Motto: "Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu"
"Unity Is Strength"
|Largest city||Kuala Lumpur|
|Malay[n 1][n 2][n 3]|
|Recognised language||English[n 3]|
|Ethnic groups |
|Government||Federal parliamentary elective constitutional monarchy|
|Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof|
|Dewan Negara (Senate)|
|Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives)|
from the United Kingdom
|31 August 1957|
|22 July 1963|
|17 January 1962|
|31 July 1963|
|31 August 1963|
|16 September 1963|
|9 August 1965|
|8 August 1967|
|330,803 km2 (127,724 sq mi) (66th)|
• Water (%)
• 2017 estimate
• 2010 census
|92/km2 (238.3/sq mi) (116th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2019 estimate|
|$1.068 trillion (26th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2019 estimate|
|$372.628 billion (38th)|
• Per capita
|Gini (2015)|| 41|
|HDI (2017)|| 0.802|
very high · 57th
|Currency||Ringgit (RM) (MYR)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (MST)|
• Summer (DST)
|UTC+8 (not observed)|
|ISO 3166 code||MY|
Malaysia (/məˈleɪziə, -ʒə/ (listen) mə-LAY-zee-ə, -zhə; Malay: [məlejsiə]) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the 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 in the north and maritime borders with Singapore in the south, Vietnam in the northeast, and Indonesia in the west. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city while Putrajaya is the seat of federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the world's 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, with large numbers of endemic species.
Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire when the Straits Settlements became British protectorates. Peninsular Malaysia was unified as the Malayan Union in 1946. Malaya was restructured as the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and achieved independence on 31 August 1957. Malaya united with North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore on 16 September 1963 to become Malaysia. In 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation. The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, which plays a large role in its politics. About half the population is ethnically Malay, with large minorities of Malaysian Chinese (the second largest community of Overseas Chinese in the world), Malaysian Indians, and indigenous peoples. The constitution grants freedom of religion but recognises 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's official language is Bahasa Melayu, commonly known as the Malay language. English remains an active second language. In 2017, English proficiency in Malaysia was ranked the 2nd best in Asia (after Singapore) and the 13th best in the world.
A member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia since its independence from the United Kingdom 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 heavily subsidise education and healthcare. Malaysian citizens are entitled to free public education up to secondary level and public tertiary education fees are subsidised by up to 90%. Basic healthcare services at government-run clinics with prescription cost RM1. Disabled persons, senior citizens and public school students are entitled to free healthcare. Malaysian healthcare services have been described as among the best in the world, and the UN Development Program called the Malaysian healthcare system "a model to other developing countries".
Malaysia's recent rapid development has attracted millions of migrant workers from across Asia. The majority of these migrants are undocumented, a situation which the Malaysian government is struggling to combat, with its treatment and crackdown on migrant workers often criticised by international human rights watchdogs. Malaysia has a newly industrialised market economy, ranked 4th largest in Southeast Asia and 38th largest in the world. With a GDP per capita of $10,430 and an HDI of 0.802, Malaysia is classified as an emerging economy by the World Bank. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also classifies Malaysia as an emerging and developing country. Malaysia is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the East Asia Summit, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Non-Aligned Movement. In 2019, Malaysian citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 179 countries and territories, ranking the Malaysian passport the 12th most accepted in the world.
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 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, the natives of maritime Southeast Asia were grouped into a single category, the 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 the Société de Géographie in 1831, distinguishing these Pacific cultures and island groups from the existing term "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. 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 these areas.
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 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.
Evidence of modern human habitation in Malaysia dates back 40,000 years. In the Malay Peninsula, the first inhabitants are thought to be Negritos. Traders and settlers from India and 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 and Buddhism. 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 the southern 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, founded the Malacca Sultanate. Melaka was an important commercial centre during this time, attracting trade from around the region.
In 1511, 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 Kedah leased Penang Island to the British 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 Pahang, Selangor, Perak, and Negeri Sembilan, known together as the 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 as the 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 1842, Sarawak was ceded by the Sultan of Brunei to James Brooke, whose successors ruled as the White Rajahs over an independent kingdom until 1946, when it became a crown colony.
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 including Indonesia's 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 Prime Minister 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.
Malaysia is a federal constitutional elective monarchy, and the only federation in 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 by Abdullah of Pahang since 31 January 2019. 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. Currently Malaysia is governed by Pakatan Harapan political alliance.
