MalaysiaFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThis article is about the country. For the biogeographical region, see Malesia.MalaysiaFlag Coat of armsMotto: "Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu""Unity Is Strength"Anthem: NegarakuMy Country (instrumental)MENU0:00Capitaland largest cityKuala Lumpur[a]Putrajaya (administrative)3°08′N 101°42′EOfficial languages Malaysian[b]
Official script Malay (Latin) alphabet[c]Recognized English[d]Ethnic groups () 50.4% Malay23.7% Chinese11.0% Indigenous7.1% Indian7.8% otherDemonym MalaysianGovernment Federal constitutionalelectivemonarchy andfederal parliamentarydemocracy- King Abdul Halim- Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak (BN)- Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (BN)Legislature Parliament- Upper house Dewan Negara- Lower house Dewan RakyatIndependence from the United Kingdom- Malaya 31 August 1957- Sarawak 22 July 1963- North Borneo[e]31 August 1963- Federation ofMalaya, North Borneo,Sarawak, Singapore[f]16 September 1963Area- Total 329,847 km2(67th)127,355 sq mi- Water (%) 0.3Population- 2010 census 28,334,135(42nd)- Density 86/km2(114th)216.45/sq miGDP (PPP) 2012 estimate- Total $491.967 billion- Per capita $16,942GDP (nominal) 2012 estimate- Total $307.178 billion- Per capita $10,578
Gini (2002) 46.1high · 36thHDI (2013) 0.769high · 64thCurrency Ringgit (RM) (MYR)Time zone MST (UTC+8)- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+8)Date format dd-mm-yyyyDrives on the leftCalling code +60ISO 3166 code MYInternet TLD .mya.^ Kuala Lumpur is the capital city and is home to the legislative branch of theFederal government. Putrajayais the primary seat of the federal governmentwhere the executive and judicial branches are located.b.^ The terminology as per government policy is Bahasa Malaysia (literally"Malaysian language")but legislation continues to refer to the officiallanguage as Bahasa Melayu (literally "Malay language").c.^ Under the National Language Act 1967, "The script of the national languageshall be the Rumi [Latin] script: provided that this shall not prohibit the use ofthe Malay script, more commonly known as the Jawi script, of the nationallanguage."d.^ Under the National Language Act 1967, English may be used for somepurposes.e.^ Before the accession, Sabah was referred to as North Borneo.f.^ Singapore became an independent country on 9 August 1965.Malaysia ( i/məˈleɪ ʒ ə/ mə-LAY-zhə or i/məˈleɪ siə/ mə-LAY-see-ə) is a federalconstitutionalmonarchy in Southeast Asia. It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories and has a totallandmass of 329,847 square kilometres (127,350 sq mi) separated by the South China Sea into twosimilarly sized regions,Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. Land borders are sharedwith Thailand,Indonesia, and Brunei, and maritime borders exist with Singapore, Vietnam, andthePhilippines. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. In2010 the population was 28.33 million, with 22.6 million living on the Peninsula.Malaysia has its origins in the Malay Kingdoms present in the area which, from the 18th century, becamesubject to the British Empire. The first British territories were known as the Straits Settlements, whoseestablishment was followed by the Malay kingdoms becoming British protectorates. The territories on
Peninsular Malaysia were first unified as the Malayan Union in 1946. Malaya was restructured asthe Federation of Malaya in 1948, and achieved independence on 31 August 1957. Malaya unitedwithSabah, Sarawak, and Singapore on 16 September 1963, with si being added to give the new countrythe name Malaysia. Less than two years later in 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation. Sinceindependence, Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with GDP growing an average6.5% for almost 50 years. The economy has traditionally been fuelled by its natural resources, but isexpanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism.The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, which plays a large role in politics. The government system isclosely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on EnglishCommon Law. The constitution declares Islamthe state religion while protecting freedom of religion. Thehead of state is the King, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He is an elected monarch chosen from thehereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The head of government is the Prime Minister.Malaysia contains the southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai. Located in the tropics, it isa megadiverse country, with large numbers of endemicanimals, fungi and plants. It is a founding member ofthe Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the East Asia Summit and the Organisation of IslamicCooperation, and a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, andthe Non-Aligned Movement.Contents[hide]1 Etymology2 History3 Government and politicso 3.1 Foreign relations and military4 Subdivisions5 Geographyo 5.1 Biodiversityo 5.2 Animalso 5.3 Fungio 5.4 Plantso 5.5 Conservation issues6 Economyo 6.1 Infrastructureo 6.2 Science and Technology7 Demographicso 7.1 Religion
o 7.2 Languageo 7.3 Educationo 7.4 Health8 Cultureo 8.1 Fine artso 8.2 Cuisineo 8.3 Mediao 8.4 Holidays and festivalso 8.5 Sports9 See also10 References11 External linksEtymology"Malaysia" used as a label for the Malay Archipelago on a 1914 map from a United States atlasThe word Melayu is thought to derive from the Tamil words Malai and ur meaning "mountain" and "city,land", respectively.The term was later used as the name of the Melayu Kingdom, which existedbetween the 7th and 13th centuries on Sumatra.Malayadvipa was the word used by ancient Indiantraders when referring to the Malay Peninsula.Following his 1826 expedition in Oceania, French navigator Jules Dumont dUrville invented theterms Malaysia, Micronesia andMelanesia, distinguishing these Pacific cultures and island groups from theexisting term Polynesia. In 1831, he proposed these terms to the Société de Géographie. Dumont dUrvilledescribed Malaysia as "an area commonly known as the East Indies".In 1850, the English ethnologistGeorge Samuel Windsor Earl, writing in theJournal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia, proposednaming the islands of Southeast Asia as Melayunesia or Indunesia, favouring the former.In 1957, the Federation of Malaya was declared as an independent federation of the Malay states on theMalay Peninsula.The name "Malaysia" was adopted in 1963 when the existing states of the Federationof Malaya, plus Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak formed a new federation, with "si" being added toMalaya in honour of the three joining states.Prior to that, the name itself had been used to refer to thewhole Malay Archipelago.Politicians in the Philippines contemplated renaming their state "Malaysia"
