Malaysia Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Malaysia > Map Economy History

Kota Kinabalu 
Kuala Lumpur 
Langkawi 
Malacca 
Penang 
Petaling Jaya 

WWF Malaysia The World Wide Fund For Nature in Malaysia.

Facts About Malaysia

Background: Malaysia was created in 1963 through the merging of Malaya (independent in 1957) and the former British Singapore, both of which formed West Malaysia, and Sabah and Sarawak in north Borneo, which composed East Malaysia. The first three years of independence were marred by hostilities with Indonesia. Singapore separated from the union in 1965.
Government type: constitutional monarchy
note: Malaya (what is now Peninsular Malaysia) formed 31 August 1957; Federation of Malaysia (Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore) formed 9 July 1963 (Singapore left the federation on 9 August 1965); nominally headed by the paramount ruler and a bicameral Parliament consisting of a nonelected upper house and an elected lower house; Peninsular Malaysian states - hereditary rulers in all but Melaka, Penang, Sabah, and Sarawak, where governors are appointed by the Malaysian Government; powers of state governments are limited by the federal constitution; under terms of the federation, Sabah and Sarawak retain certain constitutional prerogatives (e.g., the right to maintain their own immigration controls); Sabah - holds 20 seats in House of Representatives, with foreign affairs, defense, internal security, and other powers delegated to federal government; Sarawak - holds 28 seats in House of Representatives, with foreign affairs, defense, internal security, and other powers delegated to federal government.
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Currency: 1 ringgit (M$) = 100 sen

Geography of Malaysia

Location: Southeastern Asia, peninsula and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates: 2 30 N, 112 30 E
Area:
total: 329,750 sq km
land: 328,550 sq km
water: 1,200 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 2,669 km
border countries: Brunei 381 km, Indonesia 1,782 km, Thailand 506 km
Coastline: 4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km)
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation; specified boundary in the South China Sea
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons
Terrain: coastal plains rising to hills and mountains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Gunung Kinabalu 4,100 m
Natural resources: tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite
Land use:
arable land: 3%
permanent crops: 12%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 68%
other: 17% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 2,941 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: flooding, landslides
Environment - current issues: air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires.
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea

People of Malaysia

Malaysia's population of 22.2 million continues to grow at a rate of 2.4% per annum; about 33% of the population is under the age of 15. Malaysia's population comprises many ethnic groups, with the politically dominant Malays comprising a plurality. By constitutional definition, all Malays are Muslim. About a quarter of the population is Chinese who have historically played an important role in trade and business.

Malaysians of Indian descent comprise about 7% of the population and include Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians. About 85% of the Indian community is Tamil.

Non-Malay indigenous groups make up more than half of the Borneo state of Sarawak's population and about 66% of the Borneo state of Sabah's population. They are divided into dozens of ethnic groups, but they share some general patterns of living and culture. Until the 20th century, most practiced traditional beliefs, but many have become Christian or Muslim. The "other" category includes Malaysians of, inter alia, European and Middle Eastern descent. Population distribution is uneven, with some 15 million residents concentrated in the lowlands of Peninsular Malaysia, an area slightly smaller than the State of Michigan.

Population: 23,953,136 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  34.5% 
15-64 years:  61.35% 
65 years and over:  4.15%
Population growth rate: 1.96% 
Birth rate: 24.75 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 5.2 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
note: does not reflect net flow of an unknown number of illegal immigrants from other countries in the region
Infant mortality rate: 20.31 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  71.11 years
male:  68.48 years
female:  73.92 years 
Total fertility rate: 3.24 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Malaysian(s)
adjective: Malaysian
Ethnic groups: Malay and other indigenous 58%, Chinese 27%, Indian 8%, others 7% (2000)
Religions: Islam, Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism; note - in addition, Shamanism is practiced in East Malaysia
Languages: Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai; note - in addition, in East Malaysia several indigenous languages are spoken, the largest of which are Iban and Kadazan.
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.5%
male: 89.1%
female: 78.1% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Malaysia > Map Economy History