Coordinates : 2°30′N 112°30′E / 2.500°N 112.500°E /
Flag Coat of arms
MOTTO: "Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu"
"Unity Is Strength"
3°8′N 101°41′E / 3.133°N 101.683°E / 3.133; 101.683
2°56′35″N 101°41′58″E / 2.9430952°N 101.699373°E
/ 2.9430952; 101.699373
3°8′N 101°41′E / 3.133°N 101.683°E / 3.133; 101.683
Malay (Latin) alphabet
ETHNIC GROUPS ( )
* 50.1% Malay
* 22.6% Chinese
* 11.8% Indigenous
* 6.7% Indian
* 8.8% other
* Other religions:
* 19.8% Buddhist
* 9.2% Christian
* 6.2% Hindu
* 3.4% other
Federal dominant-party parliamentary elective constitutional
• YANG DI-PERTUAN AGONG
• PRIME MINISTER
• DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
• UPPER HOUSE
• LOWER HOUSE
INDEPENDENCE FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM
• INDEPENDENCE OF THE FEDERATION OF MALAYA
31 August 1957
Malaya, North Borneo,
Singapore 16 September 1963
• EXPULSION OF SINGAPORE
9 August 1965
• ASEAN DECLARATION
8 August 1967
330,803 km2 (127,724 sq mi) (66th )
• WATER (%)
• 2018 ESTIMATE
31,847,000 (44th )
• 2010 CENSUS
92/km2 (238.3/sq mi) (116th )
GDP (PPP )
$988.99 billion (26th )
• PER CAPITA
$30,430 (41st )
$340.000 billion (38th )
• PER CAPITA
$10,430 (62nd )
high · 59th
Ringgit (RM) (MYR )
MST (UTC +8)
• SUMMER (DST )
not observed (UTC +8)
DRIVES ON THE
ISO 3166 CODE
MALAYSIA is a federal constitutional monarchy located in Southeast
Asia . It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories
and has a total landmass of 330,803 square kilometres (127,720 sq mi)
separated by the
South China Sea
South China Sea into two similarly sized regions,
Peninsular Malaysia and
East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). Peninsular
Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with
Thailand at the north
and maritime borders with
Singapore at the south,
Vietnam at the
Indonesia in the west.
East Malaysia shares land and
maritime borders with
Indonesia and a maritime border with
Philippines and Vietnam. The capital city is
Kuala Lumpur , while
Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. With a population of
over 30 million,
Malaysia is the 44th most populous country . The
southernmost point of continental
Tanjung Piai , is in
Malaysia. Located in the tropics ,
Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse
countries on earth, with large numbers of endemic species .
Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms present in the area
which, from the 18th century, became subject to the
British Empire .
The first British territories were known as the
Straits Settlements ,
whose establishment was followed by the Malay kingdoms becoming
British protectorates. The territories on
Peninsular Malaysia were
first unified as the
Malayan Union in 1946. Malaya was restructured as
Federation of Malaya in 1948, and achieved independence on 31
August 1957. Malaya united with North
Sarawak , and Singapore
on 16 September 1963 to become Malaysia. Less than two years later in
Singapore was expelled from the federation. The country is
multi-ethnic and multi-cultural , which plays a large role in
politics. About half the population is ethnically Malay , with large
Malaysian Chinese which also form the second largest
Overseas Chinese in the world, Malaysian Indians , and
indigenous peoples . The constitution grants freedom of religion but
Islam as the established religion of the state. The
government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary
system and the legal system is based on common law . The head of state
is the king, known as the
Yang di-Pertuan Agong . He is an elected
monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states
every five years. The head of government is the Prime Minister . The
country official language is Bahasa Melayu or commonly known as Malay
language. English remains as an active second language. English
Malaysia has been highly ranked as the second best in
Singapore and 13th best in the world as of 2017.
Since its independence,
Malaysia has had one of the best economic
records in Asia, with its GDP growing 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 . It is also one of the few
developing countries to subsidise heavily on education and healthcare.
Its citizens are entitled to free public education up to secondary
education level and public tertiary education fees are subsidised as
much as 90%. Basic healthcare services at government run clinics with
prescription cost RM 1. Disabled, senior citizens and public school
students are entitled to free healthcare. Its healthcare services have
been highly regarded as one the best in the world and the UN
Development Programme has called
Malaysia healthcare system "a model
to other developing countries".
