CNN - The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said the catamaran left the eastern Sabah state on Saturday and was headed to an island popular with tourists. A police report was lodged 13 hours later that said the vessel was missing.
The incident occurred during Chinese New Year celebrations.
"The consulate immediately learned of the situation and expressed their major concern to the state government, asking them to immediately organize a search and rescue mission," according to a statement from the Chinese consulate in Kota Kinabalu.
"The Consulate General has asked the state government to beef up search and rescue efforts, pay close attention to the relevant circumstances and spare no effort to push forward search and rescue efforts."
The MMEA led the search and rescue operation and was assisted by the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Marine Operations Force, the report says.