Short history of Russia's diplomatic relations with Malaysia
Diplomatic relations between the USSR and Malaysia were established on April 3, 1967. Malaysia declared its recognition of the Russian Federation as the successor of the Soviet Union on December 31, 1991.
Both countries maintain political dialogue, regular exchange of messages at the highest level and between the heads of the foreign ministries on current bilateral issues and the most urgent international problems.
The Rulers of Malaysia had visited Russia several times. Tuanku Jaafar ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman was to St.Petersburg in May 1997 on his unofficial visit as well as Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Almarhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail - in September 2005.
Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has been to Malaysia twice in 2003: on an official visit in August and to attend the OIC Summit in October. Vladimir V. Putin participated in the first Russia-ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur in December 2005 and, as well, had a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Malaysia Abdullah Badawi.
The Prime Ministers of Malaysia were on official visits in Moscow in 1972 (Tun Abdul Razak), 1979 (Tun Hussein Onn), 1987, 2002 and a working visit to the Khabarovsk Region and Buryatia in 1999 (Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad). At the APEC Summits in Brunei (November 2000) and Shanghai (October 2001) and G8 Summit in Evian (June 2003) there were informal meetings between Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and Malaysian Prime Minister (Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad). Current Prime Minister Abdulla Ahmad Badawi was on official visit to Moscow in June 2007 and met V. Putin.
There was very active interaction between foreign ministries of Russia and Malaysia: their heads pay reciprocal official visits, hold bilateral meetings at international foras. According to the Protocol signed in 1987 two foreign ministries hold regular consultations. In July 2006 Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey V. Lavrov participated in the 13th Session of the ARF Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur and had a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia. Besides, two ministries exchange supports for candidates from Russia and Malaysia to different UN bodies.
Since 1994 a Malaysian citizen, Mr. Teoh Seng Lee, has been carrying out the duties of the Russian Honorary Consul in the states of Penang, Kedah and Perlis.
Maintaining interparliamentary relations the delegations of the Russian State Duma and the Federation Council visited Malaysia in 1994, 1999, 2002 and 2005; they participated in the XI Session of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Kuala Lumpur in 2003. The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Malaysian Parliament paid an official visit to Moscow in 1991; a delegation of the Malaysia senators headed by the Deputy President of the Senate was to Russia in 2003. In January 2007 the Malaysian delegation had taken part in the 15th Session of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum held in Moscow. President of Senate of Malaysia paid an official visit to Russia in January 2007. Russian parliamentary delegation participated in the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) 28th General Assembly held in Kuala Lumpur in August 2007.
Cooperation between the ruling political parties of Russia and Malaysia - "United Russia" and UMNO respectively - is actively developing. The delegation of the "United Russia" participated in the 55-th Assembly of UMNO in September 2004. The return visit of the UMNO delegation to Moscow was paid in April 2005 when two parties singed the Protocol of the bilateral cooperation.
Contacts have been established between the highest judicial bodies of the two counties. Chairman of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation Viacheslav Lebedev visited Malaysia in April 2001; the visit of Malaysian Chief Justice Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah was held in June 2001.
The direct links of Russian regions with Malaysia have also been maintained: delegations from the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Khabarovsk Region, Moscow Government repeatedly visited Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia nowadays is one of the main Russia's trading partners in the South East Asia, Russia in its turn is the leading trading partner of Malaysia in the CIS region. The total trade turnover between Russian and Malaysia reached US$ 1,903 bil in 2007 against US$ 1,133 mil in 2006, with Russian import from Malaysia U$1,462 bil and Russian export to Malaysia U$ 440,1 mil.
Russia's exports is mostly dominated by chemical fertilizers and other chemical products, rolled metals and metal products and less by machines and equipment (mainly spare parts for aircraft equipment). Imports consist of home E&E appliances, palm oil and palm oil products, plastics, cocoa powder and cocoa butter.
Palm oil is supplied to Russia in accordance with an agreement on extending Malaysian credit facility signed in Moscow in July 2002 as well as through private channels.
The Russian-Malaysian trade and economic relations are regulated by the Agreement on Economic Cooperation (signed 2000) and Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (1987) and it were greatly contributed by signing of the protocol on completion of bilateral talks with Malaysia on Russian accession to the WTO (December, 2005). The new trade possibilities arise from signing of the cooperation agreement between Russian and Malaysian Chambers of Commerce in December 2005.
Science and Culture
Both countries pay attention to promotion of scientific and technical ties. A number of talks were held between ministers of science and technology of Russia and Malaysia on a wide scope of joint projects - in August 2000 and March 2002 in Moscow and August 2003 in Kuala Lumpur. The first Malaysian micro satellite was orbited by a Russian launcher in September 2000. In December 2006 the satellite "MEASAT-3" was also launched by a Russian rocket. Under the Russian-Malaysian cooperation project in the space field the launch of the first Malaysian astronaut to the international space station is scheduled in October 2007. Regular contacts have been maintained between Russian and Malaysian specialists in the fields of meteorology, space exploration, Antarctic studies. The latest Russian technologies are presented in Malaysia. Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations of Malaysia is to visit Russia in April 2007.
The Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation between Russia and Malaysia was signed in 2003.
Perspective areas of interaction in the filed of modern information and telecommunication technologies were considered during exchange of visits by representatives of the Ministry of Communication and Informatization of Russia and the Ministry of Energy, Communications and Multimedia of Malaysia. During the Russian President's visit to Malaysia in 2003 an Agreement on Cooperation in the respective field was concluded.
The Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism of Malaysia paid a visit to Moscow and St.Petersburg in 2000. He held negotiations with Russian agencies and tourist operators on the prospects of increasing tourist and cultural exchange in 2006 in Moscow.
An important component of bilateral cooperation is represented by the educational ties. Now the Russian institutions of higher education (medical) have about 2500 Malaysian students both on government and private basis. There are prospects of further increase of their number thanks to the official recognition by the Malaysian Side of the Russian diplomas in medicine. The Minister of Education of Malaysia was in Moscow in April 2003 to familiarize with higher education opportunities for Malaysians in Russia.
The Russian news agencies "ITAR-TASS" and RIA "Novosti" have established and maintain direct contacts with "Bernama" news agency of Malaysia. RIA "Novosti" and "Bernama" have signed a MoU on cooperation.
The ties between religious organizations of two countries were developed thanks to the visit to Kuala Lumpur in December 2003 by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad.
The Russian students are constantly participating in the International Public Speaking Contest – Deputy Prime Minister's Trophy. In March 2007 student of the Asia and Africa Institute of the Moscow State University won the 1st place in the above mentioned contest.