before the modern country took the name.At the time of federation, other names were considered:among them was Langkasuka, after the historic kingdom located at the upper section of the MalayPeninsula in the 1st millennium CE.HistoryMain article: History of MalaysiaEvidence of modern human habitation in Malaysia dates back 40,000 years.The first inhabitants arethought to be Negritos.Traders and settlers from India and China arrived as early as the 1st century AD,establishing trading ports and coastal towns in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Their presence resulted in strongIndian and Chinese influence on the local cultures, and the people of the Malay Peninsula adopted thereligions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Sanskrit inscriptions appear as early as the 4th or 5th century.TheKingdom of Langkasuka arose around the 2nd century in the northern area of the Malay Peninsula, lastinguntil about the 15th century.Between the 7th and 13th centuries, much of the southern Malay Peninsulawas part of the maritime Srivijaya empire. After the fall of Srivijaya, the Majapahit empire had influence overmost of Peninsular Malaysia and the Malay Archipelago.Islam began to spread among Malays in the14th century.In the early 15th century, Parameswara, a prince of the former Srivijayan empire, foundedthe Malacca Sultanate, commonly considered the first independent state in the peninsula.Malacca wasan important commercial centre during this time, attracting trade from around the region. Parameswarabecame a Muslim, accelerating the spread of Islam.A Famosa fortress in Malacca was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century.In 1511 Malacca was conquered by Portugal,after which it was taken by the Dutch in 1641. In 1786the British Empire established a presence in Malaya, when the Sultan of Kedah leased Penang to theBritish East India Company. The British obtained the town of Singapore in 1819,and in 1824 took controlof Malacca following the Anglo-Dutch Treaty. By 1826 the British directly controlled Penang, Malacca,Singapore, and the island of Labuan, which they established as the crown colony of the StraitsSettlements. By the 20th century, the states of Pahang, Selangor, Perak, and Negeri Sembilan, knowntogether as the Federated Malay States, had British Residents appointed to advise the Malay rulers, towhom the rulers were bound to defer by treaty.The remaining five states in the peninsula, known asthe 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 the19th century. Under British rule the immigration of Chinese and Indians to serve as labourers wasencouraged.Sabah was governed as the crown colony of British North Borneo after it was leased fromthe Sultanate of Sulu in 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 becamea Crown colony.In the Second World War the Japanese army invaded and occupied Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, andSingapore for over three years. During this time, ethnic tensions were raised and nationalismgrew.Popular support for independence increased after Malaya was reconquered by AlliedForces.Post-war British plans to unite the administration of Malaya under a single crown colony calledtheMalayan Union met with strong opposition from the Malays, who opposed the weakening of the Malayrulers and the granting of citizenship to the ethnic Chinese. The Malayan Union, established in 1946 andconsisting of all the British possessions in the Malay Peninsula with the exception of Singapore, wasquickly dissolved and replaced by the Federation of Malaya, which restored the autonomy of the rulers ofthe Malay states under British protection.During this time, mostly Chinese rebels under the leadership ofthe Malayan Communist Party launched guerrilla operations designed to force the British out of Malaya.The Malayan Emergencylasted from 1948 to 1960, and involved a long anti-insurgency campaignby Commonwealth troops in Malaya.After this a plan was put in place to federate Malaya with the Britishcrown colonies of Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore. The proposed date of federation was 31 August 1963,however, the date was delayed until 16 September 1963 due to opposition from Indonesias Sukarno andthe Sarawak United Peoples Party.Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur, where Independence Day is celebrated on 31 August each year.Federation brought heightened tensions including a conflict with Indonesia, Singapores eventual exit in1965,and racial strife. This strife culminated in the 13 May race riots in 1969.After the riots, thecontroversial New Economic Policy was launched by Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, trying to increasethe share of the economy held by thebumiputera.Under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad there was aperiod of rapid economic growth and urbanisation beginning in the 1980s. The economy shifted from beingagriculturally based to one based on manufacturing and industry. Numerous mega-projects werecompleted, 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 financialcrisis almost caused the collapse of the currency and the stock and property markets.Government and politicsMain article: Politics of MalaysiaThe Malaysian Houses of Parliamentis the building where the Malaysian Parliament assembles.Malaysia is a federal constitutional elective monarchy. The system of government is closely modelled onthat of the Westminster parliamentary system, a legacy of British colonial rule.The head of state isthe Yang di-Pertuan Agong, commonly referred to as the king. The King is elected to a five-year term byand from among the nine hereditary rulers of the Malay states; the other four states, which have titularGovernors, do not participate in the selection. By informal agreement the position is systematically rotatedamong