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Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are south of China, south-east of the Indian sub ...

Southeast Asia
. The
federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies *Federation, or ''Federal state'' (federal system), a type of government characterized by both a central (federal) government and states or ...

federal
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the
South China Sea The South China Sea is a of the . It is bounded in the north by the shores of (hence the name), in the west by the , in the east by the islands of and northwestern (mainly , and ), and in the south by , and the , encompassing an area of ...

South China Sea
into two regions,
Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (Malay language, Malay: ''Semenanjung Malaysia''), also known as West Malaysia or the Malaysian Peninsula, formerly known as Malaya (disambiguation), Malaya, is the part of Malaysia which occupies the southern half of the Ma ...
and
Borneo Borneo (; id, ) is the third- and the largest in . At the geographic centre of , in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of , west of , and east of . The among three countries: and in the north, and to the south. It ...

Borneo
's
East Malaysia East Malaysia (), also known as Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan () or Malaysian Borneo, is the part of Malaysia on and near the island of Borneo, the world's third largest island. It consists of the states and federal territories of Malaysia, Malay ...
. Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime
border Borders are boundaries of or legal s, such as s, , , and other . Borders are established through agreements between political or social entities that control those areas; the creation of these agreements is called . Some borders—such as mos ...
with
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern A ...

Thailand
and maritime borders with
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
,
Vietnam , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Hanoi , coordinates = , largest_city = Ho Chi Minh City , languages_type = National language , languages ...

Vietnam
, and
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of over List of islands of I ...

Indonesia
. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Aus ...

Brunei
and Indonesia and a maritime border with the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
and Vietnam.
Kuala Lumpur , anthem = ' , image_map = , map_caption = , pushpin_map = Malaysia#Southeast Asia#Asia , pushpin_map_caption = , coordinates = , subdivision_type ...

Kuala Lumpur
is the national capital, largest city and the seat of the
legislative branch A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the body of ethics, Procedural law, rules, and Norm (sociology) ...
of the
federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...
. The nearby planned capital of
Putrajaya Putrajaya (), officially the Federal Territory of Putrajaya ( ms, Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya), is a planned capital city which functions as the administrative capital and the judicial capital of Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in ...

Putrajaya
is the administrative capital; which represents the seat of both the
executive branch The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, a ...
(
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
, federal ministries and agencies) and the
judicial branch The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authori ...
of the federal government. With a population of over 32 million, Malaysia is the world's 43rd-most populous country. The southernmost point of continental
Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as cont ...

Eurasia
is in
Tanjung Piai Tanjung Piai is a cape in , , . It is the southernmost point of and thus the most southern point of mainland . The skyline of is visible across the from the point. It features seafood restaurants, perched on wooden jetties that are surrounde ...

Tanjung Piai
. In the
tropics The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% i ...

tropics
, Malaysia is one of 17
megadiverse countries The term megadiverse country refers to any one of a group of nations that harbor the majority of Earth's species and high numbers of endemic species Endemism is the state of a species being native to a single defined geographic location, such ...

megadiverse countries
, home to a number of
endemic species Endemism is the state of a species being native to a single defined geographic location, such as an island, state, nation, country or other defined zone; organisms that are Indigenous (ecology), indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if th ...

endemic species
. Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms which, from the 18th century, became subject to the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...
, along with the British
Straits Settlements The Straits Settlements (; ms , Negeri-negeri Selat; ta, ஜலசந்தி குடியிருப்புகள்) were a group of British Empire, British territories located in Southeast Asia. Originally established in 1826 as par ...

Straits Settlements
protectorate. Peninsular Malaysia was unified as the
Malayan Union The Malayan Union was a union of the Malay states and the Straits Settlements of Penang and Malacca. It was the successor to British Malaya and was conceived to unify the Malay Peninsula under a single government to simplify administration. Fol ...
in 1946. Malaya was restructured as the
Federation of Malaya The Federation of Malaya ( ms, Persekutuan Tanah Melayu; JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley c ...
in 1948 and achieved independence on 31 August 1957. The independent Malaya united with the then British crown colonies of
North Borneo (I persevere and I achieve) , national_anthem = '' God Save the King/Queen'' , capital = Kudat (1881–1884); Sandakan (1884–1945); Jesselton (1946) , common_languages = English, Kadazan-Dusun, Bajau, Murut, ...
,
Sarawak Sarawak (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
, and
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...
on 16 September 1963 to become Malaysia. In August 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation and became a separate independent country. The country is
multi-ethnic Multiracial people (or mixed-race people) are people of many races. Many terms exist for people of various multiracial backgrounds, including ''multiracial'', ''biracial'', ''multiethnic'', ''polyethnic'', '' Métis'', '' Creole'', '' Muwallad' ...
and
multi-cultural The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. ...
, which has a significant effect on its politics. About half the population is ethnically
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
, with minorities of
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
,
Indians Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
, and
indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), or autochthonous peoples, are culturally distinct e ...
. The country's official language is Malaysian, a standard form of the
Malay language Malay (; ms, bahasa Melayu, links=no, : , : ) is an in , , and and unofficially spoken in and parts of . It is spoken by 290 million people (around 260 million in alone in its own literary standard named "") across the . As the or ...
. English remains an active second language. While recognising
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling ...
) is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a Muhammad in Islam, messenger of God.Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , ed ...
as the country's
established religion A state religion (also called an established religion or official religion) is a religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews ...
, the constitution grants
freedom of religion Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freed ...
to non-Muslims. The government is modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-us ...
. The
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
is an elected monarch, chosen from among the nine state sultans every five years. The
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presi ...
is the
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
. After independence, the Malaysian
GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the left corner">174x174px Money is any ...
grew at an average of 6.5% per annum for almost 50 years. The economy has traditionally been fuelled by its natural resources but is expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and
medical tourism Medical tourism refers to people traveling abroad to obtain medical treatment. In the past, this usually referred to those who traveled from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for treatment unavailable at ...
. Malaysia has a newly industrialised
market economy A market economy is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The ide ...
, ranked third-largest in Southeast Asia and 33rd-largest in the world. It is a founding member of
ASEAN ASEAN; ( , ) officially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is an economic union comprising 10 member states in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southe ...

ASEAN
,
EAS
EAS
,
OIC The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC; ar, منظمة التعاون الإسلامي, Munaẓẓama at-Taʿāwun al-ʾIslāmiyy; french: Organisation de la coopération islamique), formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference ...
and a member of
APEC The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC; ) is an inter-governmental forum for 21 member economies An economy (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offic ...
, the
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
and the
Non-Aligned Movement The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world Image:Imf-advanced-un-least-developed-2008.svg, 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the International Monetary Fund, IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A deve ...
.


Etymology

The name "
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...
" is a combination of the word " Malays" and the Latin-Greek suffix " -ia"/" -ία" which can be translated as "land of the Malays". The origin of the word 'Melayu' is subject to various theories. It may derive from the
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
"Himalaya", referring to areas high in the mountains, or "Malaiyur-pura", meaning mountain town. Another similar theory claims its origin lies in the
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native to Malaysia * Tamil language, a Dravidian languages, ...

Tamil
words "''malai''" and "''ur''" meaning "mountain" and "city, land", respectively. Another suggestion is that it derives from the Pamalayu campaign. A final suggestion is that it comes from a Javanese word meaning "to run", from which a river, the ''Sungai Melayu'' ('Melayu river'), was named due to its strong current. Similar-sounding variants have also appeared in accounts older than the 11th century, as
toponym Toponymy, toponymics, or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''toponyms Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''wikt: ...
s for areas in Sumatra or referring to a larger region around the Strait of Malacca. The Sanskrit text
Vayu Purana The ''Vayu Purana'' ( sa, वायुपुराण, ) is a Sanskrit text and one of the eighteen major Purana Purana (; sa, , '; literally meaning "ancient, old"Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (1995 Edition), Article on ...
, thought to have been in existence since the first millennium CE, mentioned a land named 'Malayadvipa' which was identified by certain scholars as the modern
Malay peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language f ...
. Other notable accounts are by the 2nd century Ptolemy's
Geographia The ''Geography'' ( grc-gre, Γεωγραφικὴ Ὑφήγησις, ''Geōgraphikḕ Hyphḗgēsis'',  "Geographical Guidance"), also known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...
that used the name ''Malayu Kulon'' for the west coast of
Golden Chersonese The Golden Chersonese or Golden Khersonese ( grc, Χρυσῆ Χερσόνησος, ''Chrysḗ Chersónēsos''; la, Chersonesus Aurea), meaning the Golden Peninsula, was the name used for the Malay Peninsula by Greek geographers, Greek and Roman g ...

