Bilateral Relations during the Clinton Presidency In general, since Malaysia's independence in 1957, the United States and Malaysia have enjoyed cordial relations in trade, investment, defence, narcotics control, and cultural and educational exchanges. (1) Both nations also adhere to shared core values, such as the belief in democracy, in free enterprise, and in religious tolerance. Over the years, cooperation between them has outweighed tension. Briefly, past tensions have included the tin and rubber stockpile disposal plans, the Vietnamese refugee problem, the palm oil issue, the fears over America's withdrawal of its General System of Preferences (GSP) privileges for Malaysia, and differing perceptions on the Gulf War. During the first Clinton administration (1992-96), the relationship began very well. For example, on the political front, Clinton's first term saw an end to the Vietnamese refugee problem as all the remaining refugees in Malaysia were, by 1996, repatriated to Vietnam with U.S. assistance.