He was continually active in politics and served as a member of the Executive Board of the Gerindo Party in 1940-1941, and later as a member of the Persattien Perdjoeangan (Struggle Front), a movement to maintain independence, which was declared by the Indonesian nationalists on August 17th, 1945.
During the period of the struggle to maintain independence in Indonesia, Mr. Malik also served as Third Deputy Chairman of the K.N.T., the first Indonesian parliament, and as a member of its Daily Executive Board.
He was also one of the founders of the Partai Rakjat (People's Party) in 1946 and of the Murba Party in 1948, of which he was an Executive Member, until the party was banned in 1964. He was elected to the House of Representatives as a representative of the Murba Party in 1956, and, in 1959, was appointed a member of the Provisional Supreme Advisory Council.
He began his career in foreign affairs in November 1959 with an appointment as Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Poland, which lasted until 1963. In 1962, in Middleburg, Virginia, Malik led successful negotiations with the Netherlands over West Irian.
Malik become a member of the Executive Board of Antara in September 1962, and in November 1963, was appointed Minister of Commerce and Deputy Commander of KOTOE (Operation Economy). He was chief of the Indonesian delegation to the first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva in 1964. In 1965, he served as Minister/Co-ordinator for the Implementation of Guided Economy.
In September 1965, he formed what was regarded as a ruling triumvirate with General Soeharto and Sultan Hamengko Buvono IX, and was in charge of political and foreign affairs, assuming the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1966.
Since 1966, he represented Indonesia at various international conferences and was the Chairman of the Indonesian delegation to UN General Assembly sessions. In this post, he negotiated Indonesia's readmittance to the United Nations, as well as a peace treaty with Malaysia. He also accompanied President Soeharto on State visits to Japan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States, while serving as Vice President from 1978 to 1983. Malik passed away in 1984 at the age of 67.