Golden Chersonese
, and the 7th century
Yijing The ''I Ching'' or ''Yi Jing'' (, ), usually translated as ''Book of Changes'' or ''Classic of Changes'', is an ancient Chinese divination text and among the oldest of the Chinese classics. Originally a divination manual in the Western Zho ...
's account of ''Malayu''. At some point, the
Melayu Kingdom The Melayu Kingdom (also known as Malayu, Dharmasraya Kingdom or the Jambi Kingdom; , reconstructed Middle Chinese pronunciation ''mat-la-yu kwok'')Muljana, Slamet , (2006), ''Sriwijaya'', Yogyakarta: LKIS, . was a classical Malays (ethnic grou ...
took its name from the ''Sungai Melayu''. 'Melayu' then became associated with
Srivijaya Srivijaya (, ; , ) was a Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay langua ...
, and remained associated with various parts of Sumatra, especially Palembang, where the founder of the
Malacca Sultanate #REDIRECT Malacca Sultanate The Malacca Sultanate ( ms, Kesultanan Melayu Melaka; Jawi script: کسلطانن ملايو ملاک) was a Malay sultanate centred in the modern-day state of Malacca, Malaysia. Conventional historical thesis marks c ...
is thought to have come from. It is only thought to have developed into an
ethnonym An ethnonym (from the el, ἔθνος 'nation' and 'name') is a name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given ...
as Malacca became a regional power in the 15th century.
Islamisation Islamization (also spelled Islamisation, see spelling differences; ar, أسلمة, ), Islamicization or Islamification, is the process of a society's shift towards the religion of Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in ...
established an ethnoreligious identity in Malacca, with the term 'Melayu' beginning to appear as interchangeable with 'Melakans'. It may have specifically referred to local Malays speakers thought loyal to the Malaccan Sultan. The initial Portuguese use of ''Malayos'' reflected this, referring only to the ruling people of Malacca. The prominence of traders from Malacca led 'Melayu' to be associated with Muslim traders, and from there became associated with the wider cultural and linguistic group. Malacca and later
Johor Johor (; ), also spelled as Johore, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
claimed they were the centre of Malay culture, a position supported by the British which led to the term 'Malay' becoming more usually linked to the Malay peninsula rather than Sumatra. Before the onset of European colonisation, the Malay Peninsula was known natively as "'' Tanah Melayu''" ("Malay Land"). Under a racial classification created by a German scholar
Johann Friedrich Blumenbach Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (11 May 1752 – 22 January 1840) was a German physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), medical doctor, or simply doctor, i ...

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
, the natives of
maritime Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia comprises the countries of Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Singapore. Maritime Southeast Asia is sometimes also referred to as Island Southeast Asia, Insular Southeast Asia ...
were grouped into a single category, the
Malay race The concept of a Malay race was originally proposed by the Germany, German physician Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752–1840), and classified as a brown (racial classification), brown race. ''Malay'' is a loose term used in the late 19th century a ...
. Following the expedition of French navigator
Jules Dumont d'Urville Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville (; 23 May 1790 – 8 May 1842) was a French List of explorers, explorer and French Navy, naval officer who explored the south and western Pacific Ocean, Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica. ...
to
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
in 1826, he later proposed the terms of "Malaysia", "
Micronesia Micronesia (, ; from grc, μικρός ''mikrós'' "small" and ''nêsos'' "island") is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is ...

Micronesia
" and "
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabi ...

Melanesia
" to the '' Société de Géographie'' in 1831, distinguishing these Pacific cultures and island groups from the existing term "
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
". Dumont d'Urville described Malaysia as "an area commonly known as the East Indies". In 1850, the English ethnologist George Samuel Windsor Earl, writing in the ''Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia'', proposed naming the islands of Southeast Asia as "Melayunesia" or "Indunesia", favouring the former. The name Malaysia gained some use to label what is now the Malay Archipelago. In modern terminology, "Malay" remains the name of an
ethnoreligious group An ethnoreligious group (or an ethno-religious group), or simply an ethnoreligion, is a grouping of people who are unified by a common Religion, religious and ethnic group, ethnic background. Furthermore, the term ethno-religious group, along wi ...
of
Austronesian people The Austronesian peoples, also sometimes referred to as the Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of various peoples in Taiwan (collectively known as Taiwanese indigenous peoples), Maritime Southeast Asia, Oceania and Madagascar that ...
predominantly inhabiting the Malay Peninsula and portions of the adjacent islands of
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
, including the east coast of Sumatra, the coast of
Borneo Borneo (; id, ) is the third- and the largest in . At the geographic centre of , in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of , west of , and east of . The among three countries: and in the north, and to the south. It ...

Borneo
, and smaller islands that lie between these areas. The state that gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1957 took the name the "
Federation of Malaya The Federation of Malaya ( ms, Persekutuan Tanah Melayu; JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley c ...
", chosen in preference to other potential names such as "
Langkasuka Langkasuka was an ancient Malay (Hindu-Buddhist) kingdom located in the Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay language, Malay: ''Semenanjung Tanah Melayu'') is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north–south an ...
", after the historic kingdom located at the upper section of the Malay Peninsula in the first millennium CE. The name "Malaysia" was adopted in 1963 when the existing states of the Federation of Malaya, plus Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak formed a new federation. One theory posits the name was chosen so that "si" represented the inclusion of Singapore, North Borneo, and Sarawak to Malaya in 1963. Politicians in the Philippines contemplated renaming their state "Malaysia" before the modern country took the name.


History

Evidence of modern human habitation in Malaysia dates back 40,000 years. In the Malay Peninsula, the first inhabitants are thought to be
Negritos The Negrito () are several diverse ethnic groups who inhabit isolated parts of Southeast Asia and the Andaman Islands. Their current populations include: the Andamanese peoples of the Andaman Islands, the Semang peoples (among them, the Batek p ...

Negritos
. Traders and settlers from
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
and
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
arrived as early as the first century AD, establishing trading ports and coastal towns in the second and third centuries. Their presence resulted in strong Indian and Chinese influences on the local cultures, and the people of the Malay Peninsula adopted the religions of
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
and
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
.
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
inscriptions appear as early as the fourth or fifth century. The Kingdom of
Langkasuka Langkasuka was an ancient Malay (Hindu-Buddhist) kingdom located in the Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay language, Malay: ''Semenanjung Tanah Melayu'') is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north–south an ...
arose around the second century in the northern area of the Malay Peninsula, lasting until about the 15th century. Between the 7th and 13th centuries, much of the southern Malay Peninsula was part of the maritime
Srivijaya Srivijaya (, ; , ) was a Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay langua ...
n empire. By the 13th and the 14th century, the
Majapahit The Majapahit () was a Javanese Hindu Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism.Jeffery D. Long (2007), A Vision for Hinduism, IB Tauris, , pages 35–37 ...

Majapahit
empire had successfully wrested control over most of the peninsula and the Malay Archipelago from Srivijaya. Islam began to spread among Malays in the 14th century. In the early 15th century, Parameswara, a runaway king of the former
Kingdom of Singapura The Kingdom of Singapura (Malay language, Malay: ''Kerajaan Singapura'') was a historical Malay kingdom thought to have been established on the main island of Singapore (then known as Pulau Ujong or Temasek), from 1299 to 1398. Conventional vi ...
linked to the old Srivijayan court, founded the
Malacca Sultanate #REDIRECT Malacca Sultanate The Malacca Sultanate ( ms, Kesultanan Melayu Melaka; Jawi script: کسلطانن ملايو ملاک) was a Malay sultanate centred in the modern-day state of Malacca, Malaysia. Conventional historical thesis marks c ...
. Malacca was an important commercial centre during this time, attracting trade from around the region. In 1511,
Malacca Malacca, officially the State of Malacca, is a Federated state, state in Malaysia located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Strait of Malacca. Its capital is Malacca City, dubbed the Historic City, which has been liste ...

Malacca
was conquered by
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...
, after which it was taken by the
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
in 1641. In 1786, the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...
established a presence in Malaya, when the Sultan of Kedah leased
Penang Island Penang Island is the main constituent island of the Malaysian state The states and federal territories of Malaysia are the principal administrative divisions Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivisio ...

Penang Island
to the British
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Com ...
. The British obtained the town of Singapore in 1819, and in 1824 took control of Malacca following the Anglo-Dutch Treaty. By 1826, the British directly controlled Penang, Malacca, Singapore, and the island of
Labuan Labuan (; : ), officially the Federal Territory of Labuan (: ''Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan'', Jawi: ), is a of . Its territory includes and six smaller islands, off the coast of the state of in . Labuan's capital is and is best known as an ...
, which they established as the crown colony of the
Straits Settlements The Straits Settlements (; ms , Negeri-negeri Selat; ta, ஜலசந்தி குடியிருப்புகள்) were a group of British Empire, British territories located in Southeast Asia. Originally established in 1826 as par ...

Straits Settlements
. By the 20th century, the states of
Pahang Pahang (; ms, ڤهڠ, label=JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley coast of Western Australia, w ...

Pahang
,
Selangor Selangor (; ), also known by its Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transc ...

