Political and Diplomatic:

The bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Malaysia have been cemented since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Malaysia is the second country in the Southeast Asia as well as the first Muslim country in Asia that recognized Bangladesh on 31 January 1972.

Malaysia's rapid economic development, location and active participation in our immediate region, and its long-standing relationship with Bangladesh in many spheres, makes Malaysia an important bilateral partner for our development. The bilateral relationship is diverse, with active and cooperative relations across a broad range of sectors. These include trade and investment, manpower, education, aviation, tourism, sports, defense, science and technology, narcotics control, human trafficking and newly emerging areas such as digital economy.

Locations of Bangladesh and Malaysia in the South and the Southeast Asia respectively have brought these two countries closer. Mutual respect, fraternity, and co-operation particularly on development activities are increasing with the passage of time. The two countries have exchanged several visits at the highest political, ministerial, and official level that has substantially contributed to the promotion of friendship, mutual understanding and co-operation.

Bangladesh and Malaysia have been working closely in different international fora. We actively support each other in a number of UN organizations and other international fora. Both Malaysia and Bangladesh share common views on a wide range of international issues, as both are being the members of organizations like NAM, D-8, G-77, OIC, and Commonwealth etc.

Bilateral Visits:

In our journey, Malaysia remains one of the trusted and solid partners since the very beginning. Both the nations enjoy a supreme relationship both at Government level as well as people-to-people level.

The high-level visits and contacts between Bangladesh and Malaysia are the undisputed sail that directs the ship of our bilateral relations. In the past 50 years, frequent visits have been maintained between our leaderships. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman visited Malaysia in 1973, which laid the foundation of Bangladesh-Malaysia relations. Former King of Malaysia His Majesty Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah visited Bangladesh in December 1974. Former Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr. Mahathir Mohamad visited Bangladesh in 1983 and 1993. He also attended D-8 Summit in Dhaka in March 1999. Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid an official visit to Malaysia in August 2000. Hon’ble Prime Minister also attended the Sixth World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Kuala Lumpur in May 2010. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak visited Bangladesh in November 2013. Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid an Official visit to Malaysia from 02-04 December 2014 at the invitation of the former Prime Minister of Malaysia H. E. Najib Razak.

These high-level visits have helped reach the bilateral relations to a new height. On 8 April 2021 Bangladesh hosted the 10th D-8 Summit virtually, where among other leaders from the D8 members States, former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Hon’ble Foreign Minister Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hossain attended the summit. It may be mentioned that Malaysian Prime Minister earlier agreed to visit Bangladesh to attend the D-8 summit (which was tentatively scheduled to take place in May 2020 in Dhaka) which could not take place physically due to outbreak the COVID19 pandemic, at global scale.


Bilateral Consultations:

First ever Bilateral Consultations (Foreign Office Consultations) between the Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh and Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia took place on 15 May 2017 in Dhaka. Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh delegation while Dato' Ramlan Ibrahim, Secretary General, Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, led the Malaysian side.

The 2nd Bilateral Consultations between Bangladesh and Malaysia was held on 28 February 2018 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia in Putrajaya. Both sides are now working on to finalize the date for the 3rd bilateral consultation between Bangladesh and Malaysia, to be held virtually taking into consideration the ongoing pandemic situation.

Bilateral Trade:

Bangladesh and Malaysia signed an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement on 11 September 1979. Although the Agreement was operative, both the country entered into a General Trade Agreement on 01 December 1997 in Kuala Lumpur. The Agreement is automatically renewable on year-to-year basis. Recently both the countries have agreed to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) to bolster their bilateral trade.

Bilateral trade relations between Bangladesh and Malaysia have been cemented since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries on 31 January 1972. Being a big trading nation in the world Malaysia is considered as a regional hub of trade among the ASEAN countries. In recent years trade between Bangladesh and Malaysia is expanding increasingly that made Bangladesh the second largest trading partner for Malaysia in South Asia, after India.

Although the balance of trade is highly tilted towards Malaysia, the total trade between Bangladesh and Malaysia has increased to a significant level. Bangladesh imported goods worth $3471.50 million from Malaysia in fiscal 2021-22 while exporting goods worth $337.81 million at the same time. (Knitwear and woven garments) is the main export item that accounts for about 70 percent of our total export in Malaysia. The exportable items are Readymade Garments, vegetables, potatoes, food and beverage, footwear, spices, sports equipment, jute goods, etc. World-class ceramic products made in Bangladesh have recently stepped into the market of Malaysia. Major import items from Malaysia are mineral fuels and oils, vegetable fats and oils, machinery and mechanical appliances, plastics, chemicals, cotton, rubber, electrical and electronics, etc.