the nine,and has been held byAbdul Halim of Kedah since December 2011.The Kings rolehas been largely ceremonial since changes to the constitution in 1994, picking ministers and members ofthe upper house.Legislative power is divided between federal and state legislatures. The bicameralfederalparliament consists of the lower house, the House of Representatives and the upper house,theSenate.The 222-member House of Representatives is elected for a maximum term of five years fromsingle-member constituencies. All 70 senators sit for three-year terms; 26 are elected by the 13 stateassemblies, and the remaining 44 are appointed by the King upon the Prime Ministersrecommendation.The parliament follows a multi-party system and the government is elected througha first-past-the-post system. Since independence Malaysia has been governed by a multi-party coalitionknown as the Barisan Nasional.Each state has a unicameral State Legislative Assembly whose members are elected from single-memberconstituencies. State governments are led by Chief Ministers,who are state assembly members from themajority party in the assembly. In each of the states with a hereditary ruler, the Chief Minister is required tobe a Malay, appointed by the ruler upon the recommendation of the PrimeMinister.Parliamentary elections are held at least once every five years, the most recent of which tookplace in March 2008.Registered voters of age 21 and above may vote for the members of the House ofRepresentatives and, in most of the states, for the state legislative chamber. Voting is not
mandatory.Except for elections in Sarawak, all state elections are held concurrently with the federalelection.Najib Razak, Prime Minister since 2009.Executive power is vested in the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister. The prime minister must be a memberof the house of representatives, who in the opinion of the King, commands a majority in parliament. Thecabinet is chosen from members of both houses of Parliament.The Prime Minister is both the head ofcabinet and the head of government.The incumbent, Najib Razak, appointed in 2009, is the sixth primeminister.Malaysias legal system is based on English Common Law.Although the judiciary is theoreticallyindependent, its independence has been called into question and the appointment of judges lacksaccountability and transparency.The highest court in the judicial system is the Federal Court, followedby 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.Separate from the civilcourts are the Syariah Courts, which apply Shariah law to cases which involve Malaysian Muslimsandrun parallel to the secular court system.The Internal Security Act allows detention without trial, andthe death penalty is in use for crimes such as drug trafficking.Race is a significant force in politics, and many political parties are ethnically based.Actions such asthe New Economic Policyand the National Development Policy which superseded it, were implementedto advance the standing of the bumiputera, consisting of Malays and the indigenous tribes who areconsidered the original inhabitants of Malaysia, over non-bumiputera such as Malaysian Chinese andMalaysian Indians.These policies provide preferential treatment to bumiputera in employment,education, scholarships, business, and access to cheaper housing and assisted savings. However, it hasgenerated greater interethnic resentment.There is ongoing debate over whether the laws and society ofMalaysia should reflect secular or Islamic principles.Islamic laws passed by the Pan-Malaysian IslamicParty in state legislative assemblies have been blocked by the federal government.Foreign relations and militaryMain articles: Foreign relations of Malaysia and Malaysian Armed Forces
The RMAF MiG-29N/UB & AermacchiMB-339A founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)and theOrganisation ofIslamic Cooperation (OIC),the country participates in many international organisations such asthe United Nations,the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation,theDeveloping 8 Countries,andthe Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).It has chaired ASEAN, the OIC, and the NAM in the past.A formerBritish colony, it is also a member of theCommonwealth of Nations.Kuala Lumpur was the site of thefirst East Asia Summit in 2005.Malaysias foreign policy is officially based on the principle of neutrality and maintaining peaceful relationswith all countries, regardless of their political system.The government attaches a high priority to thesecurity and stability of Southeast Asia,and seeks to further develop relations with other countries in theregion. Historically the government has tried to portray Malaysia as a progressive Islamic nationwhilestrengthening relations with other Islamic states.A strong tenet of Malaysias policy is nationalsovereignty and the right of a country to control its domestic affairs.The policy towards territorial disputes by the government is one of pragmatism, with the governmentsolving disputes in a number of ways, such as bringing the case to the International Court ofJustice.The Spratly Islands are disputed by many states in the area, although tensions have easedsince the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. Brunei and Malaysia in 2008announced an end to claims of each others land, and to resolve issues related to their maritime borders.The Philippines has a dormant claim to Sabah. Singapores land reclamation has caused tensions, andmaritime border disputes exist with Indonesia.Royal Malaysian Navys first Scorpène class submarineMalaysia has never recognised Israel and has no diplomatic ties with it.It has remained a strongsupporter of the State of Palestine,and has called for Israel to be taken to theInternational Criminal
Court over the Gaza flotilla raid.Malaysian peacekeeping forces are present in Lebanonand havecontributed to many other UN peacekeeping missions.The Malaysian Armed Forces have three branches, the Royal Malaysian Navy, theMalaysian Army, andthe Royal Malaysian Air Force. There is no conscription, and the required age for voluntary military serviceis 18. The military uses 1.9 per cent of the countrys GDP, and employs 1.23 per cent of Malaysiasmanpower.The Five Power Defence Arrangements is a regional security initiative which has been in place for almost40 years. It involves joint military exercises held among Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, andthe United Kingdom.Joint exercises and war games have been held with Indonesia foryears.Malaysia and the Philippines have agreed to host joint security force exercises in order to securetheir maritime border and tackle issues such as illegal immigration.There are fears that unrest in theMuslim areas of the southern Philippinesand southern Thailandcould spill over into Malaysia.SubdivisionsMain articles: States and federal territories of Malaysia and Districts of MalaysiaPerlisKedahPenangKelantanTerengganuPerakSelangorNegeri SembilanMalaccaJohor