Selangor
,
Perak Perak () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Perak
, and
Negeri Sembilan Negeri Sembilan () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspa ...
, known together as the
Federated Malay States )Under God's Protection , capital = Kuala Lumpur1 , religion = Sunni Islam , legislature = Federal Legislative Council , type_house1 = State level , common_languages = , title_leader = British monarchy, Monar ...
, had British residents appointed to advise the Malay rulers, to whom the rulers were bound to defer by treaty. The remaining five states in the peninsula, known as the
Unfederated Malay States The term Unfederated Malay States () was the collective name given to five British protected states in the Malay peninsula in the first half of the twentieth century. These states were Johor Johor (), also spelled as Johore, is a States an ...
, while not directly under British rule, also accepted British advisers around the turn of the 20th century. Development on the peninsula and Borneo were generally separate until the 19th century. Under British rule the
immigration Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective ident ...

immigration
of Chinese and Indians to serve as labourers was encouraged. The area that is now
Sabah Sabah () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Sabah
came under British control as
North Borneo North Borneo (usually known as British North Borneo, also known as the State of North Borneo) was a British Protectorate, British protectorate located in the northern part of the island of Borneo. The territory of North Borneo was originally estab ...
when both the
Sultan of Brunei The sultan of Brunei is the monarchial head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personali ...
and the
Sultan of Sulu The Sultanate of Sulu (Tausug language, Tausūg: ''Kasultanan sin Sūg'', Jawi script, Jawi: کسلطانن سولو دار الإسلام, ms, Kesultanan Sulu, ar, سلطنة سولك) was a Muslim Sovereign state, state that ruled the islan ...
transferred their respective territorial rights of ownership, between 1877 and 1878. In 1842, Sarawak was ceded by the Sultan of Brunei to
James Brooke Sir James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak (29 April 1803 – 11 June 1868), was a British soldier and adventurer who founded the Raj of Sarawak in Borneo Borneo (; id, Kalimantan) is the third-List of islands by area, largest island in the wo ...

James Brooke
, whose successors ruled as the
White Rajahs The White Rajahs were a dynastic monarchy of the British Brooke family, who founded and ruled the Raj of Sarawak, located on the north west coast of the island of Borneo, from 1841 to 1946. The first ruler was an Englishman James Brooke. As a rewa ...
over an independent
kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...
until 1946, when it became a
crown colony A Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original coun ...
. In the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, the
Japanese Army The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF, ja, 陸上自衛隊, ''Rikujō Jieitai''), also referred to as the Japanese Army, is the land warfare branch of the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Created on July 1, 1954, it is the largest of the three se ...
invaded An invasion is a Offensive (military), military offensive in which large numbers of combatants of one geopolitics, geopolitical Legal entity, entity aggressively enter territory (country subdivision), territory owned by another such entity, gene ...
and occupied Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak, and
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...
for over three years. During this time, ethnic tensions were raised and nationalism grew. Popular support for independence increased after Malaya was reconquered by Allied forces. Post-war British plans to unite the administration of Malaya under a single crown colony called the "
Malayan Union The Malayan Union was a union of the Malay states and the Straits Settlements of Penang and Malacca. It was the successor to British Malaya and was conceived to unify the Malay Peninsula under a single government to simplify administration. Fol ...
" met with strong opposition from the Malays, who opposed the weakening of the Malay rulers and the granting of citizenship to the ethnic Chinese. The Malayan Union, established in 1946, and consisting of all the British possessions in the Malay Peninsula with the exception of
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...
, was quickly dissolved and replaced on 1 February 1948 by the
Federation of Malaya The Federation of Malaya ( ms, Persekutuan Tanah Melayu; JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley c ...
, which restored the autonomy of the rulers of the Malay states under British protection. During this time, the mostly ethnically Chinese rebels under the leadership of the
Malayan Communist Party Malaya refers to a number of historical and current political entities related to the Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Ind ...
launched guerrilla operations designed to force the British out of Malaya. The Malayan Emergency (1948–1960) involved a long anti-insurgency campaign by
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
troops in Malaya. On 31 August 1957, Malaya became an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations. After this a plan was put in place to federate Malaya with the crown colonies of North Borneo (which joined as Sabah), Sarawak, and Singapore. The date of federation was planned to be 31 August 1963 so as to coincide with the anniversary of Malayan independence; however, federation was delayed until 16 September 1963 in order for a United Nations survey of support for federation in Sabah and Sarawak, called for by parties opposed to federation including
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of over List of islands of I ...

Indonesia
's
Sukarno Sukarno (; born Koesno Sosrodihardjo, ; 6 June 1901 – 21 June 1970) was an Indonesian people, Indonesian wikt:statesman, statesman, politician, nationalist, and assimilationist who was the first president of Indonesia, serving from 1945 ...

Sukarno
and the
Sarawak United Peoples' Party The Sarawak United Peoples' Party, or SUPP (; ms, Parti Rakyat Bersatu Sarawak; : ''Gerempong Sa'ati Rayat Sarawak'') is a multi-racial political party of Malaysia based in . The SUPP president is . He succeeded the post from his predecessor ...
, to be completed. Federation brought heightened tensions including a conflict with Indonesia as well continuous conflicts against the Communists in Borneo and the Malayan Peninsula which escalates to the
Sarawak Communist Insurgency The communist insurgency in Sarawak occurred in Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, thirteen states and three fede ...
and Communist insurgency in Malaysia (1968–89), Second Malayan Emergency together with several other issues such as the Cross border attacks in Sabah, cross border attacks into North Borneo by Piracy in the Sulu Sea, Moro pirates from the southern islands of the Philippines, Singapore Singapore in Malaysia#Expulsion, being expelled from the Federation in 1965, and racial strife. This strife culminated in the 13 May Incident, 13 May race riots in 1969. After the riots, the controversial Malaysian New Economic Policy, New Economic Policy was launched by Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, trying to increase the share of the economy held by the ''Bumiputera (Malaysia), bumiputera''. Under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad there was a period of rapid economic growth and urbanisation beginning in the 1980s. The economy shifted from being agriculturally based to one based on manufacturing and industry. Numerous mega-projects were completed, such as the Petronas Towers, the North–South Expressway (Malaysia), North–South Expressway, the MSC Malaysia, Multimedia Super Corridor, and the new federal administrative capital of
Putrajaya Putrajaya (), officially the Federal Territory of Putrajaya ( ms, Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya), is a planned capital city which functions as the administrative capital and the judicial capital of Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in ...

Putrajaya
. However, in the late 1990s the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, Asian financial crisis almost caused the collapse of the currency and the stock and property markets, although they later recovered. The 1MDB scandal was a major global Corruption in Malaysia, corruption scandal that implicated then-Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2015. The scandal contributed to the first change in ruling political party since independence in the 2018 Malaysian general election, 2018 general election. In the 2020s, the country was gripped by 2020–21 Malaysian political crisis, political crisis that coincided with health and Economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia, economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia, COVID-19 pandemic.


Government and politics

Malaysia is a
federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies *Federation, or ''Federal state'' (federal system), a type of government characterized by both a central (federal) government and states or ...

federal
constitutional monarchy, constitutional elective monarchy; the only federal country in Southeast Asia. The system of government is closely modelled on the Westminster system, Westminster parliamentary system, a legacy of British Empire, British rule. The head of state is the King, whose official title is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The King is elected to a five-year term by and from among the nine hereditary Monarchies of Malaysia, rulers of the Malay states. The other four states, which have titular Yang di-Pertua Negeri, Governors, do not participate in the selection. By informal agreement the position is rotated among the nine, and has been held by Abdullah of Pahang since 31 January 2019. The King's role has been largely ceremonial since changes to the Constitution of Malaysia, constitution in 1993 amendments to the Constitution of Malaysia, 1994, picking ministers and members of the upper house. Legislative power is divided between federal and state legislatures. The bicameral federal Parliament of Malaysia, parliament consists of the lower house, the House of Representatives of Malaysia, House of Representatives and the upper house, the Senate of Malaysia, Senate. The 222-member House of Representatives is elected for a maximum term of five years from single-member constituencies. All 70 senators sit for three-year terms; 26 are elected by the 13 state assemblies, and the remaining 44 are appointed by the King upon the Prime Minister's recommendation. The parliament follows a multi-party system and the government is elected through a first-past-the-post voting, first-past-the-post system. Parliamentary Elections in Malaysia, elections are held at least once every five years, the most recent of which took place in May 2018. Before 2018, registered voters aged 21 and above could vote for the members of the House of Representatives and, in most of the states, for the state legislative chamber. Voting is not mandatory. In July 2019, a bill to lower the voting age to 18 years old was officially passed. Malaysia's ranking increased by 9 places in the 2019 Democracy Index to 43th compared to the previous year, and is classified as a 'flawed democracy'. Executive branch, Executive power is vested in the
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
, led by the
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
. The prime minister must be a member of the House of Representatives, who in the opinion of His Majesty the King, commands the support of a majority of members. The Cabinet is chosen from members of both houses of Parliament. The Prime Minister is both the Cabinet of Malaysia, head of cabinet and the
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presi ...
. As a result of the 2018 Malaysian general election, 2018 general election Malaysia was governed by the Pakatan Harapan political alliance, although Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned amid a 2020–21 Malaysian political crisis, political crisis in 2020. In March 2020, the Perikatan Nasional coalition formed under Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, before Muhyidden lost majority support and was replaced by deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, a veteran politician from UMNO, in August 2021. Law of Malaysia, Malaysia's legal system is based on English law, English Common Law. Although Judiciary of Malaysia, the judiciary is theoretically independent, its independence has been called into question and the appointment of judges lacks accountability and transparency. The highest court in the judicial system is the Federal Court of Malaysia, Federal Court, followed by the Court of Appeal of Malaysia, Court of Appeal and two High Courts of Malaysia, high courts, one for Peninsular Malaysia and one for East Malaysia. Malaysia also has a special court to hear cases brought by or against royalty. The Capital punishment in Malaysia, death penalty is in use for serious crimes such as murder, terrorism, drug trafficking, and kidnapping. Separate from and running parallel to the civil courts are the Syariah Courts, which apply Shariah law to Muslims in the areas of family law and religious observances. Homosexuality is LGBT rights in Malaysia, illegal in Malaysia, and the authorities can impose punishment such as Caning in Malaysia, caning. Human trafficking and sex trafficking in Malaysia are significant problems. Race is a significant force in politics. Affirmative action#Malaysia, Affirmative actions such as the Malaysian New Economic Policy, New Economic Policy and the National Development Policy which superseded it, were implemented to advance the standing of the ''bumiputera'', consisting of Malays and the indigenous tribes who are considered the original inhabitants of Malaysia, over non-''bumiputera'' such as Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians. These policies provide preferential treatment to ''bumiputera'' in employment, education, scholarships, business, and access to cheaper housing and assisted savings. However, it has generated greater interethnic resentment. There is ongoing Religion in Malaysia#Secularism, debate over whether the laws and society of Malaysia should reflect secular or Islamic principles. Islamic criminal laws passed by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party with the support of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) state assemblymen in the state legislative assembly of Kelantan have been blocked by the federal government on the basis that criminal laws are the responsibility of the federal government. Malaysia's ranking in the 2020 Press Freedom Index increased by 22 places to 101st compared to the previous year, making it one of two countries in Southeast Asia without a 'Difficult situation' or 'Very Serious situation' with regards to press freedom. However, it fell 18 places the following year due to the policies of the Perikatan Nasional government. Malaysia is marked in the 50–59 range according to the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index, indicating a moderate level of Corruption in Malaysia, corruption. Freedom House noted Malaysia as "partly free" in its 2018 survey. A lawsuit filed by United States Department of Justice, Department of Justice (DOJ), alleged that at least $3.5 billion has been stolen from Malaysia's 1Malaysia Development Berhad, 1MDB state-owned fund. On 28 July 2020, former Prime Minister Najib Razak was found guilty on seven charges in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.