Agreements/MoU/Protocols/Agreed Minutes:

A number of    Agreements/MoU/Protocol and Agreed Minutes were signed between the two countries in different areas.  These are as follows:

•    News Exchange Agreement concluded in August 1975

•    Trade Agreement concluded in December 1977

•    Cultural Co-operation Agreement concluded in April 1978

•    Air Services Agreement concluded in July 1978

•    Economic and Technical Co-operation Agreement concluded in April 1979

•    Money Order Agreement concluded in September 1979

•    Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement concluded in April 1983

•    Maritime Transport Agreement concluded in April 1983

•    Information Co-operation Agreement concluded in September 1994

•    Agreement on Investment Promotion and Protection between the two countries concluded in October 1994

•    Agreement on Youth & Sports Co-operation concluded in October 1994

•    Agreement on Cultural Exchange Program concluded in April 1978

•    Memorandum of Understanding for Recruitment of Bangladesh Workers concluded in October 2003.

•    Memorandum of Understanding on Anti Money Laundering provision was concluded between Bangladesh Bank and Malaysian central bank in 2012.

•    Memorandum of Understanding on recruitment of Bangladeshi worker on G-G basis was concluded in 2012

•    Memorandum of Understanding on Transnational Crime was concluded in 2012.

•    Agreement between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on the Partial Abolition of Visa Requirements was concluded in December 2014.

MOU between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on Cooperation in the field of Tourism was concluded in December 2014.

Protocol Amending the MOU of 2012 between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of Bangladesh on the Employment of Workers was concluded in December 2014.

MOU between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on Cultural, Arts and Heritage Cooperation was concluded in December 2014.

Agreed Minutes of the Fourth Meeting of the Joint Commission between Malaysia and Bangladesh was signed on 17 May 2015.

Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on the employment of workers signed on 18 February 2016 in Dhaka

A Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and Malaysian consortium comprising Tenga National Berhad (TNB) and Powertek Energy Sdn Berhad PESB) to build a project 1320-megawatt coal-fired power plant at Maheshkhali, Cox’s Bazar was signed on 20 July 2016.

•    MoU between Bangladesh and Malaysia in the field of co-operation in the supply of          Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) was inked virtually on 13 July 2021.

•    MoU on employment of Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia signed on 19 December 2021

Cooperation in Education Sector:

Now a days, Malaysia has become one of the most important destinations for Bangladeshi students specially for the higher education. Presently, a considerable number of Bangladeshi students are studying in various educational institutions/universities of Malaysia. On the other hand, various universities of Malaysia have exchange program with Bangladesh. In 2022, a tripartite MoU among the Taylor's University Malaysia, the Dhaka University and the High Commission for knowledge partnership has been signed.

The Malaysian Technical Cooperation Program (MTCP) has created opportunities for a good number of Government officials to participate in different training programs like ICT, Finance, and Capacity Building Measures every year.


Defense Cooperation:

Defense cooperation between Bangladesh and Malaysia is excellent and is marked by the exchange of high-level visits, participation in the training program and visits by Naval Ships and Air Force aircrafts. Although Covid has hindered delegation and Ships’ visit in recent year, the training continues at both ends.  Presently, Malaysian Armed Forces officers are undergoing courses in NDC and Staff Courses at Mirpur, Dhaka. Bangladesh Armed Forces officers are also undergoing Staff Course in Malaysia. In January 2020, BNS UMAR FAROOQ and BNS ABU UBAIDHA while on homebound passage paid ‘good will visit’ to Malaysia. Meaningful interaction with events like institute visit, call on and onboard reception took place which was aptly covered in the national media and dallies.  The first ever MoU on Defence Cooperation between Bangladesh and Malaysia is now ready to be signed at a convenient time once Covid situation improves. This MOU will strengthen the exiting bonding and cooperation.

Cooperation in the areas of Tourism and Culture, Education, Sports and Youth Exchange: 

Both the countries are working to deepen people-to-people contact and cultural connectivity. Bangladesh-Malaysia relations have been shaped by common historical, cultural and religious bonds tracing back to centuries. In 2014, an agreement on Cultural Cooperation has been signed. The frequent exchange of visits of cultural troupes will help further strengthen our bondage and will pave the way for greater bilateral cooperation. 

Malaysia is a major tourist destination for the Bangladeshi tourists. More than 154,000 Bangladeshis travelled to Malaysia in 2018. Both the countries can organize tourism fair to highlight our touristic spots, culture and heritage and also the facilities enjoyed by tourists.

Both the countries can build a multi-level platform for cultural, and people-to-people exchanges. Bangladesh High Commission is working to connect the youths of both countries by organizing Youth Summit. The Youth and Sports Ministry of both the countries along with Bangladesh High Commission in KL would be core organisers. The Youth Summit will be a key platform where young people can contribute to policy discussions through their ideas, priorities, solutions and innovations. It may be noted that there is an agreement on Youth & Sports Cooperation concluded in October 1994. 

Prospective areas of cooperation:

The next decade will see faster changes in the international landscape and the international alignment of forces. Based on the current situation and looking into the future, the development of Bangladesh-Malaysia relations offers unprecedented opportunities for cooperation. The prospective new areas where both the countries can engage for strengthening the bilateral relationship are knowledge partnership, women empowerment, blue economy, cooperation in the field of innovation in development, combatting climate change, counter terrorism, achieving the goals of SDG etc.