||Malay (Bahasa Malaysia)
|Form of government
||federalist monarchy in the British
Commonwealth of Nations
||Indo-China-Time (UTC + 8)
|Telephone area code
Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia and consists of
two parts of the country: West Malaysia lies in the
south of the Malacca Peninsula (border with Thailand in
the north ), East Malaysia with the provinces Sarawak
and Sabah occupies the northwestern part of the island
of Borneo (Kalimantan). The rest of Borneo belongs to
Indonesia. The parts of the country are separated by
about 600 km by the South China Sea. The total area of
the country is 329,759 km², making the country a
little smaller than Germany.
On the Malacca Peninsula, several mountain ranges run
from north to south, which are foothills of the Indian
mountains. The highest mountain range reaches a height
of 2 190 m (Tahan). Towards the coast, the mountains
change into hilly countries, which are followed by vast,
swampy coastal plains. The southern tip of the Malacca
Peninsula is mostly flat.
Alluvial plains also mark the coasts of the Malawian
provinces Sarawak and Sabah on Borneo. Towards the
middle of the island, the country rises to heights of
2.423 m (Gunong Murud, Sarawak) and 4.101 m (Kinabalu).
The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is located in the west of
the Malacca Peninsula in the state of Selangor.
Both parts of Malaysia have a tropical, humid climate
with consistently high temperatures all year round. The
average value in the capital Kuala Lumpur is between 26
กใ C and 28 กใ C. In the higher altitudes, the
temperatures are somewhat lower and are between 17 กใ C
and 19 กใ C. The air humidity is very high and
precipitation falls all year round. Between 2,000 mm and
4,000 mm are measured on the coasts and up to 6,000 mm
in the mountains.
Flora and fauna
More than two thirds of the country's territory is
covered by evergreen rainforest, which changes into
mountain and then cloud forest above approx. 800 m. The
tree line is around 3 500 m. The forest stands in Sabah
and Sarawak on Borneo are among the oldest virgin forest
areas in the world. Deforestation and slash-and-burn
field construction reduce the stocks annually. Large
mangrove forests can be found on the coasts of Malaysia.
The fauna is just as diverse as the flora. Gibbons,
macaques, malay bears and numerous reptiles such as
cobras and pythons are widespread. Rarer species are
elephants, tigers, clouded leopards, gold and marble
cats and leopards. The orangutan, which is classified as
a highly endangered species, lives on Borneo. The
Sumatran rhinoceros is also endangered. The species-rich
bird life includes, among other things, hornbills, beos,
parrots, pheasants and owls.
According to COUNTRYAAH, 26.1 million people live in Malaysia, about
80% of them on the Malay Peninsula; the most densely
populated areas are also located there. More than half
of the population lives in cities. By far the largest
city is Kuala Lumpur as the economic center of Malaysia
with around 1.46 million residents.
More than 50 ethnic groups live in the country. 65.1%
of the population are Malays. The largest ethnic
minority are Chinese, who make up about a quarter of the
population. The rest consist of Indians and indigenous
peoples such as the Orang Asli, which includes a group
of ancient Malay peoples who still live in the
rainforests as hunters and gatherers. Ethnic minorities
in Borneo include the Iban in Sarawak province and the
Kadayan in Sabah. The Malaysian population is much lower
in Borneo than in the Malay Peninsula.
The Malays are predominantly followers of Sunni
Islam, Islam is the state religion. The second largest
religious community are Christians with about 26%,
followed by Buddhists with around 19.2%; Hindus make up
about 7% of the population. Natural religions are also
common. The official language is Malay (Bahasa
Malaysia), English and Chinese are widely spoken.
English is also important as a language of communication
and education. Tamil and Iban are also spoken.
Social and health services are particularly well
developed in the cities of Malaysia. Population growth
is 1.8%, around a third of the population is younger
than 15 years. The average life expectancy is 70 years.
Children are required to attend school for eleven years
and attend school free of charge; 87% of Malays can read
The State of Malaysia consists of 13 states
(negeri-negeri) and three federal territories and is a
federalist electoral monarchy in the British
Commonwealth of Nations according to the 1957
The head of state is the king ("Yang di-Pertuan
Agong"; since December 2011 Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah).
He is elected as one of the nine hereditary rulers
(sultans) by the Conference of Princes, which - apart
from the nine sultans - also includes representatives of
the four other states. His term of office is five years.
The king is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
The cabinet is headed by the Prime Minister (Najib Razak
since April 2009) as head of government. He is appointed
by the king as the representative of the strongest party
in parliament and is responsible to parliament.
The legislature lies with the parliament, which is
made up of two chambers: the House of Representatives
(Dewan Rakyat) with 222 people-elected MPs and the
Senate (Dewan Negara) with 70 members, 44 of whom are
appointed by the King and the rest by the state
parliaments. The term of office of the senators is six
years, that of the members of the House of
Representatives five years.
The most powerful political grouping in Malaysia is
the "National Front" party alliance; the most important
of its parties is again the UMNO (United Malaysian
National Organization). The party alliance formed all
government coalitions since 1957. The main opposition
parties include the radical Islamic PAS (Parti Islam
Semalaysia), the Chinese minority party DAP (Democratic
Action Party) and the liberal justice party PKR (Parti
Malaysia has been one of the so-called "tiger
countries" due to its rapid development to the
industrial nation since 1970. Thanks to the "New
Economic Policy" (NEP, since 1991 "National Development
Policy", NDP), the country is one of the richest nations
in Southeast Asia.
Agriculture only contributes a tenth to gross
domestic product (GDP) and employs 13% of the workforce.
35% of the agricultural land is taken up by plantations
on which rubber, cocoa and palm oil are produced.
Malaysia occupies leading positions in world production
for all three. Small farmers mainly grow rice, sugar
cane, tea, pineapple, coconuts and tobacco for their own
use. The timber industry plays an important role.
Malaysia is a world leader in the export of timber.
Fishing also plays an important role.
Malaysia has deposits of high quality natural gas and
oil. Imported crude oil, coal, hydropower and still
firewood are used for our own energy needs. Other
existing mineral resources include tin, copper, iron
ore, bauxite and gold. Industry generates 41% of GDP and
employs 28% of the total workforce. The automotive,
high-tech and electrical industries are highly
developed. Traditional industries are food, rubber and
oil processing, as well as the textile and wood
processing industries. The industrial centers (apart
from the chemical companies) are on the west coast of
the Malay Peninsula.
The Asian Free Trade Area (AFTA), founded in 1994,
includes all ten member states of the ASEAN (Association
of South-East Asian Nations), including Malaysia. The
ASEAN Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 2002.
The main trading partners are China, Singapore, Japan
and the USA. Electronics, petroleum and chemical
products are mainly exported and imported. Tourism also
plays a role as a source of foreign exchange earnings.
The country's infrastructure has developed to varying
degrees, and there is a well-developed road and rail
network on the Malay Peninsula. A total of around
125,000 km of paved roads are available. Kuala Lumpur
has an international airport that has become a hub for
flights to Australia and Oceania.
The currency is the ringgit.