PahangSarawakSabahLabuanKuala LumpurPutrajayaWest MalaysiaEast MalaysiaFederal TerritorySouth China SeaStraitofMalaccaGulf of ThailandSulu SeaCelebes SeaBruneiIndonesiaIndonesiaSingaporeThailandMalaysia 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 federalterritory in East Malaysia. Governance of the states is divided between the federal and the stategovernments, and the Federal government has direct administration of the federal territories.The 13 states are based on historical Malay Kingdoms, and 9 of the 11 Peninsular states, known asthe Malay states, retain their royal families. The King is elected by and from the nine rulers to serve a five-year term.Each state has a unicameral legislature known as the State Legislative Assembly. The statesof East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) have separate immigration policies and controls, and a uniqueresidency status.For citizens of one of these states or Peninsular Malaysia, the other areas of Malaysiaare considered foreign countries under immigration laws.Each state is further divided into districts, whichare then divided into mukim. In Sabah and Sarawak districts are grouped into divisions.The federal parliament is permitted to legislate on issues of land, the Islamic religion and local government,in order to provide for a uniform law among all states. It may also intervene at the request of the stateassembly concerned. Except for some land related laws, the in question must also be passed by the state
assembly. Non-Islamic issues that fall under the purview of the state may also be legislated at the federallevel for the purpose of conforming with Malaysian treaty obligations.GeographyMain article: Geography of MalaysiaA view from Lows peak, the highest peak of Mount KinabaluMalaysia is the 67th largest country by total land area, with a land area of 329,847 square kilometres(127,355 sq mi). It has land borders with Thailand in West Malaysia, andIndonesia and Brunei in EastMalaysia.It is linked to Singapore by a narrow causeway and a bridge. The country also has maritimeboundaries with Vietnamand the Philippines.The land borders are defined in large part by geologicalfeatures such as thePerlis River, the Golok River and the Pagalayan Canal, whilst some of the maritimeboundaries are the subject of ongoing contention.Brunei forms what is almost an enclave inMalaysia,with the state of Sarawak dividing it into two parts. Malaysia is the only country with territory onboth 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 PeninsularMalaysia, is one of the most important thoroughfares in global commerce, carrying 40 per cent of theworlds trade.The two parts of Malaysia, separated from each other by the South China Sea, share a largely similarlandscape in that both Peninsularand East Malaysia feature coastal plains rising to hills andmountains.Peninsular Malaysia, containing 40 per cent of Malaysias land area,extends 740kilometres (460 mi) from north to south, and its maximum width is 322 kilometres (200 mi).It is dividedbetween its east and west coasts by the Titiwangsa Mountains,part of a series of mountain rangesrunning down the centre of the peninsula.These mountains are heavily forested,and mainlycomposed of granite and other igneous rocks. Much of it has been eroded, creatinga karst landscape.The range is the origin of some of Peninsular Malaysias river systems.Thecoastal plains surrounding the peninsula reach a maximum width of 50 kilometres (31 mi), and thepeninsulas coastline is nearly 1,931 kilometres (1,200 mi) long, although harbours are only available on thewestern side.
National Park, PahangEast Malaysia, on the island of Borneo, has a coastline of 2,607 kilometres (1,620 mi).It is dividedbetween coastal regions, hills and valleys, and a mountainous interior.TheCrocker Range extendsnorthwards from Sarawak,dividing the state of Sabah. It is the location of the 4,095.2 metres (13,436 ft)high Mount Kinabalu,the tallest mountain in Malaysia. Mount Kinabalu is protected as the KinabaluNational Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The highest mountain ranges form the border betweenMalaysia and Indonesia. Sarawak contains the Mulu Caves, the largest cave system in the world.Around these two halves of Malaysia are numerous islands, the largest of which isBanggi.The localclimate is equatorial and characterised by the annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (Octoberto February) monsoons.The temperature is moderated by the presence of the surroundingoceans.Humidity is usually high, and the average annual rainfall is 250 centimetres (98 in).Theclimates of the Peninsula and the East differ, as the climate on the peninsula is directly affected by windfrom the mainland, as opposed to the more maritime weather of the East. Local climates can be dividedinto three regions, highland, lowland, and coastal. Climate change is likely to affect sea levels and rainfall,increasing flood risks and leading to droughts.BiodiversityMain article: Wildlife of MalaysiaProboscis monkey in BorneoMalaysia signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity on 12 June 1993, and became a party to theconvention on 24 June 1994.It has subsequently produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and ActionPlan, which was received by the convention on 2 May 1998.The country is megadiverse with a high
