IntroductionMalaysia has a rich history dating back tothe 13th century. It was a busy seaport forEuropean and Far East traders for manyhundreds of years.
Malaya (Malacca 1400 - 1511)• Malacca was founded in the 13th century by a Sumatran prince. It became the most influential port city in Southeast Asia.• The early Arab traders brought Islam to Malacca. The local chiefs became the “sultans” whose main purpose was to facilitate trade.
Colonial Malaya (1511 - 1957)• In 1511, Portuguese sailed into Malacca.• ln 1641, the Dutch captured the city.• In 1819, the British replaced the Dutch.• The Britishers lasted 138 years until independence in 1957.
Independence in 1957• The British granted independence to Malaya in 1957 in Kuala Lumpurs Merdeka Square.• Tunku Abdul Rahman became the first prime minister of Malaya. It has a secular and democratic government.
Present Day• Malaysia has undergone tremendous growth and prosperity since 1957.• Today, Malaysia has one of the best airports, highways and telecommunication systems in Asia.
Present Day•The literacy rate is above90%.•With a highly educatedworkforce and moderninfrastructure, it attracts largeforeign investments.
Geography• The country is made up of two regions, Peninsula Malaysia and East Malaysia Peninsula Malaysia across the South China Sea.• The Peninsula Malaysia is divided into the East Malaysia (Borneo) east coast and the west coast‘.• A series of mountain ranges run through both Sabah and Sarawak. The Crocker Range in Sabah is the site of Mt Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia.
ClimateMalaysia is generally warm throughout theyear with temperatures ranging from 21°to 32° C in the lowlands. This can howeverbe as low as 16° C in the hills andhighlands.
Seasons• Malaysia has two seasons. The dry season and the rainy season.• Rainfall is heavy at 2,500mm. Thunder and lightning often accompany the heavy downpour. The humidity level is high at 80% throughout the year.
Arts and Culture• Many traditional arts, culture and handicrafts are there, which are performed during religious festivals.• Communities get together to celebrate public events like the Chingay in Penang and Merdeka Day.
Arts and Culture• The harvest season is celebrated with the giant kites, top spinning and traditional puppet shows.
Arts and Culture• Joget – Traditional barn- dance• Wayang Kulit – Puppet Show• Giant Kite – The Wau• Top Spinning – Gasing• Rattan Football – Sepak Tekraw• Martial Art – Silat
People & Culture• Malaysia has a combined population of over 26 million people.• The multi-cultural and multi-racial population consists of Malays, Chinese, Indians and numerous natives.
People & Culture• Malay is the official language but English is widely spoken, especially in business.• Official religion is Islam but it is common to see temples and churches located in close proximity.
People & Culture• Ethnic Groups: 59% Malay and other indigenous, 32% Chinese and 9% Indian.• Languages: Malay, English, Chinese, Tamil and other tribal languages.• Religion: Muslim (primarily Malays), Buddhism (Chinese), Hindu (Indian), Christianity.
Local Customs• Muslim ladies greet with a nod of her head and smile.• Greeting of "salam" resembles a handshake whereby the man offers both hands, lightly touches the visitor’s outstretched hands, and then brings his hands to his chest to mean, “I greet you from my heart".
Local Customs• Greeting, by hugging and kissing, is not generally practiced in Malaysia.• Shoes must be removed when entering a Mosque or an Indian temple and Malaysian homes.• Pointing is normally done using the thumb as using the forefinger is considered rude.
Festivals• Many Malaysian festivals are celebrated based on the religious calendar of the multi- cultural and multi-racial society.• It also means house decoration, new clothes, visiting friends, relatives and enjoying the public holiday.