Malaysia's unprecedented and recent rapid development has attracted
millions of migrant workers from across
Asia in the recent years. The
majority of these are undocumented, which the Malaysian government is
struggling to combat. Its treatment and crackdown on migrant workers
has often been criticised by international human rights watchdogs.
Malaysia has a newly industrialised market economy , ranked 4th
Southeast Asia and 38th largest in the world . With a GDP
per capita of $9,766 and an HDI of 0.78 currently,
classified as an emerging economy by the World Bank. The International
Monetary Fund (IMF) also classifies
Malaysia as an emerging and
developing country. It is a founding member of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations , the
East Asia Summit , and the Organisation
of Islamic Cooperation .
Malaysia is also a member of the Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation , the
Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations , and the
Non-Aligned Movement . In 2017, Malaysian citizens had visa-free or
visa-on-arrival access to 164 countries and territories, ranking the
Malaysian passport 5th most powerful in the world.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 3 Government and politics
* 3.1 Political divisions
* 3.1.1 States
* 3.1.2 Federal Territories
* 4 Foreign relations and military
* 5 Geography
* 6 Biodiversity
* 6.1 Conservation issues
* 7 Economy
* 7.1 Infrastructure
* 7.1.1 Energy
* 7.1.2 Transportation
* 8 Demographics
* 8.1 Religion
* 8.2 Languages
* 9 Culture
* 9.1 Fine arts
* 9.2 Cuisine
* 9.3 Media
* 9.4 Holidays and festivals
* 9.5 Sports
* 10 See also
* 11 Notes
* 12 References
* 13 External links
Malay people "Malaysia" used as a label for the
Malay Archipelago on a 1914 map from a
United States atlas
The name "Malaysia" is a combination of the word "Malay" and the
Latin-Greek suffix "-sia"/-σία. The word "melayu" in Malay may
derive from the Tamil words "malai" and "ur" meaning "mountain" and
"city, land", respectively. "Malayadvipa" was the word used by
ancient Indian traders when referring to the
Malay Peninsula .
Whether or not it originated from these roots, the word "melayu" or
"mlayu" may have been used in early Malay /Javanese to mean to
steadily accelerate or run. This term was applied to describe the
strong current of the river Melayu in
Sumatra . The name was later
adopted by the
Melayu Kingdom that existed in the seventh century on
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
, the natives of maritime
Southeast Asia were grouped into a single
Malay race . Following the expedition of French
navigator Jules Dumont d\'Urville to
Oceania in 1826, he later
proposed the terms of "Malaysia", "
Micronesia " and "
Melanesia " to
Société de Géographie in 1831, distinguishing these Pacific
cultures and island groups from the existing term "
Polynesia ". Dumont
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. In modern terminology, "Malay"
remains the name of an ethnoreligious group of Austronesian people
predominantly inhabiting the
Malay Peninsula and portions of the
adjacent islands of
Southeast Asia , including the east coast of
Sumatra , the coast of
Borneo , and smaller islands that lie between
The state that gained independence from the
United Kingdom in 1957
took the name the "
Federation of Malaya ", chosen in preference to
other potential names such as "
Langkasuka ", 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
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 of Malaysia Fort -
A Famosa in Melaka
built by the Portuguese in the 16th century In the 15th century
Malacca Sultanate played a major role in spreading Islam
throughout the Malay Archipelago.
Evidence of modern human habitation in
Malaysia dates back 40,000
years. In the Malay Peninsula, the first inhabitants are thought to
Negritos . Traders and settlers from
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
Sanskrit inscriptions appear as early as the fourth or
fifth century. The Kingdom of
Langkasuka 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
Malay Peninsula was part of the maritime Srivijayan
empire. By the 13th and the 14th century, the
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 linked to the old Srivijayan court,
Malacca Sultanate .
Melaka was an important commercial
centre during this time, attracting trade from around the region.