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 2018. 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 federal election.
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 the support of a majority of members. 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.
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. 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.
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 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 as the State Legislative Assembly, and 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.
A list of thirteen states and each state capital (in brackets):
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. 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.
The Spratly Islands are disputed by many states in the area, and a large portion of the South China Sea is claimed by China. Unlike its neighbours of Vietnam and the 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 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 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, Iran–Iraq, Namibia, Cambodia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia, Kosovo, East Timor and 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 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 southern Philippines and southern Thailand would spill over into Malaysia. Because of this, Malaysia began to increase its border security.
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 Indonesia and Brunei in East Malaysia. It is linked to 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 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, 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, 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 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.
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 Malaysia. 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 droughts.
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 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 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 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).
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 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. 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.
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. 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 2014 was $746.821 billion, the third largest in ASEAN behind more populous Indonesia and Thailand and the 28th largest in the world.
In 1991, current 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 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 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 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 under the 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 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.
The overall infrastructure of Malaysia is one of the most developed in Asia and ranked 8th in Asia and 25th in the world. Malaysia is 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.
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. 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. 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 after China, India and Vietnam.
Malaysia's road network is one of the most comprehensive in Asia and 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 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 tarmac except for parts of the Skudai–Pontian Highway which are paved with concrete, while parts of the Federal Highway linking Klang to Kuala Lumpur are 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 like 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 expressways, bringing the standard of East Malaysian highways to the same level of quality as Peninsular highways.
There are currently 1,833 kilometres (1,139 mi) of railways in Malaysia, of which 767 km (477 mi) are double tracked and electrified. Rail transport in Malaysia comprises heavy rail (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 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 airline is Malaysia Airlines, providing international and domestic air services. Major international routes and domestic routes crossing between West 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 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, 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 and 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.
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 constitution as 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 between states.
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 19th century. 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 card known as MyKad at the age of 12, and must carry the card at all times.
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.
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 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 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. 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 was the district with the highest crude death rate while 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, a volunteer militia with a history of controversies, to enforce its immigration law.
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, 19.8% practice Buddhism, 9.2% Christianity, 6.3% Hinduism and 1.3% practice Confucianism, 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 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 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%) 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 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 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.
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; 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 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 are 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 Malaysians have Caucasian ancestry and speak creole languages, such as the Portuguese-based Malaccan Creoles, and the Spanish-based Chavacano language.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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. 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.
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 observed. Malaysian Chinese celebrate festivals such as Chinese New Year and others relating to traditional Chinese beliefs. 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, 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.
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. Badminton matches 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 national field hockey team ranked 13th in the world as of December 2015. 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. 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 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 Melbourne Olympic Games. The council was renamed the Olympic Council of 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 arts are Silat Melayu and kickboxing or tomoi.
Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.
Map of British North Borneo, highlighting in yellow colour the area covered by the Philippine claim, presented to the Court by the Philippines during the Oral Hearings at the ICJ on 25 June 2001
Borneo (; Malay: Pulau Borneo, Indonesian: Kalimantan) is the third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi, and east of Sumatra.
The island is politically divided among three countries: Malaysia and Brunei in the north, and Indonesia to the south. Approximately 73% of the island is Indonesian territory. In the north, the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak make up about 26% of the island. Additionally, the Malaysian federal territory of Labuan is situated on a small island just off the coast of Borneo. The sovereign state of Brunei, located on the north coast, comprises about 1% of Borneo's land area. A little more than half of the island is in the Northern Hemisphere including Brunei and the Malaysian portion, while the Indonesian portion spans both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Borneo is home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world.Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur (; Malaysian: [ˈkwalə ˈlumpʊr]), officially the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (Malay: Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur), or commonly known as KL, is the national capital and largest city in Malaysia. As the global city of Malaysia, it covers an area of 243 km2 (94 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 1.73 million as of 2016. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.25 million people as of 2017. It is among the fastest growing metropolitan regions in Southeast Asia, in both population and economic development.