number of species and high levels ofendemism.It is estimated to contain 20 per cent of the worldsanimal species.High levels of endemism are found on the diverse forests of Borneos mountains, asspecies are isolated from each other by lowland forest.AnimalsThere are about 210 mammal species in the country.Over 620 species of birds have been recorded inPeninsular Malaysia,with many endemic to the mountains there. A high number of endemic birdspecies are also found in Malaysian Borneo.250 reptile species have been recorded in the country, withabout 150 species of snakesand 80 species of lizards.There are about 150 species of frogs,andthousands of insect species.Malaysias exclusive economic zone is 1.5 times larger than its landarea,and some of its waters are in the Coral Triangle, a biodiversity hotspot.The watersaround Sipadan island are the most biodiverse in the world.Bordering East Malaysia, the Sulu Sea is abiodiversity hotspot, with around 600 coral species and 1200 fish species.FungiNearly 4000 species of fungi, including lichen-forming species have been recorded from Malaysia. Of thetwo fungal groups with the largest number of species in Malaysia, the Ascomycota and their asexual stateshave been surveyed in some habitats (decaying wood, marine and freshwater ecosystems, as parasites ofsome plants, and as agents of biodegradation), but have not been or have been only poorly surveyed inother habitats (as endobionts, in soils, on dung, as human and animal pathogens); the Basidiomycota areonly partly surveyed: bracket fungi, and mushrooms and toadstools have been studied, but Malaysian rustand smut fungi remain very poorly known. Without doubt, many more fungal species occur in Malaysiawhich have not yet been recorded, and it is likely that many of those, when found, will be new toscience.Some species of Rafflesia can grow up to 1 metre (3 ft) in diameter, making them the largest flowers in the world.PlantsAbout two thirds of Malaysia is covered in forest,with some forests believed to be 130 million yearsold.The forests are dominated by dipterocarps.Lowland forest occurs below 760 metres(2,493 ft),and formerly East Malaysia was covered in such rainforest,which is supported by its hotwet climate.There are around 14,500 species of flowering plants and trees.Besides rainforests, thereare over 1,425 square kilometres (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 anestimated 8,500 species of vascular plants in Peninsular Malaysia, with another 15,000 in the East.Theforests of East Malaysia are estimated to be the habitat of around 2,000 tree species, and are one of themost biodiverse areas in the world, with 240 different species of trees every hectare.These forests hostmany members of the Rafflesia genus, the largest flowers in the world,with a maximum diameter of 1metre (3 ft).Conservation issuesLogging, along with cultivation practices has devastated tree cover, causing severe environmentaldegradation in the country. Over 80 per cent of Sarawaks rainforest has been cleared.Floods in EastMalaysia have been worsened by the loss of trees, and over 60 per cent of the Peninsulars forest havebeen cleared.With current rates of deforestation, the forests are predicted to be extinct by2020.Deforestation is a major problem for animals, fungi and plants, as the forest is cut to make roomfor plantations.Most remaining forest is found inside national parks.Habitat destruction has proved athreat for marine life.Illegal fishing is another major threat,with fishing methods such as dynamitefishing and poisoning depleting marine ecosystems.Leatherback turtlenumbers have dropped98 per cent since the 1950s.Hunting has also been an issue for some animals,withoverconsumption and the use of animal parts for profit endangering many animals, from marine lifetotigers.Marine life is also detrimentally affected by uncontrolled tourism.The Malaysian government aims to balance economic growth with environmental protection, but has beenaccused of favouring big business over the environment.Some state governments are now trying tocounter the environmental impact and pollution created by deforestation;and the federal government istrying to cut logging by 10 per cent each year. 28 national parks have been established; 23 in EastMalaysia and five in the Peninsular.Tourism has been limited in biodiverse areas such as Sipadanisland.Animal trafficking is a large issue, and the Malaysian government is holding talks with thegovernments of Brunei and Indonesia to standardise anti-trafficking laws.EconomyMain article: Economy of MalaysiaMalaysia is a relatively open state-oriented and newly industrialised market economy.The stateplays a significant but declining role in guiding economic activity through macroeconomic plans. Malaysiahas had one of the best economic records in Asia, with GDP growing an average 6.5 per cent annuallyfrom 1957 to 2005.In 2011 the GDP (PPP) was about $450 billion, the 3rd largest economy in ASEANand 29th largest in the world.In 1991, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Mohamadoutlined his ideal, Vision 2020 in which Malaysia would become a self-sufficient industrialized nation by2020.Tan Sri Nor Mohamed, a government minister, said Malaysia could attain developed countrystatus in 2018 if the countrys growth remains constant or increases.Viktor Shvets, the managingdirector of Credit Suisse has said ―Malaysia has all the right ingredients to become a developed nation."
The Petronas Towers house the headquarters of the national oil companyPetronas and are the tallest twin-towers in theworld.A Proton car. Malaysia is the only country in South East Asia which manufactures indigenously designed automobiles.In the 1970s, the predominantly mining and agricultural-based economy began a transition towards a moremulti-sector economy. Since the 1980s the industrial sector has led Malaysias growth.High levels ofinvestment played a significant role in this.The economy recovered from the 1997 Asian FinancialCrisis sooner than neighbouring countries, and has since recovered to the levels of the pre-crisis era with aGDP per capita of $14,800.Inequalities exist between different ethnic groups. The Chinese make upabout one-third of the population but accounts for 70 per cent of the countrys market capitalisation.International trade, facilitated by the adjacent Strait of Malacca shipping route, and manufacturing are keysectors of the countrys economy.Malaysia is an exporter of natural and agricultural resources,the most valuable exported resource being petroleum.At one time, it was the largest producerof tin,rubber and palm oil in the world. Manufacturing has a large influence in the countryseconomy,although Malaysia’s economic structure has been moving away from it.Malaysia remainsone of the worlds largest producers of palm oil.