The Dutch fleet battling with the Portuguese armada as part of the
Dutch–Portuguese War in 1606 to gain control of
Melaka was conquered by Portugal , after which it was taken
by the Dutch in 1641. In 1786, the
British Empire established a
presence in Malaya, when the Sultan of
Penang Island to
East India Company
East India Company . The British obtained the town of
Singapore in 1819, and in 1824 took control of
Melaka following the
Anglo-Dutch Treaty . By 1826, the British directly controlled Penang,
Melaka, Singapore, and the island of
Labuan , which they established
as the crown colony of the
Straits Settlements . By the 20th century,
the states of
Perak , and
Negeri Sembilan , known
together as the
Federated Malay States
Federated Malay States , had British residents
appointed to advise the Malay rulers, to whom the rulers were bound to
defer to by treaty. The remaining five states in the peninsula, known
Unfederated Malay States , 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 of
Chinese and Indians to serve as labourers was encouraged. The area
that is now
Sabah came under British control as North
Borneo when both
the Sultan of
Brunei and the Sultan of Sulu transferred their
respective territorial rights of ownership, between 1877 and 1878. In
Sarawak was ceded by the Sultan of
James Brooke ,
whose successors ruled as the
White Rajahs over an independent kingdom
until 1946, when it became a crown colony . Statue of Francis
Light in the
Fort Cornwallis of
Penang , the first British colony in
what was to become
In the Second World War, the Japanese Army invaded and occupied
Malaya , North Borneo,
Sarawak , and
Singapore 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 " 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 , was quickly dissolved and
replaced on 1 February 1948 by the
Federation of Malaya , which
restored the autonomy of the rulers of the
Malay states under British
protection. During this time, mostly Chinese rebels under the
leadership of the
Malayan Communist Party launched guerrilla
operations designed to force the British out of Malaya. The Malayan
Emergency lasted from 1948 to 1960, and involved a long
anti-insurgency campaign by 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
Sukarno and the
Sarawak United Peoples\' Party
, 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 and Second
Malayan Emergency together with
several other issues such as the cross border attacks into North
Borneo by Moro pirates from the southern islands of the Philippines,
Singapore being expelled from the
Federation in 1965, and racial
strife. This strife culminated in the 13 May race riots in 1969.
After the riots, the controversial New Economic Policy was launched by
Tun Abdul Razak , trying to increase the share of the
economy held by the 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 , the Multimedia Super Corridor , and the new
federal administrative capital of
Putrajaya . However, in the late
1990s the Asian financial crisis almost caused the collapse of the
currency and the stock and property markets.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Politics of Malaysia and
Government of Malaysia See
Censorship in Malaysia and
Human rights in Malaysia The
Parliament of Malaysia , the building that houses the members of the
Perdana Putra houses the office complex of the
Prime Minister of Malaysia .
Malaysia is a federal constitutional elective monarchy , and the only
Southeast Asia . The system of government is closely
modelled on that of the Westminster parliamentary system, a legacy of
British colonial rule . The head of state is the Yang di-Pertuan
Agong , commonly referred to as the King. The King is elected to a
five-year term by and from among the nine hereditary rulers of the
Malay states ; the other four states, which have titular Governors ,
do not participate in the selection. By informal agreement the
position is systematically rotated among the nine, and has been held
Muhammad V of Kelantan since December 2016. The King's role has
been largely ceremonial since changes to the constitution in 1994,
picking ministers and members of the upper house.
Legislative power is divided between federal and state legislatures.
The bicameral federal parliament consists of the lower house , the
House of Representatives and the upper house , the 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 system. Since
Malaysia has been governed by a 13-party coalition known
Barisan Nasional .
Each state has a unicameral
State Legislative Assembly whose members
are elected from single-member constituencies. State governments are
led by 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
Malay , appointed by the ruler upon the recommendation of the Prime
Minister. Parliamentary elections are held at least once every five
years, the most recent of which took place in May 2013. Registered
voters of age 21 and above may vote for the members of the House of
Representatives and, in most of the states, for the state legislative
chamber. Voting is not mandatory. Except for state elections in
Sarawak, by convention state elections are held concurrently with the
Najib Razak , Prime Minister since 2009
Executive power is vested in the Cabinet , led by the Prime Minister
. The prime minister must be a member of the house of representatives,
who in the opinion of the King, commands a majority in parliament. The
cabinet is chosen from members of both houses of Parliament. The
Prime Minister is both the head of cabinet and the head of government.