Kuala Lumpur is the cultural, financial, and economic centre of Malaysia. It is also home to the Parliament of Malaysia, and the official residence of the Malaysian King (Yang di-Pertuan Agong), the Istana Negara. The city once held the headquarters of the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, but these were relocated to Putrajaya in early 1999. However, some sections of the political bodies still remain in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur is one of the three Federal Territories of Malaysia, enclaved within the state of Selangor, on the central west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Since the 1990s, the city has played host to many international sporting, political, and cultural events including the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Kuala Lumpur has undergone rapid development in recent decades, and is home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Towers, which have since become an iconic symbol of Malaysian development.
Kuala Lumpur has a comprehensive road system supported by an extensive range of public transport networks, such as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Light Metro (LRT), Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), monorail, commuter rail, and an airport rail link. Kuala Lumpur is one of the leading cities in the world for tourism and shopping, being the tenth most-visited city in the world in 2017. The city houses three of the world's ten largest shopping malls.Kuala Lumpur has been ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking at No. 70 in the world, and No. 2 in Southeast Asia after Singapore. EIU's Safe Cities Index of 2017 rated Kuala Lumpur 31st out of 60 on its world's safest cities list, safer than Beijing or Shanghai. Kuala Lumpur was named as one of the New7Wonders Cities, and has been named as World Book Capital 2020 by UNESCO.Mahathir Mohamad
Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad (Jawi: محضير بن محمد; IPA: [maˈhaðɪr bɪn moˈhamad]; born 10 July 1925), called Dr. M, is the Prime Minister of Malaysia. He previously served as Prime Minister from 1981 until his retirement in 2003, by which time he was the world's longest-serving elected leader. He is the chairman of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, as well as a member of the Parliament of Malaysia for the Langkawi constituency in the state of Kedah. Mahathir's political career has spanned more than 70 years since he first joined a newly formed United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) in 1946; he formed his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Malaysian United Indigenous Party), in 2016.
Born and raised in Alor Setar, Kedah, Mahathir excelled at school and became a medical doctor. He became active in the UMNO before entering Parliament in 1964. He served one term before losing his seat, subsequently falling out with Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman and being expelled from UMNO. When Abdul Rahman resigned, Mahathir re-entered UMNO and Parliament, and was promoted to the Cabinet. By 1977, he had risen to Deputy Prime Minister, and in 1981 was sworn in as Prime Minister after the resignation of his predecessor, Hussein Onn.
During Mahathir's first tenure as prime minister, Malaysia experienced a period of rapid modernization and economic growth, and his government initiated a series of bold infrastructure projects. Mahathir was a dominant political figure, winning five consecutive general elections and fending off a series of rivals for the leadership of UMNO. However, his accumulation of power came at the expense of the independence of the judiciary and the traditional powers and privileges of Malaysia's royalty. He deployed the controversial Internal Security Act to detain activists, non-mainstream religious figures, and political opponents including the Deputy Prime Minister he fired in 1998, Anwar Ibrahim. Mahathir's record of curbing civil liberties and his antagonism towards western interests and economic policy made his relationships with the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, among others, difficult. As Prime Minister, he was an advocate of third-world development and a prominent international activist.
After leaving office, Mahathir became a strident critic of his hand-picked successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2006 and later, Najib Razak in 2015. On 29 February 2016, Mahathir quit UMNO in light of its support for the actions of Prime Minister Najib Razak, in spite of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal. On 9 September 2016, the Malaysian United Indigenous Party was officially registered as a political party, with Mahathir as chairman. On 8 January 2018, Mahathir was announced as the Pakatan Harapan coalition candidate for prime minister for the 2018 general election, in a plan to pardon Anwar Ibrahim and hand a role to him if the campaign was successful. Following a decisive victory for Pakatan Harapan in the 2018 election, Mahathir was sworn in as prime minister on 10 May 2018. At 93, he is the oldest sitting state leader. He is the first prime minister not to represent the Barisan Nasional coalition (or its predecessor, the Alliance Party) and also the first to serve from two different parties and on non-consecutive terms.Malacca
Malacca (Malay: Melaka; Tamil: மலாக்கா, simplified Chinese: 马六甲; traditional Chinese: 馬六甲; pinyin: Mǎliùjiǎ) dubbed "The Historic State", is a state in Malaysia located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Strait of Malacca.