In an effort to diversify the economy and make it less dependent on exported goods, the government haspushed to increase tourism to Malaysia. As a result, tourism has become Malaysia’s third largest source ofincome from foreign exchange, although it is threatened by the negative effects of the growing industrialeconomy, with large amounts of air and water pollution along with deforestation affecting tourism.Thecountry has developed into a centre of Islamic banking, and is the country with the highest numbers offemale workers in that industry.Knowledge-based services are also expanding.InfrastructureSee also: Transport in Malaysia and Energy policy of MalaysiaThe North-South ExpresswayThe infrastructure of Malaysia is one of the most developed in Asia.Its telecommunications network issecond only to Singapores in Southeast Asia, with 4.7 million fixed-line subscribers and more than30 million cellular subscribers.The country has seven international ports, the major one beingthe Port Klang. There are 200 industrial parks along with specialised parks such as Technology ParkMalaysia and Kulim Hi-Tech Park.Fresh water is available to over 95 per cent of the population. Duringthe colonial period, development was mainly concentrated in economically powerful cities and in areasforming security concerns. Although rural areas have been the focus of great development, they still lagbehind areas such as the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.The telecommunication network, althoughstrong in urban areas, is less available to the rural population.Malaysias road network covers 98,721 kilometres (61,342 mi) and includes 1,821 kilometres (1,132 mi) ofexpressways.The longest highway of the country, the North-South Expressway, extends over 800kilometres (497 mi) between the Thai border and Singapore. The road systems in East Malaysia are lessdeveloped and of lower quality in comparison to that ofPeninsular Malaysia.Malaysia has 118 airports,of which 38 are paved. The countrys official airline is Malaysia Airlines, providing international anddomestic air service alongside two other carriers. The railway system is state-run, and covers a total of1,849 kilometres (1,149 mi).Relatively inexpensive elevated Light Rail Transit systems are used in somecities, such as Kuala Lumpur.The Asean Rail Express is a railway service that connects Kuala Lumpurto Bangkok, and is intended to eventually stretch from Singapore to China.Traditionally, energy production in Malaysia has been based on oil and natural gas.The country has 13GW of electrical generation capacity.However, the country only has 33 years of natural gas reserves,and 19 years of oil reserves, while the demand for energy is increasing. In response, the government isexpanding into renewable energy sources.Sixteen per cent of electricity generation is hydroelectric, the
remaining 84 per cent being thermal.The oil and gas industry is dominated by stateowned Petronas,and the energy sector as a whole is regulated by the Energy Commission of Malaysia,a statutory commission that governs the energy in the peninsula and Sabah, under the terms of theElectricity Commission Act of 2001.Science and TechnologyScience policies in Malaysia are regulated by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation. Thecountry is one of the worlds largest exporters of semiconductor devices, electrical goods, and informationand communication technology products.Malaysia began developing its own space programme in2002,and in 2006 Russia agreed to transport one Malaysian to the International Space Station aspart of a multi-billion dollar purchase of 18 Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighter jets by the Royal MalaysianAir Force.In an effort to create a self-reliant defensive ability and support national development,Malaysia privatised some of its military facilities in the 1970s. This has created a defence industry, which in1999 was brought under the Malaysia Defence Industry Council. The government continues to promote thissector and its competitiveness, actively marketing the defence industry.DemographicsMain article: Demographics of MalaysiaAs of the 2010 census, the population of Malaysia was 28,334,135,making it the 42nd most populatedcountry. The population of Malaysia consists of many ethnic groups. Malays make up 50.4 per cent of thepopulation, while other bumiputera make up another 11 per cent.According to constitutional definition,Malays are Muslims who practice Malay customs and culture. They play a dominant rolepolitically. Bumiputera status is also accorded to certain non-Malay indigenous peoples, includingethnic Thais, Khmers, Chamsand the natives of Sabah and Sarawak. Non-Malay bumiputera make upmore than half of Sarawaks population and over two thirds of Sabahs population.There alsoexist aboriginal groups in much smaller numbers on the peninsula, where they are collectively known asthe Orang Asli.Laws over who gets bumiputera status vary between states.Population density (person per Km2)Other minorities who lack bumiputera status make up a large amount of the population. 23.7 per cent of thepopulation are of Chinese descent, while those of Indian descent comprise 7.1 per cent of thepopulation.The Chinese have historically been dominant in the business and commerce community, and
form a plurality of the population of Penang. Indians began migrating to Malaysia in the early 19thcentury.The majority of the Indian community areTamils.Malaysian citizenship is not automatically granted to those born in Malaysia, but is granted to a child bornof two Malaysian parents outside Malaysia. Dual citizenship is not permitted.Citizenship in the statesof Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo are distinct from citizenship in Peninsular Malaysia forimmigration purposes. Every citizen is issued a biometric smart chip identity cardknown as MyKad at theage of 12, and must carry the card at all times.The education system features a non-compulsory kindergarten education followed by six years ofcompulsory primary education, and five years of optional secondary education.Schools in the primaryeducation system are divided into two categories: national primary schools, which teach in Malay, andvernacular 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 Educationexamination.Since the introduction of the matriculation programme in 1999, students who completedthe 12-month programme in matriculation colleges can enroll in local universities. However, in thematriculation 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 75years.With the aim of developing Malaysia into a medical tourism destination, 5 per cent of thegovernment social sector development budget is spent onhealth care.The population in concentratedon Peninsular Malaysiawhere 20 million of approximately 28 million Malaysians live.70 per cent of thepopulation is urban.Kuala Lumpur is the capitaland the largest city in Malaysia,as well as its maincommercial and financial centre.Putrajaya, a purpose-built city constructed from 1999, is the seat ofgovernment,as many executive and judicial branches of the federal government were moved there toease growing congestion within Kuala Lumpur.Due to the rise in labour intensive industries,the country is estimated to have over 3 million migrantworkers; about 10 per cent of the population.Sabah-based NGOs estimate that out of the 3 million thatmake up the population of Sabah, 2 million are illegal immigrants.Malaysia hosts a population ofrefugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 171,500. Of this population, approximately 79,000are from Burma, 72,400 from the Philippines, and 17,700 from Indonesia. Malaysian officials are reportedto have turned deportees directly over to human smugglers in 2007, and Malaysia employs RELA, avolunteer militia with a history of controversies, to enforce its immigration law.VTE