Najib Razak , appointed in 2009, is the sixth prime
Malaysia\'s legal system is based on English Common Law . Although
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 , followed by the Court of Appeal and two
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 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 illegal in Malaysia.
Race is a significant force in politics, and many political parties
are ethnically based. Affirmative actions such as the 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 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 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.
States and federal territories of Malaysia , Divisions
Malaysia , and
Districts of Malaysia
Putrajaya West Malaysia
East Malaysia (Blue) States (Red) Federal Territories South China
Malacca Gulf of
Malaysia is a federation of 13 states and three federal territories.
These are divided between two regions, with 11 states and two federal
Peninsular Malaysia and the other two states and one
federal territory in
East Malaysia . Each state is divided into
districts , which are then divided into mukim . In
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.
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 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 a unicameral legislature known
State Legislative Assembly , and its own written constitution.
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
Sabah and Sarawak,
although these have not been followed up and no serious independence
Here are thirteen states and each state capital (in brackets):
Johor Bahru )
Alor Setar )
Kota Bharu )
Malacca City )
Negeri Sembilan (
Penang (George Town )
Kota Kinabalu )
Shah Alam )
* Federal Territory of
* Federal Territory of
* Federal Territory of
FOREIGN RELATIONS AND MILITARY
Foreign relations of Malaysia and Malaysian Armed
Forces Najib meeting with Putin at the
Russia , 2012
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 (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
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
Spratly Islands are disputed by many states in the area, and a
large portion of the
South China Sea
South China Sea is claimed by
China . Unlike its
Vietnam and the
avoided conflicts with China. However, after the encroachment of
Chinese ships in Malaysian territorial waters,
Malaysia has become
active in condemning China.
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 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. Examples of the
Malaysian Armed Forces weaponry
assets. Clockwise from top right: Scorpène class submarine , PT-91M
MBT tank ,
Malaysian Army paratrooper with M4 , and Su-30MKM fighter
Malaysia has never recognised
Israel and has no diplomatic ties with
it, and has called for the
International Criminal Court to take
Israel over their
Gaza flotilla raid .
stated it will only establish official relations with
Israel once a
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 Congo ,
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina ,
East Timor and
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.
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 also
been held with Brunei, China,
Indonesia and the United States.
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 are fears that extremist militants activities in the
Muslim areas of the southern
Philippines and southern
would spill over into Malaysia. Due to this,
Malaysia began to
increase its border security.
Geography of Malaysia
Malaysia is within the
equatorial region , where a tropical rainforest climate is apparent
all year round.
Malaysia is the 66th largest country by total land area , with a land
area of 329,613 km2 (127,264 sq mi). It has land borders with Thailand
in West Malaysia, and
Brunei in East Malaysia. It is
Singapore by a narrow causeway and a bridge. The country
also has maritime boundaries with
Vietnam and the Philippines. The
land borders are defined in large part by geological features such as
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
Sarawak dividing it into two parts.
Malaysia is the only country
with territory on both the Asian mainland and the Malay archipelago.
Tanjung Piai , located in the southern state of
Johor , is the
southernmost tip of continental Asia. The
Strait of Malacca
Strait of Malacca , lying
Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia, is one of the most important
thoroughfares in global commerce, carrying 40 per cent of the world's
The two parts of Malaysia, separated from each other by the South
China Sea , share a largely similar landscape in that both Peninsular
East Malaysia feature coastal plains rising to hills and
mountains. Peninsular Malaysia, containing 40 per cent of Malaysia's
land area, extends 740 km (460 mi) from north to south, and its
maximum width is 322 km (200 mi). It is divided between its east and
west coasts by the
Titiwangsa Mountains , rising to a peak elevation
of 2,183 metres (7,162 ft) 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 50 kilometres (31 mi), and the peninsula's coastline
is nearly 1,931 km (1,200 mi) long, although harbours are only
available on the western side.