The state is bordered by Negeri Sembilan to the north and west and Johor to the south. The exclave of Cape Rachado also borders Negeri Sembilan to the north. Its capital is Malacca City, which is 148 kilometres (92 miles) south east of Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumpur, 235 kilometres (146 miles) north west of Johor's largest city Johor Bahru, and 95 km (59 miles) north west of Johor's second largest city, Batu Pahat. This historical city centre has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 7 July 2008.Although it was the location of one of the earliest Malay sultanates, the local monarchy was abolished when the Portuguese conquered it in 1511. The head of state is the Yang di-Pertua Negeri or Governor, rather than a Sultan. Various ethnic customs and traditions blended perfectly in Malacca. Peaceful life of the people of Malacca races due to the life that gave birth to the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Baba and Nyonya, Portuguese, Chitty and Eurasian.Malaysia Airlines
Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) (Malay: Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad), formerly known as Malaysian Airline System (MAS) (Malay: Sistem Penerbangan Malaysia), branded as Malaysia Airlines, is an airline operating flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and from secondary hubs in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching to destinations throughout Asia, Oceania and Europe. Malaysia Airlines is the flag carrier of Malaysia and a member of the oneworld airline alliance. The company headquarters are located at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. In August 2014, the Malaysian government's sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional—which then owned 69.37% of the airline—announced its intention to purchase remaining ownership from minority shareholders and de-list the airline from Malaysia's stock exchange, thereby renationalising the airline.
Malaysia Airlines owns two subsidiary airlines: Firefly and MASwings. Firefly operates scheduled flights from its two home bases Penang International Airport and Subang International Airport. The airline focuses on tertiary cities. MASwings focuses on inter-Borneo flights. Malaysia Airlines has a freighter fleet operated by sister company MASkargo, which manages freighter flights and aircraft cargo-hold capacity for all Malaysia Airlines' passenger flights.
Malaysia Airlines traces its history to Malayan Airways Limited, which was founded in Singapore in the 1930s and flew its first commercial flight in 1947. It was then renamed as Malaysian Airways after the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. In 1966, after the Independence of Singapore Agreement 1965, the airline was renamed Malaysia–Singapore Airlines (MSA), before its assets were divided in 1972 to form two separate national airlines—Malaysian Airline System (MAS, since renamed as Malaysia Airlines) and Singapore Airlines.Despite numerous awards from the aviation industry, being crowned 'The World's 5-Star Airline' by Skytrax multiple times (2009, 2012 and 2013) and recognition from the World Travel Awards as 'Asia's Leading Airline' (2010, 2011 and 2013), the airline struggled to cut costs to cope with the rise of low-cost carriers in the region since the early 2000s. In 2013, the airline initiated a turnaround plan after large losses beginning in 2011 and cut routes to prominent, but unprofitable, long-haul destinations, such as the Americas (Los Angeles and Buenos Aires) and South Africa. Malaysia Airlines also began an internal restructuring and intended to sell units such as engineering and pilot training.Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) was a scheduled passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down on 17 July 2014 while flying over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. Contact with the aircraft, a Boeing 777-200ER, was lost when it was about 50 km (31 mi) from the Ukraine–Russia border and wreckage of the aircraft fell near Hrabove in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, 40 km (25 mi) from the border. The shoot-down occurred in the War in Donbass, during the Battle of Shakhtarsk, in an area controlled by pro-Russian rebels. The crash was Malaysia Airlines' second aircraft loss during 2014 after the disappearance of Flight 370 on 8 March.The responsibility for investigation was delegated to the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) and the Dutch-led joint investigation team (JIT), who concluded that the airliner was downed by a Buk surface-to-air missile launched from pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory in Ukraine. According to the JIT, the Buk that was used originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Federation, and had been transported from Russia on the day of the crash, fired from a field in a rebel-controlled area, and the launcher returned to Russia after it was used to shoot down MH17. On the basis of the JIT's conclusions, the governments of the Netherlands and Australia hold Russia responsible for the deployment of the Buk installation and are taking steps to hold Russia formally accountable.The DSB and JIT findings confirmed earlier claims by American and German intelligence sources as to the missile type and launch area. In 2014 the American intelligence had also said that Russia had supplied the Buk missile to pro-Russian insurgents, and that the insurgents most plausibly shot down MH17 in error, after misidentifying it as a military aircraft.Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk laid the blame on professional soldiers who came from Russia, stating that "it wasn't drunken militants with Ukrainian passports [who shot down the Malaysian plane], it was done by Russian professionals and coordinated from Russia", adding that "the whole world has learned about the Russian lies and Russian propaganda." As of May 2018, the Russian government rejects claims that Russia bears any responsibility for the crash, and denies involvement. The Russian defense ministry said that it had never deployed anti-aircraft missile systems in Ukraine. Several false conspiracy theories about the crash have since appeared in Russian media, including that the aircraft was followed by a Ukrainian military jet. The Russian Government holds Ukraine responsible since the crash happened in the Ukrainian flight information region.The Ukrainian Air Force (UAF) was used extensively in operations against the rebels, and several UAF aircraft had been shot down over the rebel-controlled territory, both before and after the MH17 incident. Immediately after the crash, a post appeared on the VKontakte social media profile attributed to Igor Girkin, leader of the Donbass separatist militia, claiming responsibility for shooting down a Ukrainian An-26 military transporter near Torez. This post was removed later the same day, and the separatists then denied shooting down any aircraft. In late July 2014, communications intercepts were made public in which, it is claimed, separatists are heard discussing an aircraft that they had downed. A video from the crash site, recorded by the rebels and obtained by News Corp Australia, shows the first rebel soldiers to arrive at the crash site. At first they assumed that the downed aircraft was a Ukrainian military jet, and were dismayed when they started to realise that it was a civilian airliner.Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (also referred to as MH370, Flight MH370 or MAS370) was a scheduled international passenger flight operated by Malaysia Airlines that disappeared on 8 March 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to its destination, Beijing Capital International Airport. The crew of the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft last communicated with air traffic control (ATC) around 38 minutes after takeoff when the flight was over the South China Sea. The aircraft was lost from ATC radar screens minutes later, but was tracked by military radar for another hour, deviating westwards from its planned flight path, crossing the Malay Peninsula and Andaman Sea. It left radar range 200 nautical miles (370 km) northwest of Penang Island in northwestern Malaysia. With all 227 passengers and 12 crew aboard presumed dead, the disappearance of Flight 370 was the deadliest incident involving a Boeing 777 and the deadliest in Malaysia Airlines' history, until it was surpassed in both regards by Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 four months later. The combined loss caused significant financial problems for Malaysia Airlines, which was renationalised by the Malaysian government in December 2014.
The search for the missing airplane, which became the most costly in aviation history, focused initially on the South China and Andaman seas, before analysis of the aircraft's automated communications with an Inmarsat satellite identified a possible crash site somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean. The lack of official information in the days immediately after the disappearance prompted fierce criticism from the Chinese public, particularly from relatives of the passengers; most on board Flight 370 were of Chinese origin. Several pieces of marine debris confirmed to be from the aircraft washed ashore in the western Indian Ocean during 2015 and 2016. After a three-year search across 120,000 square kilometres (46,000 sq mi) of ocean failed to locate the aircraft, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre heading the operation suspended their activities in January 2017. A second search launched in January 2018 by the private contractor Ocean Infinity also ended without success after six months.
The disappearance of Flight 370 has been dubbed one of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time. Relying mostly on analysis of data from the Inmarsat satellite with which the aircraft last communicated, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau proposed initially that a hypoxia event was the most likely cause given the available evidence, although there has not been any consensus concerning this theory among investigators. At various stages of the investigation, possible hijacking scenarios were considered, including crew involvement, and suspicion of the airplane's cargo manifest; many unofficial theories have also been proposed by the media. The Malaysian Ministry of Transport's final report from July 2018 was inconclusive, but highlighted Malaysian air traffic controllers' failures to attempt to communicate with the aircraft shortly after its disappearance. In the absence of a definitive cause of the disappearance, safety recommendations and regulations of the air transport industry, citing Flight 370, have been intended mostly to prevent a repetition of the circumstances associated with the loss. These include increased battery life on underwater locator beacons, lengthening of recording times on flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders, and new standards for aircraft position reporting over open ocean.Malaysia national football team
The Malaysia national football team (Malay: Pasukan bola sepak kebangsaan Malaysia) is the national association football team of Malaysia and is controlled by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM). The national team was founded in 1963 Merdeka Tournament one month before the establishment of the Malaysian Federation. Malaysia national football team is recognised by FIFA as the successor of the defunct Malaya national football team. The Malaysian team is nicknamed Harimau Malaya in reference of the Malayan tiger.
It is one of the successful teams in Southeast Asia along with Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, winning bronze at the Asian Games in 1974 as well winning the ASEAN Football Championship in 2010 and other competitions while improving at the same time.
