A New Zealander has gone missing while swimming off the coast of Malaysia, sparking a search-and-rescue operation.

The Kiwi, believed to be a 63-year-old crew member of the yacht, went missing last night while swimming one nautical mile off Jason Bay Beach near the town of Tanjung Sedili near Kota Tinggi, The Sun Daily has reported

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) southern region deputy director of operations Captain Sanifah Yusof said the man was reported missing at about 3am today (6am NZT).

A search-and-rescue (SAR) operation was mounted last night as soon as the agency was alerted by the victim's friend.

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"The SAR operation is still ongoing involving a search area of about 10 square nautical miles in the waters off Sedili Kecil," he said in a statement.

Sanifah said 31 personnel from the MMEA, Royal Malaysia Police, Fire and Rescue Department and the Civil Defence Force were involved in the operation, The Sun Daily reported

The search was also being conducted along Jason Bay beach, he said.

The New Zealand High Commission in Kuala Lumpur was liaising with local authorities after the New Zealander went missing at sea in Malaysia.

"The Ministry is in touch with the missing person's family and is providing consular assistance," A New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said.

For privacy reasons the Ministry could not provide any more information

More to come.