Mount Kinabalu , the highest
summit in the country
East Malaysia, on the island of
Borneo , has a coastline of 2,607 km
(1,620 mi). 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 4,095
m (13,435 ft) high
Mount Kinabalu , the tallest mountain in
Mount Kinabalu is located in the
Kinabalu National Park ,
which is protected as one of the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites 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 numerous islands , the
largest of which is Banggi . The local climate is 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 250 cm (98 in). 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
Wildlife of Malaysia Native species in Malaysia,
clockwise from top-right: oriental pied hornbills , hawksbill sea
turtle , proboscis monkey ,
Malayan tiger .
Malaysia signed the Rio
Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on Biological Diversity on 12 June
1993, and became a party to the convention on 24 June 1994. It has
subsequently produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan
, which was received by the convention on 16 April 1998. The country
is 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. Malaysia's exclusive economic zone is
1.5 times larger than its land area, and some of its waters are in
Coral Triangle , a biodiversity hotspot. The waters around
Sipadan island are the most biodiverse in the world. Bordering East
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
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.
Some species of
Rafflesia can grow up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) in diameter,
making them the largest flowers in the world.
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 dipterocarps . Lowland forest covers areas below 760 m
(2,490 ft), and formerly
East Malaysia was covered in 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 1,425 km2 (550 sq mi) 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 1
m (3 ft 3 in).
Environmental issues in Malaysia
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 cleared. Floods in East
Malaysia have been worsened by the loss of trees, and over 60 per cent
of the Peninsular's forest have been cleared. With current rates of
deforestation, the forests are predicted to be extinct by 2020.
Deforestation is a major problem for animals, fungi and plants, as the
forest is cut to make room for plantations. Most remaining forest is
found inside 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
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. 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
Indonesia to standardise anti-trafficking
Economy of Malaysia Tree map of
in 2016 The Proton company is a Malaysian car manufacturer.
Malaysia is a relatively open state-oriented and newly industrialised
market economy . The state plays a significant but declining role in
guiding economic activity through macroeconomic plans.
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
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 2014 was $746.821 billion, the third
largest in ASEAN behind more populous
Thailand and the
28th largest in the world .
In 1991, former Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Mahathir Mohamad outlined
his ideal in Vision 2020 , in which
Malaysia would become a
self-sufficient industrialised nation by 2020. It will need to
develop an endogeous capacity in innovation , however, to reach its
goal of becoming a high-income country 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 and the Economic Transformation
Programme . According to a
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
Port Klang in Selangor, the biggest and busiest port in
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
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. The
Petronas Towers house the
headquarters of the national oil company
Petronas and are the tallest
twin-towers in the world.
In an effort to diversify the economy and make it less dependent on
export goods, the government has pushed to increase 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
Malaysia Airlines had one of its planes disappear in March,
while 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 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. Warm climate with British colonial
background made foreigners easy to interact with the 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
Malaysia Defence Industry Council . The government continues
to promote this sector and its competitiveness, actively marketing the
defence industry. Science policies in
Malaysia are regulated by the
Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation. The country is one of
the world's largest exporters of semiconductor devices, electrical
devices, and IT and communication products.
Malaysia began developing
its own space programme in 2002, and in 2006,
Russia agreed to
transport one Malaysian to the
International Space Station
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 in through the
The overall infrastructure of
Malaysia is one of the most developed
Asia and ranked 8th in
Asia and 25th in the world.
ranked 19th in the world for its quality roads, quality of port
infrastructure and quality of air transport infrastructure but ranked
39th in quality of electricity supply. Its 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. 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 and List of power stations
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 , with more than 420
transmission substations in the Peninsular linked together by
approximately 11,000 km of transmission lines operating at 132, 275
and 500 kilovolts . In 2013, Malaysia's total power generation
capacity was over 29,728 megawatts . Total electricity generation was
GWh and total electricity consumption was 116,087.51
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
Transport in Malaysia ,
Rail transport in Malaysia ,
List of airports in Malaysia Transportation in
Malaysia. Clockwise from top: North–South Expressway , KTM ETS Class
91 (left) and KTM Komuter Class 92 (right) and the Kuala Lumpur
International Airport .
Malaysia's road network is one of the most comprehensive in
covers a total of 144,403 kilometres (89,728 mi). The main national
road network is the
Malaysian Federal Roads System , which span over
49,935 km (31,028 mi). Most of the federal roads in
2-lane roads. In town areas, federal roads may become 4-lane roads to
increase traffic capacity. Nearly all federal roads are paved with
tarmac except parts of the
Skudai–Pontian Highway which is paved
with concrete , while parts of the Federal Highway linking Klang to
Kuala Lumpur, is paved with asphalt .
