Political relations between Malaysia and Germany are principally based on the two countries’ intensive economic relations. Germany sees Malaysia as an important and stable partner in Southeast Asia, a leading member of ASEAN and a moderate representative of the Islamic world.
Economic ties between Germany and Malaysia have been very close for many years. The Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which was founded in 1991, is the largest such chamber of any EU member state.
Malaysia is Germany’s principal trading partner among the ASEAN countries. In 2022, bilateral trade was worth 18.6 billion euro.
Malaysia attracts foreign direct investment thanks to its favourable investment climate, while this investment in turn ensures technology transfer which stimulates the economy. A good 700 German companies operate in Malaysia, many of which run production plants and export the goods manufactured there worldwide. Malaysia is also increasingly being used by German companies as a regional hub for Southeast Asia and beyond.
When it comes to cultural cooperation, the focus is on higher education, with 114 cooperation agreements between German and Malaysian universities, including universities of applied sciences. Around 1500 young Malaysians – many of them on Malaysian government scholarships – are studying at German universities. In addition, there are an increasing number of double degree programmes leading to degrees that are recognised in both Germany and Malaysia. This has also led to an increase in the number of German guest students in Malaysia.
The Goethe-Institut in Kuala Lumpur opened its doors in 1962, while the German School in Kuala Lumpur has a good 160 pupils.
Some of Germany’s political foundations support ecological, socio-cultural and education- and media-oriented projects in Malaysia. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung has its own office in Kuala Lumpur.