In the FIFA World Rankings, Malaysia's highest standing was in the first release of the figures, in August 1993, at 75th. Malaysia's main rival on the international stage are their geographical neighbours, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore, and past matches between these three teams have produced much drama.Malaysian ringgit
The Malaysian ringgit (; plural: ringgit; symbol: RM; currency code: MYR; formerly the Malaysian dollar) is the currency of Malaysia. It is divided into 100 sen (cents). The ringgit is issued by the Bank Negara Malaysia.Penang
Penang is a Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Malacca Strait. It has two parts: Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located, and Seberang Perai (formerly Province Wellesley) on the Malay Peninsula. The second smallest Malaysian state by land mass, Penang is bordered by Kedah to the north and the east, and Perak to the south. Currently, Penang is home to Southeast Asia's Longest bridge connecting the island to mainland. Penang's population stood at nearly 1.767 million as of 2018, while its population density rose to 1,684/km2 (4,360/sq mi). It has among the nation's highest population densities and is one of the country's most urbanised states. George Town, Malaysia's second largest city, is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Penang's modern history began in 1786, upon the establishment of George Town by Francis Light. Penang formed part of the Straits Settlements in 1826, which became a British crown colony in 1867. Direct British rule was only briefly interrupted during World War II, when Japan occupied Penang; the British retook Penang in 1945. Penang was later merged with the Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia), which gained independence from the British in 1957. Following the decline of its entrepôt trade towards the 1970s, Penang's economy was reoriented towards hi-tech manufacturing.Known as the Silicon Valley of the East for its industries, Penang is one of Malaysia's most vital economic powerhouses. Penang has the highest Gross Domestic Product per capita among all Malaysian states and is considered a high-income economy. In addition, Penang recorded the nation's second highest Human Development Index, after Kuala Lumpur. Correspondingly, the state has a relatively well-educated population, with a youth literacy rate of 99.5% as of 2014.Its heterogeneous population is highly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language and religion. Aside from the three main races, the Chinese, Malays and Indians, Penang is home to significant Eurasian, Siamese and expatriate communities. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite or Penang Lâng (in Penang Hokkien).Peninsular Malaysia
Peninsular Malaysia, also known as Malaya or West Malaysia, is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula and surrounding islands. Its area is 132,265 square kilometres (51,068 sq mi), which is nearly 40% of the total area of the country - 330,611 square kilometres (127,650 sq mi) - or slightly smaller than England and Java island. It shares a land border with Thailand in the north. To the south is the island of Singapore.Across the Strait of Malacca to the west lies the Sumatra Island (Indonesia) and across the South China Sea to the east lies the Natuna Islands (Indonesia). Peninsular Malaysia accounts for the majority (roughly 81.3%) of Malaysia's population and economy; as of 2017 its population is roughly 26 million (92% of total population).Petronas
PETRONAS, short for Petroliam Nasional Berhad (National Petroleum Limited), is a Malaysian oil and gas company that was founded on 17 August 1974. Wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia, the corporation is vested with the entire oil and gas resources in Malaysia and is entrusted with the responsibility of developing and adding value to these resources. Petronas is ranked among Fortune Global 500's largest corporations in the world. Fortune ranks Petronas as the 75th largest company in the world in 2013. Fortune also ranks Petronas as the 12th most profitable company in the world and the most profitable in Asia.Since its incorporation, Petronas has grown to be an integrated international oil and gas company with business interests in 35 countries. As of the end of March 2005, the Petronas Group comprised 103 wholly owned subsidiaries, 19 partly owned outfits and 57 associated companies. Together, these companies make the Petronas Group, which is involved in various oil and gas based activities. The Financial Times has identified PETRONAS as one of the "new seven sisters": the most influential and mainly state-owned national oil and gas companies from countries outside the OECD.
The group is engaged in a wide spectrum of petroleum activities, including upstream exploration and production of oil and gas to downstream oil refining; marketing and distribution of petroleum products; trading; gas processing and liquefaction; gas transmission pipeline network operations; marketing of liquefied natural gas; petrochemical manufacturing and marketing; shipping; automotive engineering; and property investment.
