Malaysia is part of Southeast Asia and lies just north of the equator. It borders Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei. Malaysia is culturally and linguistically diverse and has many natural resources and strong manufacturing industries.
It is one of the larger economies in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) with an economy that is steadily growing, assisted by the production of natural commodities such as oil, gas and palm oil. Since independence in 1957, Malaysia has developed a large middle class and its capital city, Kuala Lumpur is one of the world's vibrant mega cities.
Australia has a strong relationship with Malaysia and has links that focus on education, defence and trade as well as cooperation on a range of security issues. In fact, Malaysia is Australia's third largest trading partner in ASEAN and tenth largest overall further enhanced by the signing of the Malaysia–Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) in May 2012.
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