Largest cities or towns of MalaysiaSource?Rank City name State Pop. Rank City name StateKuala LumpurJohor Bahru1 Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory 5 700 00011 Seremban Negeri Sembilan2 Johor Bahru Johor 1 730 000 12 Malacca City Malacca3 Georgetown Penang 1 611 60013 Kota Bharu Kelantan4 Kajang Selangor 795 522 14 Kuantan Pahang5 Ipoh Perak 767 794 15 Sungai Petani Kedah6 Klang Selangor 744 062 16 Batu Pahat Johor7 Subang Jaya Selangor 708 296 17 Tawau Sabah8 Kota Kinabalu Sabah 629 943 18 Sandakan Sabah9 Kuching Sarawak 617 887 19 Alor Setar Kedah10 Petaling Jaya Selangor 613 977 20 Kuala Terengganu TerengganuReligionMain article: Religion in MalaysiaKampung Laut Mosque in Kota Bharu is one of the oldest mosques in Malaysia, dating to early 18th century.The Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of religion while making Islam the statereligion.According to the Population and Housing Census 2010 figures, ethnicity and religious beliefscorrelate highly. Approximately 61.3% of the population practice Islam, 19.8% practice Buddhism,9.2% Christianity, 6.3% Hinduism and 1.3% practiceConfucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinesereligions. 0.7% declared no religion and the remaining 1.4% practised other religions or did not provide anyinformation.All ethnic Malays are considered Muslim by law of the Constitution.Statistics from the 2010 Censusindicate that 83.6% of the Chinese population identify as Buddhist, with significant numbers of adherentsfollowing Taoism (3.4%) and Christianity (11.1%), along with small Hui-Muslim populations in areas likePenang. The majority of the Indian population follow Hinduism (86.2%), with a significant minorityidentifying as Christians (6.0%) or Muslims (4.1%). Christianity is the predominant religion of the non-Malaybumiputera 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. TheIslamic judges are expected to follow the Shafi`i legal school of Islam, which is the main madhhab ofMalaysia.The jurisdiction of Shariah courts is limited to Muslims in matters suchas marriage, inheritance, divorce, apostasy, religious conversion, and custody among others. No othercriminal or civil offences are under the jurisdiction of the Shariah courts, which have a similar hierarchy tothe Civil Courts. Despite being the supreme courts of the land, the Civil Courts do not hear matters relatedto Islamic practices.LanguageMain article: Languages of MalaysiaThe official language of Malaysia is Malaysian,a standardised form of the Malay language.HistoricallyEnglish was the de facto administrative language, with Malay becoming predominant after the 1969 raceriots.English remains an active second language, and serves as the medium of instruction for mathsand sciences in all public schools.Malaysian English, also known as Malaysian Standard English, isa form of English derived from British English. Malaysian English is widely used in business, alongwithManglish, which is a colloquial form of English with heavy Malay, Chinese, and Tamil influences. Thegovernment discourages the use of non-standard Malay and has instituted fines for public signs that mixMalay and English.Many other languages are used in Malaysia, which contains speakers of 137 livinglanguages.Peninsular Malaysia contains speakers of 41 of these languages.The native tribes ofEast Malaysia have their own languages which are related to, but easily distinguishable from,Malay. Iban is the main tribal language in Sarawak while Dusunic languages are spoken by the nativesinSabah.Chinese Malaysians predominately speak Chinese dialects from the southern provinces ofChina. The more common dialects 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 southAsian languages are also widely spoken in Malaysia, as well as ThaiA small number of Malaysianshave Caucasian ancestry and speak creole languages, such as the Portuguese based MalaccanCreoles,and the Spanish based Chavacano language.EducationSee also: Education in MalaysiaHealthSee also: Healthcare in MalaysiaCultureMain article: Culture of Malaysia
A cook making murtabak, a type of pancake mixed with eggs, small pieces of meat and onions, in Kuala Lumpur.Char Kuey Teow made by frying flat noodles with fish cakes, cockles and bean sprouts is a popular dish in Malaysia.Malaysia has a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual society. The original culture of the area stemmedfrom indigenous tribes that inhabited it, along with the Malays who later moved there. Substantial influenceexists from Chinese and Indian culture, dating back to when foreign trade began. Other cultural influencesinclude the Persian, Arabic, and British cultures. Due to the structure of the government, coupled withthe social contract theory, there has been minimalcultural assimilation of ethnic minorities.In 1971, the government created a "National Cultural Policy", defining Malaysian culture. It stated thatMalaysian culture must be based on the culture of the indigenous peoples of Malaysia, that it mayincorporate suitable elements from other cultures, and that Islam must play a part in it.It also promotedthe Malay language above others.This government intervention into culture has caused resentmentamong non-Malays who feel their cultural freedom was lessened. Both Chinese and Indian associationshave submitted memorandums to the government, accusing it of formulating an undemocratic culturepolicy.Some cultural disputes exist between Malaysia and neighbouring countries, notably Indonesia. The twocountries have a similar cultural heritage, sharing many traditions and items. However, disputes havearisen over things ranging from culinary dishes to Malaysias national anthem. Strong feelings exist in