Administrative divisions

Malaysia is a federation of 13 states and three federal territories. These are divided between two regions, with 11 states and two federal territories on
Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (Malay language, Malay: ''Semenanjung Malaysia''), also known as West Malaysia or the Malaysian Peninsula, formerly known as Malaya (disambiguation), Malaya, is the part of Malaysia which occupies the southern half of the Ma ...
and the other two states and one federal territory in
East Malaysia East Malaysia (), also known as Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan () or Malaysian Borneo, is the part of Malaysia on and near the island of Borneo, the world's third largest island. It consists of the states and federal territories of Malaysia, Malay ...
. Each state is divided into Districts of Malaysia, districts, which are then divided into mukim. In
Sabah Sabah () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Sabah
and Sarawak districts are grouped into divisions. Governance of the states is divided between the federal and the state governments, with different powers reserved for each, and the Federal government has direct administration of the federal territories. Each state has a unicameral State legislative assemblies of Malaysia, State Legislative Assembly whose members are elected from single-member constituencies. State governments are led by Chief Ministers in Malaysia, Chief Ministers, who are state assembly members from the majority party in the assembly. In each of the states with a hereditary ruler, the Chief Minister is normally required to be a Malays (ethnic group), Malay, appointed by the ruler upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Except for state elections in Sarawak, by constitutional convention (political custom), convention state elections are held concurrently with the federal election. Lower-level administration is carried out by local authorities, which include city councils, district councils, and municipal councils, although autonomous statutory bodies can be created by the federal and state governments to deal with certain tasks. The federal constitution puts local authorities outside of the federal territories under the exclusive jurisdictions of the state government, although in practice the federal government has intervened in the affairs of state local governments. There are 154 local authorities, consisting of 14 city councils, 38 municipal councils and 97 district councils. The 13 states are based on historical Malay kingdoms, and 9 of the 11 Peninsular states, known as the Malay states, retain their royal families. The King is elected by and from Conference of Rulers, the nine rulers to serve a five-year term. This King appoints governors serving a four-year term for the states without monarchies, after consultations with the chief minister of that state. Each state has its own written constitution. Sabah and Sarawak have considerably more autonomy than the other states, most notably having separate immigration policies and controls, and a unique residency status. Federal intervention in state affairs, lack of development, and disputes over oil royalties have occasionally led to statements about secession from leaders in several states such as Penang, Johor, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak, although these have not been followed up and no serious independence movements exist. ;States A list of thirteen states and each state capital (in brackets): # Johor (Johor Bahru) # Kedah (Alor Setar) # Kelantan (Kota Bharu) #
Malacca Malacca, officially the State of Malacca, is a Federated state, state in Malaysia located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Strait of Malacca. Its capital is Malacca City, dubbed the Historic City, which has been liste ...

Malacca
(Malacca City) #
Negeri Sembilan Negeri Sembilan () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspa ...
(Seremban) #
Pahang Pahang (; ms, ڤهڠ, label=JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley coast of Western Australia, w ...

Pahang
(Kuantan) # Penang (George Town, Penang, George Town) #
Perak Perak () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Perak
(Ipoh) # Perlis (Kangar) #
Selangor Selangor (; ), also known by its Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transc ...

Selangor
(Shah Alam) # Terengganu (Kuala Terengganu) #
Sabah Sabah () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Sabah
(Kota Kinabalu) # Sarawak (Kuching) ;Federal Territories # Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur # Labuan, Federal Territory of Labuan # Putrajaya, Federal Territory of Putrajaya


Foreign relations and military

A founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the country participates in many international organisations such as the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Developing 8 Countries, and the
Non-Aligned Movement The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world Image:Imf-advanced-un-least-developed-2008.svg, 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the International Monetary Fund, IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A deve ...
(NAM). It has chaired ASEAN, the OIC, and the NAM in the past. A former British colony, it is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Kuala Lumpur was the site of the first East Asia Summit in 2005. Malaysia's foreign policy is officially based on the principle of neutrality and maintaining peaceful relations with all countries, regardless of their political system. The government attaches a high priority to the security and stability of Southeast Asia, and seeks to further develop relations with other countries in the region. Historically the government has tried to portray Malaysia as a progressive Islamic nation while strengthening relations with other Islamic states. A strong tenet of Malaysia's policy is national sovereignty and the right of a country to control its domestic affairs. Malaysia signed the UN treaty on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Spratly Islands are disputed by many states in the area, and Territorial disputes in the South China Sea, a large portion of the South China Sea is claimed by
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
. Unlike its neighbours of
Vietnam , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Hanoi , coordinates = , largest_city = Ho Chi Minh City , languages_type = National language , languages ...

Vietnam
and the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, Malaysia historically avoided conflicts with China. However, after the encroachment of Chinese ships in Malaysian territorial waters, Malaysia has become active in condemning China. Brunei and Malaysia in 2009 announced an end to claims of each other's land, and committed to resolve issues related to their maritime borders. The Philippines has a North Borneo dispute, dormant claim to the eastern part of Sabah. Singapore's land reclamation has caused tensions, and minor maritime and land border disputes exist with Indonesia. Malaysia has never recognised Israel and has no diplomatic ties with it, and has called for the International Criminal Court to take action against Israel over its Gaza flotilla raid. Malaysia has stated it will establish official relations with Israel only when a Israeli–Palestinian peace process, peace agreement with the State of Palestine has been reached, and called for both parties to find a quick resolution to realise the two-state solution. Malaysian peacekeeping forces have contributed to many UN peacekeeping missions, such as in United Nations Operation in the Congo, Congo, United Nations Iran–Iraq Military Observer Group, Iran–Iraq, United Nations Transition Assistance Group, Namibia, United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia, Cambodia, United Nations Protection Force, Bosnia and Herzegovina, United Nations Operation in Somalia II, Somalia, United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, Kosovo, United Nations Integrated Mission in East Timor, East Timor and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Lebanon. The Malaysian Armed Forces have three branches: the Royal Malaysian Navy, the Malaysian Army, and the Royal Malaysian Air Force. There is no conscription, and the required age for voluntary military service is 18. The military uses 1.5% of the country's GDP, and employs 1.23% of Malaysia's manpower. The Five Power Defence Arrangements is a regional security initiative which has been in place for almost 40 years. It involves joint military exercises held among Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Joint exercises and war games have also been held with Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and the United States. Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam have agreed to host joint security force exercises to secure their maritime border and tackle issues such as illegal immigration, piracy, and smuggling. Previously there were fears that extremist militants activities in the Muslim areas of the Moro conflict in the Philippines, southern Philippines and South Thailand insurgency, southern Thailand would spill over into Malaysia. Because of this, Malaysia began to increase its border security.