PETRONAS provides a substantial source of income for the Malaysian government, with half of the government's budget dependent on PETRONAS' dividend, moreover in 2011 government actual balance has 5 percent deficit of Gross Domestic Product.The company is headquartered at the Petronas Towers which was officially opened on Malaysia's 42nd National Day, 31 August 1999 – in the corporation's 24th Anniversary year.Petronas Towers
The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers (Malay: Menara Petronas, or Menara Berkembar Petronas), are twin skyscrapers. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)'s official definition and ranking, they were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 and remain the tallest twin towers in the world. The buildings are a landmark of Kuala Lumpur, along with nearby Kuala Lumpur Tower.Prime Minister of Malaysia
The Prime Minister of Malaysia (Malay: Perdana Menteri Malaysia) is the head of government and the highest political office in Malaysia. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong appoints Prime Minister as a Member of Parliament (MP) who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs. The Prime Minister chairs the Cabinet of Malaysia, the de facto executive branch of government. On 18 October 2018, 7th Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, announced a two-term limit (10 years Max) to all Cabinet Profolio.
After the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya, became Prime Minister of Malaysia. From independence until the 2018 general election, the Prime Minister had always been from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party of Barisan Nasional (previously Alliance). Following a general election, Mahathir Mohamad took office on 10 May 2018, as the first Prime Minister of the opposition coalition, Pakatan Harapan (PH). Mahathir is the first Prime Minister not to represent the Alliance/Barisan Nasional coalition. He is also the first Malaysian Prime Minister to serve from two different parties and on non-consecutive terms.
Mahathir and the PH coalition have confirmed that, after a period of around 2 years, People's Justice Party (PKR) leader Anwar Ibrahim will take over as Prime Minister. On 11 June 2018, Mahathir said he's prepared to stay as Prime Minister for more than two years if that is what members of the public wants.Sarawak
Sarawak (; Malay: [saˈrawaʔ]) is a state of Malaysia. Being the largest among 13 other states with the size almost equal to West Malaysia, Sarawak is located in northwest Borneo Island, and is bordered by the Malaysian state of Sabah to the northeast, Kalimantan (the Indonesian portion of Borneo) to the south, and Brunei in the north. The capital city, Kuching, is the largest city in Sarawak, the economic centre of the state, and the seat of the Sarawak state government. Other cities and towns in Sarawak include Miri, Sibu, and Bintulu. As of the 2015 census, the population of Sarawak was 2,636,000. Sarawak has an equatorial climate with tropical rainforests and abundant animal and plant species. It has several prominent cave systems at Gunung Mulu National Park. Rajang River is the longest river in Malaysia; Bakun Dam, one of the largest dams in Southeast Asia, is located on one of its tributaries, the Balui River. Mount Murud is the highest point in Sarawak.
The earliest known human settlement in Sarawak at the Niah Caves dates back 40,000 years. A series of Chinese ceramics dated from the 8th to 13th century AD was uncovered at the archaeological site of Santubong. The coastal regions of Sarawak came under the influence of the Bruneian Empire in the 16th century. In 1839, James Brooke, a British explorer, arrived in Sarawak. He, and his descendants, governed the state from 1841 to 1946. During World War II, it was occupied by the Japanese for three years. After the war, the last White Rajah, Charles Vyner Brooke, ceded Sarawak to Britain, and in 1946 it became a British Crown Colony. On 22 July 1963, Sarawak was granted self-government by the British and subsequently became one of the founding members of the Federation of Malaysia, established on 16 September 1963. However, the federation was opposed by Indonesia leading to a three-year confrontation. The creation of the Federation also resulted in a communist insurgency that lasted until 1990.
The head of state is the Governor, also known as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, while the head of government is the Chief Minister. Sarawak is divided into administrative divisions, and districts, governed by a system that is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and was the earliest state legislature system in Malaysia.
Because of its natural resources, Sarawak specialises in the export of oil and gas, timber and oil palms, but also possesses strong manufacturing, energy and tourism sectors. It is ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse; major ethnic groups including Iban, Malay, Chinese, Melanau, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu. English and Malay are the two official languages of the state; there is no official religion.Selangor
Selangor (; Malay: [s(ə)laŋo(r)]), also known by its Arabic honorific Darul Ehsan, or "Abode of Sincerity", is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. It is on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is bordered by Perak to the north, Pahang to the east, Negeri Sembilan to the south and the Strait of Malacca to the west. Selangor surrounds the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, both of which were previously part of it.
