On April 10, 2018, the Malaysian and American judiciaries held a workshop to exchange information and share strategies in suppressing terrorist financing in Malaysia. The United States has long been an economic and security partner of Malaysia, a country with various ethnic groups. While exchanging knowledge, both countries emphasized their active cooperation during the three day East Malaysia Judicial Counter Terrorism Financing (CTF) workshop. It is critical for the two countries to cooperate to combat terrorist financing and signal to terrorist organizations that the judiciaries will be swift to take punitive measures.
So far, the United States and Malaysia have dealt with counter-terrorism activities through numerous military exercises, including military intelligence exchanges. US-Malaysia security goals are focused on fighting terrorism and resolving disputes in the South China Sea. Both nations are united in promoting ASEAN integration as well. Prime Minister Najib Razak has sought better relations with the United States since his administration took office in 2009. During a meeting in 2017, US president Donald Trump and Prime Minister Razak entered into a new partnership to combat terrorism in Malaysia. The two leaders planned to build a strong relationship based on diplomatic and security ties. They reaffirmed their support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and urged the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding security cooperation. Both countries acknowledged the severity of cyber and other crimes and decided to foster international cooperation in combating cybercrime. President Trump offered an additional $60 million in defense procurements from the United States. Additionally, with US funds, Malaysia also launched its Regional Digital Counter-Messaging Communication Center in Kuala Lumpur in 2018. Over the years, Kuala Lumpur and Washington have established an integrated relationship to combat terrorist activities.
The US-Malaysian relationship dates back to Malaysia’s independence in 1957. Malaysia has remained an important security partner, adopting US antiterrorism measures. President Barack Obama’s visit to Malaysia in April 2014 led to a comprehensive partnership including counterterrorism efforts, military ties, and humanitarian aid. During its 2015 tenure as the ASEAN chair, Malaysia faced major challenges from terrorism, often consulting with the United States.
Yeseul Oh is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington D.C. and an Asan Washington Young fellow with the Asan Academy in Seoul. She is a student of Kyunghee University in South Korea