Geography

Malaysia is the List of countries and outlying territories by total area, 66th largest country by total land area, with a land area of . It has land Borders of Malaysia, borders with Thailand in West Malaysia, and
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of over List of islands of I ...

Indonesia
and
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Aus ...

Brunei
in East Malaysia. It is linked to
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
by a narrow causeway and a bridge. The country also has maritime boundary, maritime boundaries with
Vietnam , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Hanoi , coordinates = , largest_city = Ho Chi Minh City , languages_type = National language , languages ...

Vietnam
and the Philippines. The land borders are defined in large part by geological features such as the Perlis River, the Golok River and the Pagalayan Canal, whilst some of the maritime boundaries are the subject of ongoing contention. Brunei forms what is almost an enclave in Malaysia, with the state of Sarawak dividing it into two parts. Malaysia is the only country with territory on both the Asian mainland and the Malay archipelago.
Tanjung Piai Tanjung Piai is a cape in , , . It is the southernmost point of and thus the most southern point of mainland . The skyline of is visible across the from the point. It features seafood restaurants, perched on wooden jetties that are surrounde ...

Tanjung Piai
, located in the southern state of Johor, is the southernmost tip of continental Asia. The Strait of Malacca, lying between Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia, is one of the most important thoroughfares in global commerce, carrying 40 per cent of the world's trade. The two parts of Malaysia, separated from each other by the
South China Sea The South China Sea is a of the . It is bounded in the north by the shores of (hence the name), in the west by the , in the east by the islands of and northwestern (mainly , and ), and in the south by , and the , encompassing an area of ...

South China Sea
, share a largely similar landscape in that both Peninsular and East Malaysia feature coastal plains rising to hills and mountains. Peninsular Malaysia, containing 40 per cent of Malaysia's land area, extends from north to south, and its maximum width is . It is divided between its east and west coasts by the Titiwangsa Mountains, rising to a peak elevation of at Mount Korbu, part of a series of mountain ranges running down the centre of the peninsula. These mountains are heavily forested, and mainly composed of granite and other igneous rocks. Much of it has been eroded, creating a karst landscape. The range is the origin of some of Peninsular Malaysia's river systems. The coastal plains surrounding the peninsula reach a maximum width of , and the peninsula's coastline is nearly long, although harbours are only available on the western side. East Malaysia, on the island of
Borneo Borneo (; id, ) is the third- and the largest in . At the geographic centre of , in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of , west of , and east of . The among three countries: and in the north, and to the south. It ...

Borneo
, has a coastline of . It is divided between coastal regions, hills and valleys, and a mountainous interior. The Crocker Range extends northwards from Sarawak, dividing the state of Sabah. It is the location of the high Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Malaysia. Mount Kinabalu is located in the Kinabalu National Park, which is protected as one of the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites List of World Heritage Sites in Malaysia, in Malaysia. The highest mountain ranges form the border between Malaysia and Indonesia. Sarawak contains the Mulu Caves, the largest cave system in the world, in the Gunung Mulu National Park which is also a World Heritage Site. Around these two halves of Malaysia are List of islands of Malaysia, numerous islands, the largest of which is Banggi Island, Banggi. The local climate is Tropical climate, equatorial and characterised by the annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons. The temperature is moderated by the presence of the surrounding oceans. Humidity is usually high, and the average annual rainfall is . The climates of the Peninsula and the East differ, as the climate on the peninsula is directly affected by wind from the mainland, as opposed to the more maritime weather of the East. Local climates can be divided into three regions, highland, lowland, and coastal. Climate change is likely to affect sea levels and rainfall, increasing flood risks and leading to droughts.


Biodiversity and conservation

Malaysia signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity on 12 June 1993, and became a party to the convention on 24 June 1994. It has subsequently produced a Biodiversity action plan, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which was received by the convention on 16 April 1998. The country is megadiverse countries, megadiverse with a high number of species and high levels of endemism. It is estimated to contain 20 per cent of the world's animal species. High levels of endemism are found on the diverse forests of Borneo's mountains, as species are isolated from each other by lowland forest. There are about 210 mammal species in the country. Over 620 species of birds have been recorded in Peninsular Malaysia, with many endemic to the mountains there. A high number of endemic bird species are also found in Malaysian Borneo. 250 reptile species have been recorded in the country, with about 150 species of snakes and 80 species of lizards. There are about 150 species of frogs, and thousands of insect species. The Exclusive economic zone of Malaysia is and 1.5 times larger than its land area. It is mainly in the
South China Sea The South China Sea is a of the . It is bounded in the north by the shores of (hence the name), in the west by the , in the east by the islands of and northwestern (mainly , and ), and in the south by , and the , encompassing an area of ...

South China Sea
. Some of its waters are in the Coral Triangle, a biodiversity hotspot. The waters around Sipadan island are the most biodiverse in the world. Bordering East Malaysia, the Sulu Sea is a biodiversity hotspot, with around 600 coral species and 1200 fish species. The unique biodiversity of Malaysian Caves always attracts lovers of ecotourism from all over the world. Nearly 4,000 species of fungi, including lichen-forming species have been recorded from Malaysia. Of the two fungal groups with the largest number of species in Malaysia, the Ascomycota and their asexual states have been surveyed in some habitats (decaying wood, marine and freshwater ecosystems, as parasites of some plants, and as agents of biodegradation), but have not been or have been only poorly surveyed in other habitats (as endobionts, in soils, on dung, as human and animal pathogens); the Basidiomycota are only partly surveyed: bracket fungi, and mushrooms and toadstools have been studied, but Malaysian rust and smut fungi remain very poorly known. Without doubt, many more fungal species in Malaysia have not yet been recorded, and it is likely that many of those, when found, will be new to science. About two thirds of Malaysia was covered in forest as of 2007, with some forests believed to be 130 million years old. The forests are dominated by Dipterocarpaceae, dipterocarps. Lowland forest covers areas below , and formerly East Malaysia was covered in Borneo lowland rain forests, such rainforest, which is supported by its hot wet climate. There are around 14,500 species of flowering plants and trees. Besides rainforests, there are over of mangroves in Malaysia, and a large amount of peat forest. At higher altitudes, oaks, chestnuts, and rhododendrons replace dipterocarps. There are an estimated 8,500 species of vascular plants in Peninsular Malaysia, with another 15,000 in the East. The forests of East Malaysia are estimated to be the habitat of around 2,000 tree species, and are one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, with 240 different species of trees every hectare. These forests host many members of the Rafflesia genus, the largest flowers in the world, with a maximum diameter of . Logging, along with cultivation practices has devastated tree cover, causing severe environmental degradation in the country. Over 80 per cent of Sarawak's rainforest has been logged. Floods in East Malaysia have been worsened by the loss of trees, and over 60 per cent of the Peninsula's forest have been cleared. With current rates of Social and environmental impact of palm oil#Deforestation, deforestation, mainly for the Palm oil production in Malaysia, palm oil industry, the forests are predicted to be extinct by 2020. Deforestation in Malaysia, Deforestation is a major problem for animals, fungi and plants, having caused species such as ''Begonia eiromischa'' to go extinct. Most remaining forest is found inside reserves and national parks. Habitat destruction has proved a threat for marine life. Illegal fishing is another major threat, with fishing methods such as dynamite fishing and poisoning depleting marine ecosystems. Leatherback turtle numbers have dropped 98 per cent since the 1950s. Hunting has also been an issue for some animals, with overconsumption and the use of animal parts for profit endangering many animals, from marine life to tigers. Marine life is also detrimentally affected by uncontrolled tourism. The Malaysian government aims to balance economic growth with environmental protection, but has been accused of favouring big business over the environment. Some state governments are now trying to counter the environmental impact and pollution created by deforestation; and the federal government is trying to cut logging by 10 per cent each year. List of national parks of Malaysia, 28 national parks have been established; 23 in East Malaysia and five in the Peninsular. Tourism has been limited in biodiverse areas such as Sipadan island. Animal trafficking is a large issue, and the Malaysian government is holding talks with the governments of Brunei and Indonesia to standardise anti-trafficking laws.


