plays a vital role supporting resilient global supply chains.
- Goods and services trade with Malaysia totaled an estimated $60.1 billion in 2020. Malaysia is the United States’ 18th-largest trading partner, and the United States is the largest foreign investor in Malaysia with $13.5 billion in foreign direct investment in 2020, in high-value sectors that are also building skills and expertise for the next generation of Malaysian business leadership.
- The United States has hosted nearly 1,700 Malaysian International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) participants since the start of the program in 1949. More than 5,000 Malaysians are alumni of Department of State-sponsored exchange programs. There are more than 10,000 Young Southeast Asia Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) members from Malaysia, many of whom have participated in regional workshops, YSEALI Boot Camps, or in the YSEALI academic and professional fellow programs.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources will provide Power Sector Program technical assistance to Malaysia’s Energy Ministry and Energy Commission to promote the use of clean energy.