The state capital of Selangor is Shah Alam and its royal capital is Klang. Petaling Jaya, was awarded city status in 2006. Selangor is one of three Malaysian states that contain more than one city with official city status; the others are Sarawak and Johor.The state of Selangor has the largest economy in Malaysia in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), with RM 239.968 billion (roughly USD 55.5 billion) in 2015, comprising 22.6% of the country's GDP. It is the most developed state in Malaysia; it has good infrastructure such as highways and transport, and has the largest population in Malaysia, a high standard of living and the lowest poverty rate in the country.Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China and Japan, east of India, west of Papua New Guinea, and north of Australia. Southeast Asia is bordered to the north by East Asia, to the west by South Asia and the Bay of Bengal, to the east by Oceania and the Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Australia and the Indian Ocean. The region is the only part of Asia that lies partly within the Southern Hemisphere, although the majority of it is in the Northern Hemisphere. In contemporary definition, Southeast Asia consists of two geographic regions:
Mainland Southeast Asia, also known historically as Indochina, comprising parts of Northeast India (Part of India east of Siliguri Corridor), Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and West Malaysia.
Maritime Southeast Asia, also known historically as Nusantara, the East Indies and Malay Archipelago, comprises the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, Indonesia, East Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, East Timor, Brunei, Christmas Island, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Taiwan is also included in this grouping by many anthropologists.The region lies near the intersection of geological plates, with both heavy seismic and volcanic activities. The Sunda Plate is the main plate of the region, featuring almost all Southeast Asian countries except Myanmar, northern Thailand, northern Laos, northern Vietnam, and northern Luzon of the Philippines. The mountain ranges in Myanmar, Thailand, and peninsular Malaysia are part of the Alpide belt, while the islands of the Philippines are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Both seismic belts meet in Indonesia, causing the region to have relatively high occurrences of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.Southeast Asia covers about 4.5 million km2 (1.7 million mi2), which is 10.5% of Asia or 3% of earth's total land area. Its total population is more than 641 million, about 8.5% of the world's population. It is the third most populous geographical region in the world after South Asia and East Asia. The region is culturally and ethnically diverse, with hundreds of languages spoken by different ethnic groups. Ten countries in the region are members of ASEAN, a regional organization established for economic, political, military, educational and cultural integration amongst its members.States and federal territories of Malaysia
The states and federal territories of Malaysia are the principal administrative divisions of Malaysia. Malaysia is a federation comprising 13 states (Negeri) and three federal territories (Wilayah Persekutuan).Yang di-Pertuan Agong
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (literally "He Who is Made Lord", Jawi: يڠ دڤرتوان اݢوڠ), also known as the Supreme Head or the King, is the monarch and head of state of Malaysia. The office was established in 1957, when the Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia) gained independence from the United Kingdom. Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy with an elected monarch as head of state. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is one of the few elected monarchs in the world. The concept of an elected monarch is believed to be rooted in the 7th-century kingdoms of Srivijaya and Ayutthaya, where at that time the king was elected from city-states in Srivijaya.
In Malaysia's constitutional monarchy, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has extensive powers within the constitution on paper. The constitution specifies that the executive power of the Federal government is vested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. However, he is bound to exercise this power on the advice of the Cabinet or a minister acting under Cabinet authority. The Cabinet is headed by the prime minister, appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong from among the elected members of Parliament. Among them, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has discretionary powers to choose who he wants as the Prime Minister and is not bound by the decision of the outgoing prime minister if no party has won a majority vote (Article 40). It, however, does not afford him the right and authority to dismiss the prime minister. He also can dismiss or withhold consent to a request for the dissolution of Parliament (Article 40). He may discontinue or dissolve Parliament (Article 55) but he can only dissolve Parliament at the request of the Prime Minister (Article 43). He can reject any new laws or amendments to existing laws but if he still withholds permission, it will automatically become law after 30 days from the initial submission to him (Article 66). The queen consort for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is known as the Raja Permaisuri Agong and the couple are styled in English as "His Majesty" and "Her Majesty".The 16th and current Yang di-Pertuan Agong is Al-Sultan Abdullah of Pahang, replacing Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, who abdicated on 6 January 2019. He was elected on 24 January, at a special meeting of the Conference of Rulers. He took the oath of office and was sworn in at the Istana Negara on 31 January.
Articles relating to Malaysia