Economy

Malaysia is a relatively open economy, open state-oriented and newly industrialised
market economy A market economy is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The ide ...
. The state plays a significant but declining role in guiding economic activity through macroeconomic plans. Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with GDP growing an average 6.5 per cent annually from 1957 to 2005. Malaysia's economy in 2014–2015 was one of the most competitive in Asia, ranking 6th in Asia and 20th in the world, higher than countries like Australia, France and South Korea. In 2014, Malaysia's economy grew 6%, the second highest growth in ASEAN behind the Philippines' growth of 6.1%. The economy of Malaysia in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP) in April 2019 was estimated to be $999.397 billion, the third largest in ASEAN and the List of countries by GDP (PPP), 25th largest in the world. In 1991, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (during his first period as Prime Minister) outlined his ideal in Wawasan 2020, Vision 2020, in which Malaysia would become a self-sufficient industrialised nation by 2020. Najib Razak has said Malaysia could attain developed country status much earlier from the actual target in 2020, adding the country has two program concept such as Government Transformation Programme (Malaysia), Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme. According to a HSBC report, Malaysia will become the world's 21st largest economy by 2050, with a GDP of $1.2 trillion (Year 2000 dollars) and a GDP per capita of $29,247 (Year 2000 dollars). The report also says "The electronic equipment, petroleum, and liquefied natural gas producer will see a substantial increase in income per capita. Malaysian life expectancy, relatively high level of schooling, and above average fertility rate will help in its rapid expansion". Viktor Shvets, the managing director of Credit Suisse, has said "Malaysia has all the right ingredients to become a developed nation". In the 1970s, the predominantly mining and agricultural-based economy began a transition towards a more multi-sector economy. Since the 1980s, the industrial sector, with a high level of investment, has led the country's growth. The economy recovered from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis earlier than neighbouring countries did, and has since recovered to the levels of the pre-crisis era with a GDP per capita of $14,800. Economic inequalities exist between different ethnic groups. The Chinese make up about one-quarter of the population, but accounts for 70 per cent of the country's market capitalisation. Chinese businesses in Malaysia are part of the larger bamboo network, a network of overseas Chinese businesses in the Southeast Asian market sharing common family and cultural ties. International trade, facilitated by the shipping route in adjacent Strait of Malacca, and manufacturing are the key sectors. Malaysia is an exporter of natural and agricultural resources, and petroleum is a major export. Malaysia has once been the largest producer of tin, rubber and palm oil in the world. Manufacturing has a large influence in the country's economy, although Malaysia's economic structure has been moving away from it. Malaysia remains one of the world's largest producers of palm oil. In an effort to diversify the economy and make it less dependent on export goods, the government has pushed to increase tourism in Malaysia, tourism to Malaysia. As a result, tourism has become Malaysia's third largest source of foreign exchange, although it is threatened by the negative effects of the growing industrial economy, with large amounts of air and water pollution along with deforestation affecting tourism. The tourism sector came under some pressure in 2014 when the national carrier Malaysia Airlines had Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, one of its planes disappear in March, while Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, another was brought down by a missile over Ukraine in July, resulting in the loss of a total 537 passengers and crew. The state of the airline, which had been unprofitable for 3 years, prompted the government in August 2014 to nationalise the airline by buying up the 30 per cent it did not already own. Between 2013 and 2014, Malaysia has been listed as one of the best places to retire to in the world, with the country in third position on the Global Retirement Index. This in part was the result of the Malaysia My Second Home programme to allow foreigners to live in the country on a long-stay visa (document), visa for up to 10 years. In 2016, Malaysia ranked the fifth position on The World's Best Retirement Havens while getting in the first place as the best place in Asia to retire. A warm climate combined with a British colonial background makes it easy for foreigners to interact with locals. The country has developed into a centre of Islamic banking, and is the country with the highest numbers of female workers in that industry. Knowledge-based services are also expanding. To create a self-reliant defensive ability and support national development, Malaysia privatised some of its military facilities in the 1970s. The privatisation has created defence industry, which in 1999 was brought under the Malaysia Defence Industry Council. The government continues to promote this sector and its competitiveness, actively marketing the defence industry. The country is one of the world's largest exporters of semiconductor devices, electrical devices, and IT and communication products. Malaysia began developing Malaysian Space Agency, its own space programme in 2002, and in 2006, Russia agreed to transport Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, one Malaysian to the International Space Station as part of a multibillion-dollar purchase of 18 Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighter jets by the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The government has invested in building satellites through the RazakSAT programme.


Infrastructure

Malaysia's persistent drive to develop and upgrade its infrastructure has resulted in one of the most well-developed infrastructure among the newly industrializing countries of Asia. In 2014, Malaysia ranked 8th in Asia and 25th in the world in term of overall infrastructure development. The country's telecommunications network is second only to Singapore's in Southeast Asia, with 4.7 million fixed-line subscribers and more than 30 million cellular subscribers. The country has seven international ports, the major one being the Port Klang. There are 200 industrial parks along with specialised parks such as Technology Park Malaysia and Kulim Hi-Tech Park. Fresh water is available to over 95 per cent of the population with ground water accounts for 90 percent of the freshwater resources. During the colonial period, development was mainly concentrated in economically powerful cities and in areas forming security concerns. Although rural areas have been the focus of great development, they still lag behind areas such as the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The telecommunication network, although strong in urban areas, is less available to the rural population. Energy policy of Malaysia, Malaysia's energy infrastructure sector is largely dominated by Tenaga Nasional, the largest electric utility company in Southeast Asia, with over RM99.03 billion of assets. Customers are connected to electricity through the National Grid (Malaysia), National Grid, with more than 420 Electrical substation#Transmission substation, transmission substations in the Peninsular linked together by approximately 11,000 km of transmission lines operating at 66, 132, 275, and 500 kilovolts. The other two electric utility companies in the country are Sarawak Energy and Sabah Electricity. In 2013, Malaysia's total power generation capacity was over 29,728 megawatts. Total electricity generation was 140,985.01 GWh and total electricity consumption was 116,087.51 GWh. List of power stations in Malaysia, Energy production in Malaysia is largely based on oil and natural gas, owing to Malaysia's oil reserves and natural gas reserves, which is the fourth largest in Asia-Pacific region. Malaysia's road network is one of the most comprehensive in Asia and covers a total of . The main national road network is the Malaysian Federal Roads System, which span over . Most of the federal roads in Malaysia are 2-lane roads. In town areas, federal roads may become 4-lane roads to increase traffic capacity. Nearly all federal roads are paved with Asphalt concrete, tarmac except for parts of the Skudai–Pontian Highway which are paved with concrete, while parts of the Federal Highway, Malaysia, Federal Highway linking Klang to Kuala Lumpur are paved with asphalt. Malaysia has over of highways and the longest highway, the North–South Expressway (Malaysia), North–South Expressway, extends over on the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, connecting major urban centres like
Kuala Lumpur , anthem = ' , image_map = , map_caption = , pushpin_map = Malaysia#Southeast Asia#Asia , pushpin_map_caption = , coordinates = , subdivision_type ...

Kuala Lumpur
, Penang and Johor Bahru. In 2015, the government announced a RM27 billion (US$8.23 billion) Pan-Borneo Highway project to upgrade all trunk roads to Dual carriageway, dual-carriageway expressways, bringing the standard of East Malaysian highways to the same level of quality as Peninsular highways. There are currently of Rail transport in Malaysia, railways in Malaysia, of which are double tracked and Electrified railways, electrified. Rail transport in Malaysia comprises heavy rail (Keretapi Tanah Melayu, KTM), light rapid transit and monorail (Rapid Rail), and a funicular railway line (Penang Hill Railway). Heavy rail is mostly used for intercity passenger and freight transport as well as some urban public transport, while LRTs are used for intra-city urban public transport. There are two commuter rail services linking Kuala Lumpur with the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The sole monorail line in the country is used for public transport in Kuala Lumpur, while the only funicular railway line is in Penang. A rapid transit project, the KVMRT, is currently under construction to improve Kuala Lumpur's public transport system. The railway network covers most of the 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia. In East Malaysia, only the state of Sabah has railways. The network is also connected to the State Railway of Thailand, Thai railway network in the north. If the Burma Railway is rebuilt, services to Myanmar, India, and China could be initiated. Malaysia also operated the KTM ETS, (commercially known as "ETS", short for 'Electric Train Service') an inter-city rail passenger service operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad using electric multiple-unit trains. The KTM ETS is the second electric train service to be operated by the Malaysian railway company, after the KTM Komuter service. The line length is 755 km (Padang Besar, Malaysia, Padang Besar – Gemas) and additional 197 km from Gemas to Johor Bahru Sentral which is under construction. Malaysia has List of airports in Malaysia, 118 airports, of which 38 are paved. The flag carrier, national airline is Malaysia Airlines, providing international and domestic air services. Major international routes and domestic routes crossing between Peninsula Malaysia and East Malaysia are served by Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air while smaller domestic routes are supplemented by smaller airlines like MASwings, Firefly (airline), Firefly and Berjaya Air. Major cargo airlines include MASkargo and Transmile Air Services. Kuala Lumpur International Airport is the main and busiest airport of Malaysia. In 2014, it was the world's List of the world's busiest airports by international passenger traffic, 13th busiest airport by international passenger traffic, recording over 25.4 million international passenger traffic. It was also the world's List of the world's busiest airports by passenger traffic, 20th busiest airport by passenger traffic, recording over 48.9 million passengers. Other major airports include Kota Kinabalu International Airport, which is also Malaysia's second busiest airport and busiest airport in East Malaysia with over 6.9 million passengers in 2013, and Penang International Airport, which serves Malaysia's second largest urban area, with over 5.4 million passengers in 2013.