Malaysia has over 1,798
kilometres (1,117 mi) of highways and the longest highway, the
North–South Expressway , extends over 800 kilometres (497 mi) on the
West Coast of
Peninsular Malaysia , connecting major urban centres
Kuala Lumpur ,
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 carriage expressways , bringing the
standard of East Malaysian highways to the same level of quality of
There is currently 1,833 kilometres (1,139 mi) of railways in
Malaysia, 767 km (477 mi) are double tracked and electrified . Rail
Malaysia comprises heavy rail (KTM ), light rapid transit
and monorail (
Rapid Rail ), and a funicular railway line (
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 also 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 Thai railway 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8
in) network in the north. If the
Burma Railway is rebuilt, services to
Myanmar, India, and
China could be initiated.
Malaysia has 118 airports, of which 38 are paved. The national
Malaysia Airlines , providing international and domestic
air services. Major international routes and domestic routes crossing
West Malaysia and
East Malaysia are served by Malaysia
Malindo Air while smaller domestic routes are
supplemented by smaller airlines like
MASwings , 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 13th busiest airport by
international passenger traffic , recording over 25.4 million
international passenger traffic. It was also the world's 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.
Malaysia is strategically located on the
Strait of Malacca
Strait of Malacca , one of
the most important shipping lanes in the world.
Malaysia has two ports
that are listed in the top 20 busiest ports in the world, Port Klang
Port of Tanjung Pelepas , which are respectively the 2nd and 3rd
busiest ports in
Southeast Asia after the Port of
Singapore . Port
Klang is Malaysia's busiest port, and the 13th busiest port in the
world in 2013, handling over 10.3 million TEUs . Port of Tanjung
Pelepas is Malaysia's second busiest port, and the 19th busiest port
in the world in 2013, handling over 7.6 million TEUs.
Demographics of Malaysia The percentage
distribution of Malaysian population by ethnic group based on 2010
According to the Malaysian Department of Statistics, the country's
population was 28,334,135 in 2010, making it the 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 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 ethnic lines, with 67.4 per cent considered bumiputera The
largest group of bumiputera are Malays , who are defined in the
Muslims who practice Malay customs and culture. They
play a dominant role politically. Bumiputera status is also accorded
to certain non-Malay indigenous peoples , including ethnic Thais ,
Khmers , Chams and the natives of
Sabah and Sarawak. Non-Malay
bumiputera make up more than half of Sarawak's population and over two
thirds of Sabah's population. There also exist aboriginal groups in
much smaller numbers on the peninsula, where they are collectively
known as the
Orang Asli . Laws over who gets bumiputera status vary
Other minorities lack bumiputera status. 24.6 per cent of the
population are of Chinese descent , while those of Indian descent
comprise 7.3 per cent of the population. The Chinese have
historically been dominant in the business and commerce community, and
form a plurality of the population of
Penang . Immigrants from India,
the majority of them Tamils , began arriving in
Malaysia early in the
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
Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo
are distinct from citizenship in
Peninsular Malaysia for immigration
purposes. Every citizen is issued a biometric smart chip identity card
MyKad at the age of 12, and must carry the card at all times.
Population density (person per km2) in 2010
The 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 Malaysian
Certificate of Education examination . Since the introduction of the
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.
Putra Mosque in
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
Malaysia into a medical tourism destination, 5 per cent of
the government social sector development budget is spent on health
care . The population in concentrated on
Peninsular Malaysia where
20 million 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
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
Malaysia employs RELA , a volunteer militia with a history
of controversies, to enforce its immigration law.
LARGEST CITIES OF MALAYSIA (2010)
Religion in Malaysia The percentage distribution
of Malaysian population by religion based on 2010 census
The constitution grants freedom of religion and makes
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 , 19.8% practice
Buddhism , 9.2% Christianity , 6.3%
Hinduism and 1.3% practice
Taoism and other traditional 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
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
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 Hui-
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%)
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 in
matters concerning their religion. The Islamic judges are expected to
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 Shariah courts, which
have a similar hierarchy to the Civil Courts . Despite being the
supreme courts of the land, the Civil Courts do not hear matters
related to Islamic practices.
