Switzerland maintains good contacts in the educational field and supports projects of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) for the sustainable management of tropical forests. Swiss companies also benefit from the favourable conditions in Malaysia.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Malaysia
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
At diplomatic level the two countries maintain good contact. Malaysian citizens are exempt from the requirement to obtain a visa for travel to Switzerland, an exemption that within the South-East Asia region otherwise only applies for Singaporean citizens. On 20th July 2010 a Declaration on Cooperation between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Malaysia was signed in Geneva. Switzerland has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur and a consulate in Kuching, while Malaysia has an embassy in Berne, a Consulate General in Geneva and consulates in Basel and Zurich.
A good operating environment and access to the Asian-Pacific market with around 600 million people make Malaysia an attractive location for Swiss companies. Within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Malaysia is Switzerland's third most important trading partner after Singapore and Thailand. In 2011, around 120 Swiss companies employed over 20,000 people in Malaysia. In addition, Malaysia is also a popular holiday destination for large numbers of Swiss people.
Cooperation in the domain of education
Scholars and artists from Malaysia can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
In Malaysia, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs provides financial support for projects of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) to protect and promote the sustainable management of tropical forests.
Swiss nationals in Malaysia
At the end of 2011, there were 792 Swiss nationals resident in Malaysia, of whom 275 have dual citizenship.
History of bilateral relations
Swiss trading companies set up operations in Malaysia as long ago as the 19th century, and Switzerland established diplomatic relations with Malaysia in 1963.