Demographics

According to the Malaysian Department of Statistics, the country's population was 28,334,135 in 2010, making it the List of countries by population in 2010, 42nd most populated country. According to a 2012 estimate, the population is increasing by 1.54 percent per year. Malaysia has an average population density of 96 people per km2, ranking it List of countries and territories by population density, 116th in the world for population density. People within the 15–64 age group constitute 69.5 percent of the total population; the 0–14 age group corresponds to 24.5 percent; while senior citizens aged 65 years or older make up 6.0 percent. In 1960, when the first official census was recorded in Malaysia, the population was 8.11 million. 91.8 per cent of the population are Malaysian citizens. Malaysian citizens are divided along local ethnic lines, with 69.7 per cent considered ''Bumiputera (Malaysia), bumiputera''. The largest group of bumiputera are Malays, who are defined in the constitution as Muslims who practice Malay customs and culture. They play a dominant role politically. Bumiputera status is also accorded to the non-Malay indigenous groups of Sabah and Sarawak: which includes Dayak people, Dayaks (Iban people, Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu), Kadazan-Dusun, Melanau people, Melanau, Sama-Bajau, Bajau and others. Non-Malay bumiputeras make up more than half of Sarawak's population and over two thirds of Sabah's population. There are also indigenous or aboriginal groups in much smaller numbers on the peninsular, where they are collectively known as the Orang Asli. Laws over who gets bumiputera status vary between states. There are also two other non-Bumiputera local ethnic groups. 22.5 per cent of the population are Malaysian Chinese, while 6.8 per cent are Malaysian Indians, Malaysian Indian. The local Chinese have historically been more dominant in the business community. Local Indian are majority of Tamil people, Tamil descent. Malaysian citizenship is not automatically granted to those born in Malaysia, but is granted to a child born of two Malaysian parents outside Malaysia. Dual citizenship is not permitted. Citizenship in the states of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo are distinct from citizenship in Peninsular Malaysia for immigration purposes. Every citizen is issued a biometric smart chip identity document, identity card known as ''MyKad'' at the age of 12, and must carry the card at all times. The Education in Malaysia, education system features a non-compulsory kindergarten education followed by six years of compulsory primary education, and five years of optional secondary education. Schools in the primary education system are divided into two categories: national primary schools, which teach in Malay, and vernacular schools, which teach in Chinese or Tamil. Secondary education is conducted for five years. In the final year of secondary education, students sit for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, Malaysian Certificate of Education examination. Since the introduction of the Malaysian Matriculation Programme, matriculation programme in 1999, students who completed the 12-month programme in matriculation colleges can enroll in local universities. However, in the matriculation system, only 10 per cent of places are open to non-''bumiputera'' students. The infant mortality rate in 2009 was 6 deaths per 1000 births, and life expectancy at birth in 2009 was 75 years. With the aim of developing Malaysia into a medical tourism destination, 5 per cent of the government social sector development budget is spent on Healthcare in Malaysia, health care. The number of live births in Malaysia stood at 508,203 babies in the year 2016. This is a decline compared to 521,136 the previous year. There was also a decline in crude birth rate from 16.7 (2015) to 16.1 (2016) per 1,000 population. Male babies account for 51.7% of all babies born in the year 2016. The highest crude birth rate was reported at Putrajaya (30.4) and the lowest was reported at Penang (12.7). The Julau District, Julau district has the highest crude birth rate nationwide at 26.9 per 1000 population, meanwhile, the lowest crude birth rate was recorded in the Selangau District, Selangau district. The total fertility rate in Malaysia remains below the replacement level at 1.9 babies in 2017. This is a decline of 0.1 compared to the previous year. The highest crude death rate was reported in Perlis at 7.5 per 1000 population and the lowest crude death rate was reported in Putrajaya (1.9) in 2016. Kuala Penyu District, Kuala Penyu was the district with the highest crude death rate while Kinabatangan District, Kinabatangan recorded the lowest crude death rate in the country. The population is concentrated on Peninsular Malaysia, where 20 million out of approximately 28 million Malaysians live. 70 per cent of the population is urban. Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city in Malaysia, as well as its main commercial and financial centre. Putrajaya, a purpose-built city constructed from 1999, is the seat of government, as many executive and judicial branches of the federal government were moved there to ease growing congestion within Kuala Lumpur. Due to the rise in labour-intensive industries, the country is estimated to have over 3 million migrant workers; about 10 per cent of the population. Sabah-based NGOs estimate that out of the 3 million that make up the population of Sabah, 2 million are illegal immigrants. Malaysia hosts a population of refugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 171,500. Of this population, approximately 79,000 are from Burma, 72,400 from the Philippines, and 17,700 from Indonesia. Malaysian officials are reported to have turned deportees directly over to human smugglers in 2007, and Malaysia employs RELA Corps, RELA, a volunteer militia with a history of controversies, to enforce its immigration law.


Religion

The constitution grants freedom of religion and makes Malaysia an officially secular state, while establishing Islam as the "religion of the Federation". According to the Population and Housing Census 2010 figures, ethnicity and religious beliefs correlate highly. Approximately 61.3% of the population practice Islam in Malaysia, Islam, 19.8% practice Buddhism in Malaysia, Buddhism, 9.2% Christianity in Malaysia, Christianity, 6.3% Hinduism in Malaysia, Hinduism and 1.3% practice Confucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinese folk religion, Chinese religions. 0.7% declared no religion and the remaining 1.4% practised other religions or did not provide any information. Sunni Islam of Shafi'i school of jurisprudence is the dominant branch of Islam in Malaysia, while 18% are nondenominational Muslims. The Malaysian constitution strictly defines what makes a "Malay", considering Malays those who are Muslim, speak Malay regularly, practise Malay customs, and lived in or have ancestors from Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore. Statistics from the 2010 Census indicate that 83.6% of the Chinese population identify as Buddhist, with significant numbers of adherents following Taoism (3.4%) and Christianity (11.1%), along with small Muslim populations in areas like Penang. The majority of the Indian population follow Hinduism (86.2%), with a significant minority identifying as Christians (6.0%) or Muslims (4.1%). Christianity is the predominant religion of the non-Malay ''bumiputera'' community (46.5%) with an additional 40.4% identifying as Muslims. Muslims are obliged to follow the decisions of Syariah Courts (i.e. Shariah courts) in matters concerning their religion. The Islamic judges are expected to follow the Shafi'i legal school of Islam, which is the main ''madh'hab'' of Malaysia. The jurisdiction of Syariah courts is limited to Muslims in matters such as marriage, inheritance, divorce, apostasy, religious conversion, and custody among others. No other criminal or civil offences are under the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts, which have a similar hierarchy to the Courts of Malaysia, Civil Courts. Despite being the supreme courts of the land, the Civil Courts do not hear matters related to Islamic practices.


Languages

The official and national language of Malaysia is Malaysian, a standardised form of the
Malay language Malay (; ms, bahasa Melayu, links=no, : , : ) is an in , , and and unofficially spoken in and parts of . It is spoken by 290 million people (around 260 million in alone in its own literary standard named "") across the . As the or ...
. The terminology as per government policy is ''Bahasa Malaysia'' ("Malaysian language") but legislation continues to refer to the official language as ''Bahasa Melayu'' (literally "Malay language") and both terms remain in use. The National Language Act 1967 specifies the Malay alphabet, Latin (Rumi) script as the official writing system, script of the national language, but does not prohibit the use of the traditional Jawi alphabet, Jawi script. English remains an active second language, with its use allowed for some official purposes under the National Language Act of 1967. In Sarawak, English is an official state language alongside Malaysian. Historically, English was the de facto administrative language; Malay became predominant after the 1969 race riots (13 May incident). Malaysian English, also known as Malaysian Standard English, is a form of English derived from British English. Malaysian English is widely used in business, along with Manglish, which is a colloquial form of English with heavy Malay, Chinese, and
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native to Malaysia * Tamil language, a Dravidian languages, ...

Tamil
influences. The government discourages the use of non-standard Malay but has no power to issue compounds or fines to those who use what is perceived as improper Malay on their advertisements. Many other languages are used in Malaysia, which contains speakers of 137 living languages. Peninsular Malaysia contains speakers of 41 of these languages. The native tribes of East Malaysia have their own languages which are related to, but easily distinguishable from, Malay. Iban language, Iban is the main tribal language in Sarawak while Dusunic languages, Dusunic and Coastal Kadazan language, Kadazan languages are spoken by the natives in Sabah. Chinese Malaysians predominantly speak Chinese dialects from the southern provinces of China. The more common varieties of Chinese, Chinese varieties in the country are Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka Chinese, Hakka, Hainanese, and Fuzhou dialect, Fuzhou. Tamil language is used predominantly by majority of Malaysian Indians. Other South Asian languages are also widely spoken in Malaysia, as well as Thai language, Thai. A small number of Malaysians have Caucasian race, Caucasian ancestry and speak creole languages, such as the Portuguese-based Portuguese-based creole languages#Southeast Asia, Malaccan Creoles, and the Spanish-based Chavacano language.


