Malaysia  country profile

Malaysia’s Magnificence
Malaysia’s Magnificence
Malaysia’s Magnificence
Malaysia’s Magnificence
Malaysia’s MagnificenceMalaysia is a country in Southeast Asia that hosts a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic population. The country, much like its neighbors, has also experienced having colonies and protectorates established within its borders by outside influences...

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Malaysia’s Magnificence

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia that hosts a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic population. The country, much like its neighbors, has also experienced having colonies and protectorates established within its borders by outside influences, and this was done by the British Empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The country also got occupied by Japan during World War II, between the years of 1942 and 1945, but was released from Japanese occupation when the war ended. In 1948, territories under British rule formed what was called the Federation of Malaya. This coalition of territories soon gained their independence in 1957.

The country Malaysia was not formed till 1963, and this was when other former British holdings such as Borneo, Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak joined the federation. While independent, the country faced tumultuous times due to communist insurgents, territorial problems with other Southeast-Asian neighbors, and the eventual split of Singapore from the federation two years after it joined. Despite these problems however, Malaysia has blossomed into an industrialized market economy and ranks third in the top ASEAN economies.


Malaysia and Its Geographical Statistics


Map References:

Southeast Asia



Annual northeast and southwest monsoons; tropical climate



Hills and mountains that connect to coastal plains


Elevation Extremes:

Highest point:

Gunung Kinabalu


Lowest point:

Indian Ocean

Land Use:

Permanent crops:



Arable land:





Natural Resources:

Petroleum, timber, tin, iron ore, copper, bauxite, natural gas


Natural Hazards:

Landslides, flooding and forest fires



International agreements:

Party to climate change, biodiversity, desertification, marine life conservation, and many more


Current Issues:

air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, smoke from forest fires






Political Geography

Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia and has a total land area of 329,847 square kilometers or 127,350 square miles. It has 13 states and 3 federal territories distributed between two similarly sized areas, Malaysian Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia, which are separated by the South China Sea. The country shares both maritime borders and land borders with a few neighbors. Singapore, Philippines, and Vietnam share maritime borders with the country; while Indonesia, Thailand, and Brunei share land borders with this Southeast Asian nation.
Based on total land area, Malaysia is ranked sixty-seventh among all countries in the world in size. While majority of the population resides on the two larger territories that make up the two halves of this country, there are a few smaller islands around it that are also occupied. If you were to put together all of the land that the country owns, it is roughly comparable to the size of New Mexico.


Landscape and Climate

Malaysia’s climate is similar to most of its Southeast Asian neighbors located near the equator. The “equatorial climate” that the country has brings with it high humidity and monsoons that bring average rainfalls of 250 centimeters. The two sides of Malaysia may experience similar weather patterns, but due to different factors, with the west experiencing these climates due to winds that come from the mainland and the eastern part going through weather patterns that are similar to other coastal areas.

Due to the many different terrains that the country has, mountains, coastal areas, and hills, Malaysia also experiences three types of climes, namely the lowland, highland, and coastal climes. With two-thirds of the country covered in forests, you can also expect a wide variety of flora and fauna to be found here. An estimated 20% of the animal species of the world can be found in these forests.


Political and Governmental Facts on Malaysia


Government Type:

Constitutional Monarchy


Country Name:

Long form (conventional)



Short form (conventional)



Long form (local)



Short form (local)



Kuala Lumpur



Constitution of August 31, 1957 (with a number of amendments)


Administrative Divisions:

13 states and 1 federal territory


Executive Body:

Chief of State (King, ceremonial post), Head of Government (prime minister), Cabinet (appointed by the prime minister)


Legislative Body:

Bicameral Parliament - Senate and House of Representatives


Judicial Body:

Federal Court, Court of Appeals, High Court of Malaya and High Court of Sabah and Sarawak






Malaysia’s government is called a federal constitutional elective monarchy. This type of government is patterned after the Westminster parliamentary system, which clearly shows the influence of British colonial rule. The head of state is the king, and unlike other countries that follow the rule of succession for their monarchs, Malaysia actually elects a king to rule over them every five years. This king is however chosen from nine hereditary rulers that come from the Malay states. In order for peace to continue without any of the nine lines complaining of a monopoly of ruling kings, these kings are chosen from one of each nine in a systematic rotational scheme.

Legislative power in the country is shared by state and federal legislatures. The country has 70 senators and 222 representatives in the lower house. The Senate has 26 elected members and 44 appointed members. The legal system of Malaysia follows that of British rule as well, with the use of English Common Law. The highest court in the land is the Federal Court, next is the Court of Appeals, and the two high courts of East Malaysia and Peninsular Malaysia are next in this line.


Malaysia’s Economy


GDP (Purchasing Power Parity)

US$447 billion (2011 est.)

GDP (Official Exchange rate)

US$247.6 billion (2011 est.)

GDP Real Growth Rate

5.2% (2011 est.)

Labor Force:

11.91 million (2011 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

3.1% (2011 est.)


expenditures: $73.8 billion
revenues: $59.8 billion (2011 est.)

Public Debt:

53.5% of GDP (2011 est.)


Malaysia is considered a middle-income country, and it enjoys its stature as one of the strongest economies in the region. Aiming to become a high-income economy by 2020, the country has transformed itself from depending on revenues that come from raw material production to becoming a multi-sector economy. From depending on mining and agriculture in the 70s, Malaysia is now a country with an industrial sector, a tourism capital, and knowledge-based services.


People and Culture

The population of Malaysia is made up of a number of different ethnic groups. Malays make up the majority of this ethnically diverse community, with around 50% of the country being Malays, while the rest of the population consists of Thais, Chams, Khmers, and natives of Sarawak and Sabah. Around 23% of the country is Chinese, and 7% are of Indian descent. Being born in Malaysia does not guarantee a person of citizenship; however, any child born of two Malaysians, no matter where they are in the world, is automatically given citizenship.

Religion in the country is left to the discretion of each citizen since freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution. Islam however is the state religion with around 61% of the population following this religious practice. Almost 20% follow Buddhism, 9% are Christians, and 6% follow Hinduism. Other religions, like Taoism and Confucianism make up 1% of the populace and 2% either have no religion or did not mention any.

Food in Malaysia is also becoming rather popular worldwide with traditional dishes like nasi lemak, rending, and nasi goreng making it on the menus of international restaurants. Cuisine in the country is often compared with Indonesian cuisine, and with reason. Both are similar due to the ingredients that are used and the methods of cooking. Rice, chili, coconut milk, fish, meat, and vegetables are often part of these dishes. Due to the diversity of the cultures found within the country’s borders, you can also expect mixes like Chinese-Malay, Indian-Malay and Javanese-Malay in these dishes.