Indonesia about protecting their national heritage.The Malaysian government and the Indonesiangovernment have met to defuse some of the tensions resulting from the overlaps in culture.Feelings arenot as strong in Malaysia, where most recognise that many cultural values are shared.Fine artsSee also: Music of Malaysia and Malaysian literatureTraditional Malaysian art was mainly centred around the areas of carving, weaving, andsilversmithing.Traditional art ranges from handwoven baskets from rural areas to the silverwork of theMalay courts. Common artworks included ornamental kris, beetle nut sets, andwoven batik and songket fabrics. Indigenous East Malaysians are known for their wooden masks.Eachethnic group have distinct performing arts, with little overlap between them. However, Malay art does showsome North Indian influence due to the historical influence of India.Malaysian batik is usually patterned with floral motifs with light colouring.Traditional Malay music and performing arts appear to have originated in the Kelantan-Pattani region withinfluences from India, China, Thailand and Indonesia. The music is based around percussioninstruments,the most important of which is the gendang (drum). There are at least 14 types oftraditional drums.Drums and other traditional percussion instruments and are often made from naturalmaterials.Music is traditionally used for storytelling, celebrating life-cycle events, and occasions such asa harvest.It was once used as a form of long-distance communication.In East Malaysia, gong-basedmusical ensembles such as agung andkulintang are commonly used in ceremonies such as funerals andweddings.These ensembles are also common in neighbouring regions such as in the southernPhilippines,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 andby the stories that came with Islam.The first Malay literature was in the Arabic script. The earliestknown Malay writing is on the Terengganu stone, made in 1303.Chinese and Indian literature becamecommon as the numbers of speakers increased in Malaysia, and locally produced works based inlanguages from those areas began to be produced in the 19th century.English has also become acommon 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 inother 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 ispopular, and the pantun has spread from Malay to other languages.CuisineMain article: Malaysian cuisine(clockwise from bottom left): beef soup, nasi impit (compressed rice cubes), beef rendang and sayur lodehMalaysias cuisine reflects the multi-ethnic makeup of its population.Many cultures from within thecountry and from surrounding regions have greatly influenced the cuisine. Much of the influence comesfrom the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Javanese, and Sumatran cultures,largely due to the country beingpart of the ancient spice route.The cuisine is very similar to that of Singapore and Brunei,and alsobears resemblance to Filipino cuisine.The different states have varied dishes,and often the food inMalaysia is different from the original dishes.Sometimes food not found in its original culture is assimilated into another; for example, Chineserestaurants in Malaysia often serve Malay dishes.Food from one culture is sometimes also cookedusing styles taken from another culture,This means that although much of Malaysian food can betraced back to a certain culture, they have their own identity.Rice is popular in many dishes. Chili iscommonly found in local cuisine, although this does not necessarily make them spicy.MediaMain article: Media of MalaysiaMalaysias main newspapers are owned by the government and political parties in the rulingcoalition,although some major opposition parties also have their own.A divide exists between themedia 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 forincreasing tension between Indonesia and Malaysia, and giving Malaysians a bad image ofIndonesians.The country has Malay, English, Chinese, and Tamil dailies.There is very little freedom of the press, leading to very little government accountability.Thegovernment has previously tried to crack down on opposition papers before elections.In 2007, agovernment 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 theoppositionDemocratic Action Party.Sabah, where all tabloids but one are independent of governmentcontrol, has the freest press in Malaysia.Laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act havealso been cited as curtailing freedom of expression.Holidays and festivalsMain article: Public holidays in MalaysiaSoutheast Asias largest temple—Kek Lok Si in Penang—illuminated in preparation for the Lunar New YearMalaysians observe a number of holidays and festivities throughout the year. Some are federallygazetted public holidays and some are observed by individual states. Other festivals are observed byparticular ethnic or religion groups, and the main holiday of each major group has been declared a publicholiday. The most observed national holiday is Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) on 31 August,commemorating the independence of theFederation of Malaya in 1957.Malaysia Day on 16 Septembercommemorates federation in 1963.Other notable national holidays are Labour Day (1 May) and theKings birthday (first week of June).Muslim holidays are prominent as Islam is the state religion; Hari Raya Puasa (also calledHari RayaAidilfitri, Malay for Eid al-Fitr), Hari Raya Haji (also called Hari Raya Aidiladha, the translation of Eid ul-Adha), Maulidur Rasul (birthday of the Prophet), and others being observed.MalaysianChinese 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 whichsees pilgrims from all over the country converge at the Batu Caves.Malaysias Christian communitycelebrates most of the holidays observed by Christians elsewhere, most notably Christmas and Easter.East Malaysians also celebrate a harvest festival known as Gawai.Despite most festivals beingidentified with a particular ethnic or religious group, celebrations are universal. In a custom known as "openhouse" Malaysians participate in the celebrations of others, often visiting the houses of those who identifywith the festival.SportsMain article: Sport in Malaysia
Malaysia Formula One track, the Sepang International Circuit.Popular sports in Malaysia include soccer, badminton, field hockey, bowls, tennis, squash,martialarts, horse riding, sailing, and skate boarding.Badminton matches attract thousands of spectators, andsince 1948 Malaysia has been one of three countries to hold the Thomas Cup.The Malaysian LawnBowls Federation was registered in 1997.Squash was brought to the country by members of the Britisharmy, with the first competition being held in 1939. The Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia wascreated on 25 June 1972.Malaysia has proposed a Southeast Asian football league.Themens national field hockey team ranked 15th in the world as of August 2010.The 3rdHockey WorldCup was hosted at Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the 10th cup.The country also has itsown Formula One track–the Sepang International Circuit. It runs for 310.408 kilometres (192.88 mi), andheld its first Grand Prix in 1999.The Federation of Malaya Olympic Council was formed in 1953, and received recognition by the IOC in1954. It first participated in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. The council was renamed the OlympicCouncil of Malaysiain 1964, and has participated in all but one Olympic games since its inception. Thelargest number of athletes ever sent to the Olympics was 57 to the 1972 Munich OlympicGames.Malaysian athletes have won a total of four Olympic medals, all of which are inbadminton.The country has competed at the Commonwealth Games since 1950 as Malaya, and 1966as Malaysia, and the games were hosted in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.Two styles of martial arts arebeing practiced in Malaysia; Silat and Malaysian kickboxing, called Tomoi.See alsoMalaysia portalBook: MalaysiaOutline of MalaysiaIndex of Malaysia-related articlesEnvironment of MalaysiaInternational rankings of MalaysiaReferences
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