Culture

Malaysia has a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual society. The original culture of the area stemmed from indigenous tribes that inhabited it, along with the Malay people, Malays who later moved there. Substantial influence exists from Chinese culture, Chinese and Indian Culture, Indian culture, dating back to when foreign trade began. Other cultural influences include the Persian culture, Persian, Arabic culture, Arabic, and British culture, British cultures. Due to the structure of the government, coupled with the social contract (Malaysia), social contract theory, there has been minimal cultural assimilation of ethnic minorities. In 1971, the government created a "National Cultural Policy", defining Malaysian culture. It stated that Malaysian culture must be based on the culture of the indigenous peoples of Malaysia, that it may incorporate suitable elements from other cultures, and that Islam must play a part in it. It also promoted the Malay language above others. This government intervention into culture has caused resentment among non-Malays who feel their cultural freedom was lessened. Both Chinese and Indian associations have submitted memorandums to the government, accusing it of formulating an undemocratic culture policy. Some cultural disputes exist between Malaysia and neighbouring countries, notably
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of over List of islands of I ...

Indonesia
. The two countries have a similar cultural heritage, sharing many traditions and items. However, disputes have arisen over things ranging from culinary dishes to Malaysia's national anthem. Strong feelings exist in Indonesia about protecting their national heritage. The Malaysian government and the Indonesian government have met to defuse some of the tensions resulting from the overlaps in culture. Feelings are not as strong in Malaysia, where most recognise that many cultural values are shared.


Fine arts

Traditional Malaysian art was mainly centred on the areas of carving, weaving, and silversmithing. Traditional art ranges from handwoven baskets from rural areas to the silverwork of the Malay courts. Common artworks included ornamental kris, beetle nut sets, and woven batik and songket fabrics. Indigenous East Malaysians are known for their wooden masks. Each ethnic group have distinct performing arts, with little overlap between them. However, Malay art does show some North Indian influence due to the historical influence of India. Traditional Malay music and performing arts appear to have originated in the Kelantan-Pattani region with influences from India, China, Thailand, and Indonesia. The music is based around percussion instruments, the most important of which is the gendang (drum). There are at least 14 types of traditional drums. Drums and other traditional percussion instruments and are often made from natural materials. Music is traditionally used for storytelling, celebrating life-cycle events, and occasions such as a harvest. It was once used as a form of long-distance communication. In East Malaysia, gong-based musical ensembles such as agung and kulintang are commonly used in ceremonies such as funerals and weddings. These ensembles are also common in neighbouring regions such as in Mindanao in the Philippines, Kalimantan in Indonesia, and Brunei. Malaysia has a strong oral tradition that has existed since before the arrival of writing, and continues today. Each of the Malay Sultanates created their own literary tradition, influenced by pre-existing oral stories and by the stories that came with Islam. The first Malay literature was in the Arabic script. The earliest known Malay writing is on the Terengganu Inscription Stone, Terengganu stone, made in 1303. Chinese and Indian literature became common as the numbers of speakers increased in Malaysia, and locally produced works based in languages from those areas began to be produced in the 19th century. English has also become a common literary language. In 1971, the government took the step of defining the literature of different languages. Literature written in Malay was called "the national literature of Malaysia", literature in other ''bumiputera'' languages was called "regional literature", while literature in other languages was called "sectional literature". Malay poetry is highly developed, and uses many forms. The ''Hikayat'' form is popular, and the ''pantun'' has spread from Malay to other languages.


Cuisine

Malaysia's cuisine reflects the multi-ethnic makeup of its population. Many cultures from within the country and from surrounding regions have greatly influenced the cuisine. Much of the influence comes from the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Javanese, and Sumatran cultures, largely due to the country being part of the ancient spice route. The cuisine is very similar to that of Singapore and Brunei, and also bears resemblance to Filipino cuisine. The different states have varied dishes, and often the food in Malaysia is different from the original dishes. Sometimes food not found in its original culture is assimilated into another; for example, Chinese restaurants in Malaysia often serve Malay dishes. Food from one culture is sometimes also cooked using styles taken from another culture, For example, ''sambal belacan'' (shrimp paste) are commonly used as ingredients by Chinese restaurants to create the stir fried water spinach (''kangkung belacan''). This means that although much of Malaysian food can be traced back to a certain culture, they have their own identity. Rice is popular in many dishes. Chili is commonly found in local cuisine, although this does not necessarily make them spicy.


Media

Malaysia's main newspapers are owned by the government and political parties in the ruling coalition, although some major opposition parties also have their own, which are openly sold alongside regular newspapers. A divide exists between the media in the two halves of the country. Peninsular-based media gives low priority to news from the East, and often treats the eastern states as colonies of the Peninsula. As a result of this, East Malaysia region of Sarawak launched TV Sarawak as internet streaming beginning in 2014, and as TV station on 10 October 2020 to overcome the low priority and coverage of Peninsular-based media and to solidify the representation of East Malaysia. The media have been blamed for increasing tension between Indonesia and Malaysia, and giving Malaysians a bad image of Indonesians. The country has Malay, English, Chinese, and Tamil dailies. Freedom of the press is limited, with numerous restrictions on publishing rights and information dissemination. The government has previously tried to crack down on opposition papers before elections. In 2007, a government agency issued a directive to all private television and radio stations to refrain from broadcasting speeches made by opposition leaders, a move condemned by politicians from the opposition Democratic Action Party (Malaysia), Democratic Action Party. Sabah, where all tabloids but one are independent of government control, has the freest press in Malaysia. Laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act have also been cited as curtailing freedom of expression.


Holidays and festivals

Malaysians observe a number of holidays and festivities throughout the year. Some are federally gazetted public holidays and some are observed by individual states. Other festivals are observed by particular ethnic or religion groups, and the main holiday of each major group has been declared a public holiday. The most observed national holiday is ''Hari Merdeka'' (Independence Day) on 31 August, commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya in 1957. Malaysia Day on 16 September commemorates federation in 1963. Other notable national holidays are Labour Day (1 May) and the King's birthday (first week of June). Muslim holidays are prominent as Islam is the state religion; ''Hari Raya Puasa'' (also called ''Hari Raya Aidilfitri'', Malay for Eid al-Fitr), ''Hari Raya Haji'' (also called ''Hari Raya Aidiladha'', Malay for Eid ul-Adha), ''Mawlid, Maulidur Rasul'' (birthday of the Prophet), and others being observed. Malaysian Chinese celebrate festivals such as Chinese New Year and others relating to traditional Chinese beliefs. Wesak Day is observed and celebrated by Buddhists. Hindus in Malaysia celebrate ''Deepavali'', the festival of lights, while ''Thaipusam'' is a religious rite which sees pilgrims from all over the country converge at the Batu Caves. Malaysia's Christian community celebrates most of the holidays observed by Christians elsewhere, most notably Christmas and Easter. In addition to this, the Dayak community in Sarawak celebrate a harvest festival known as ''Gawai Dayak, Gawai'', and the Kadazandusun community celebrate ''Kaamatan''. Despite most festivals being identified with a particular ethnic or religious group, celebrations are universal. In a custom known as "open house" Malaysians participate in the celebrations of others, often visiting the houses of those who identify with the festival.


Sports

Popular sports in Malaysia include association football, badminton, field hockey, bowls, tennis, squash (sport), squash, martial arts, horse riding, sailing, and skate boarding. Football is the most popular sport in Malaysia and the country is currently studying the possibility of bidding as a joint host for 2034 FIFA World Cup. Badminton matches also attract thousands of spectators, and since 1948 Malaysia has been one of four countries to hold the Thomas Cup, the world team championship trophy of men's badminton. The Malaysian Lawn Bowls Federation was registered in 1997. Squash was brought to the country by members of the British army, with the first competition being held in 1939. The Squash Racquets Association Of Malaysia was created on 25 June 1972. Malaysia has proposed a Southeast Asian football league. The men's Malaysia men's national field hockey team, national field hockey team ranked FIH World Rankings, 13th in the world . The 3rd Hockey World Cup was hosted at Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the 10th cup. The country also has its own Formula One track – the Sepang International Circuit – with a track length of . Grands Prix ran over , with the first Malaysian Grand Prix held in 1999. Traditional sports include Silat Melayu, the most common style of martial arts practised by ethnic Malays in Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. The Federation of Malaya Olympic Council was formed in 1953, and received recognition by the IOC in 1954. It first participated in the 1956 Summer Olympics, 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. The council was renamed the Olympic Council of Malaysia in 1964, and Malaysia at the Olympics, has participated in all but one Olympic games since its inception. The largest number of athletes ever sent to the Olympics was 57 to the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Malaysian athletes have won a total of 13 Olympic medals (8 Silver, 5 Bronze): 9 in badminton, 2 in platform diving, and 2 in cycling. Besides Olympic Games, Malaysia also participate in Paralympic Games. The country has competed at the Commonwealth Games since 1950 as Malaya, and 1966 as Malaysia, and the games were hosted in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.


See also

* List of Malaysia-related topics * Outline of Malaysia


Notes


References


External links

* * * *
Malaysia
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
Malaysia
from ''UCB Libraries GovPubs'' *
Malaysia profile
from the BBC News * {{Coord, 2, N, 112, E, type:country_region:MY, display=title Malaysia, Commonwealth monarchies Developing 8 Countries member states Federal monarchies G15 nations Malay-speaking countries and territories Member states of ASEAN Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations Member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Member states of the United Nations Southeast Asian countries States and territories established in 1963 World War II sites 1963 establishments in Malaysia Countries in Asia