Festivals• Hari Raya – End of Ramadan• Chinese New Year – Lunar Calendar (Feb)• Deepavali – Indian festival• Wesak Day – Buddha’s birthday• Mooncake Festival (Sept)• Christmas Day (Dec)• Merdeka Day – Independence
Events• International Kite Festival – Rice harvesting (May)• Le Tour De’Langkawi – Bicycle Race (Feb)• Sarawak Regatta – Sailing competition• Mt Kinabalu International Climbathon (Oct)
Events• Rainforest World Music Fest (July)• Colours of Malaysia (May-June)• Labuan Sea Challenge (May)• Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (December)• Formula 1 Grand prix (March)
Local Cuisines• The unique cooking styles and flavors of the Malays, Chinese and Indians cuisine are enjoyed. Dinning out is inexpensive, and the choice of food is massive.• The fusion of races, cultures and religion has provided the interesting cuisines.
Local Cuisines• Satays - Skewers of marinated beef or chicken grilled over a slow charcoal fire. The dipping sauce is made from a spicy mix and crushed peanut.• Nasi Lemak - Rice steamed with coconut milk and served with curry chicken or beef, fried anchovies and sambal.
Local Cuisines• Hainan Chicken Rice - Steamed fragrant rice together with chicken stock.• Wantan Mee - Egg noodle and soya sauce served with barbeque pork, prawns and dumplings.• Roti Canai -Layered pan cake made with flour and water cooked on a very hot iron plate.
Local Cuisines• Nasi Briyani - Rice steamed with goat butter, spices and nuts. The cooked rice is served with meat or vegetable curries.• Mee Siam - Rice noodle with fresh tamarind juice and soya sauce. Sliced chicken, prawns and fried eggs are normally served with the noodles.
Local FruitsMalaysia has a hugevariety of tropical fruits.Some are seasonal butmost are availablethroughout the year.
Local Fruits• Durians - The locals call this the king of fruits. The creamy yellowish flesh which tastes bitter-sweet is covered by a hard thorny pod with a strong pungent smell.• Rambutan - A red coloured fruit with a ‘hairy’ soft shell. The flesh is white and sweet. A local favourite and available twice a year.
Local Fruits• Langsat – A white, large berry-like fruit with a thick golden skin.• Ciku – The flesh has grainy texture and is very sweet.• Mangosteen - Like a cricket ball with a yellow stalk. The thick pulp conceals the white flesh which is sweet and juicy.
Governmental Structure•The nine states have ahereditary Ruler as Head of stateand an elected Chief Minister(Menteri Besar) as politicallyresponsible Head of government.•The rulers of Johor, Kedah,Kelantan, Pahang, Perak,Selangor and Terengganu arecalled Sultans.
Governmental Structure• Negeri Sembilans elective ruler holds the title of Yang di-Pertuan Besar, whereas the Ruler of Perlis is titled Raja.• Former British colonies of Penang and Malacca (both peninsular) and Sabah and Sarawak (both on Borneo) each have a federally appointed Governor (Yang di- Pertua Negeri) and a Chief Minister.
Economy• An upper middle-income country with GNI per capita reaching 3,780.• Modestly populated and endowed with abundant natural resources. Largest producer of rubber, palm oil and tin, recently started extracting its reserves of oil and timber.
Economy• A moderate growth was marked in the year 2005 and 2006. The real growth was increased by 7.1% in 2004 from a relatively lower rate of 5.3% in 2003.• In the year 2004 GNI was at $ 117.1 billion. GNI percapita was at $ 4650.0.
Petronas Twin Towers• The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, were the worlds tallest twin buildings from 1998 to 2004.
Palace of Golden Horses• Located on the shores of a magnificent 150- acre lake, in The Mines Resort City.• Asias most extraordinary hotel, voted Best New City Hotel in Asia-Pacific.
Redang Island• Redang Island in Terengganu is one of the finest coral and marine ecosystems in Malaysia.• Massive coral formation, white sand and good visibility make it a great family holiday and diving site.
The BeachesIt is paradise with sun-drenched beaches,enchanting islands, diverse flora and fauna andmagnificent mountains.
Sports• Golf is growing in popularity. Excellent courses are being built.• The F1 Grand Prix is raced in Sepang each year; attracts huge number of visitors from overseas.