Languages of Malaysia The distribution of
language families of
Malaysia shown by colours:
(click image to enlarge) Malayic Bornean Aslian Land Dayak
Sama–Bajaw Philippine Creole Areas with multiple
The official and national language of
Malaysia is Malaysian , a
standardised form of the
Malay language . The terminology as per
government policy is Bahasa
Malaysia (literally "Malaysian language")
but legislation continues to refer to the official language as Bahasa
Melayu (literally "Malay language"). The National Language Act 1967
specifies the Latin (Rumi) script as the official script of the
national language, but does not prohibit the use of the traditional
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, with
Malay becoming predominant after the 1969 race riots (13 May
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
influences. The government discourages the use of non-standard Malay
but has no power to issue compounds or fines to those who use 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 is the main tribal language in
Sarawak while Dusunic and
Kadazan languages are spoken by the natives in Sabah. Chinese
Malaysians predominantly speak Chinese dialects from the southern
provinces of China. The more common Chinese varieties in the country
Cantonese , Mandarin ,
Hokkien , Hakka ,
Hainanese , and Fuzhou .
Tamil is used predominantly by Tamils, who form a majority of
Malaysian Indians. Other South Asian languages are also widely spoken
in Malaysia, as well as Thai . A small number of
Caucasian ancestry and speak creole languages , such as the
Portuguese-based Malaccan Creoles , and the Spanish-based Chavacano
Culture of Malaysia
Burung Petala Procession in
Kota Bharu ,
Unfederated Malay States (present-day
Malaysia), c. 1933
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 Malays who later moved there. Substantial
influence exists from Chinese and Indian culture, dating back to when
foreign trade began. Other cultural influences include the Persian ,
Arabic , and British cultures. Due to the structure of the government,
coupled with the 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. 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
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.
Music of Malaysia and
Malaysian literature A
craftsman making batik .
Malaysian batik is usually patterned with
floral motifs with light colouring.
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
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.
Wau bulan , originally from
Kelantan , is one of Malaysia's fine arts.
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 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.
Teh tarik .
Nasi lemak .
The national drink and national dish of the country
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 of Malaysia
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. 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
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
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
Public holidays in Malaysia Southeast Asia's
Buddhist temple —
Kek Lok Si in
Penang —illuminated in
preparation for the Lunar New Year
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
), Maulidur Rasul (birthday of the Prophet), and others being
Malaysian Chinese celebrate festivals such as Chinese New
Year and others relating to traditional Chinese beliefs. Hindus in
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. East
Malaysians also celebrate a harvest
festival known as Gawai , and another one known as
Despite most festivals being identified with a particular ethnic or
religious group, celebrations are universal. In a custom known as
Malaysians participate in the celebrations of others,
often visiting the houses of those who identify with the festival.
Sport in Malaysia Logo of the XVI Commonwealth
Games held in
Kuala Lumpur in 1998 Traditional sports such as
the martial art style
Silat Melayu persist alongside modern sports.
Popular sports in
Malaysia include association football , badminton ,
field hockey , bowls , tennis , 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
FIFA World Cup .
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
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
national field hockey team ranked 13th in the world as of December
2015. The 3rd
Hockey World Cup
Hockey World Cup was hosted at
Merdeka Stadium in Kuala
Lumpur, as well as the 10th cup. The country also has its own Formula
Sepang International Circuit . It runs for 310.408
kilometres (192.88 mi), and held its first Grand Prix in 1999.
Traditional sports include
Silat Melayu , the most common style of
martial arts practised by ethnic Malays in Malaysia, Brunei, and
Federation of Malaya Olympic Council was formed in 1953, and
received recognition by the IOC in 1954. It first participated in the
1956 Melbourne Olympic Games . The council was renamed the Olympic
Malaysia in 1964, and 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 six Olympic medals, five in
Badminton, one in Platform diving. 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. The most common martial
Silat Melayu and kickboxing or tomoi .
Environment of Malaysia
International rankings of Malaysia
List of Malaysia-related topics
Malay units of measurement
Outline of Malaysia
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/məˈleɪsiə/ ( listen ) mə-LAY-see-ə
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