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Countries > Malaysia Malaysia Flag
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Languages   5 languages are spoken in Malaysia. We have 821 products available for 4 of those languages.


Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Population: 20,400,000
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Malaysia Map

Geography

Location: Southeastern Asia, peninsula and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam

Geographic coordinates: 2 30 N, 112 30 E

Map references: Southeast Asia

Area:
total: 329,750 sq km
land : 328,550 sq km
water: 1,200 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries:
total: 2,669 km
border countries: Brunei 381 km, Indonesia 1,782 km, Thailand 506 km

Coastline: 4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km)

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation; specified boundary in the South China Sea
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons

Terrain: coastal plains rising to hills and mountains

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Kinabalu 4,100 m

Natural resources: tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite

Land use:
arable land: 3%
permanent crops: 12%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 68%
other : 17% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 3,400 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: flooding, landslides

Environment - current issues: air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Desertification

Geography - note: strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea

People

Population: 22,662,365 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 34.1% (male 3,974,532; female 3,753,407)
15-64 years: 61.6% (male 6,995,451; female 6,969,435)
65 years and over: 4.3% (male 424,776; female 544,764) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.91% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 24.22 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 5.16 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth : 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over:0.78 male(s)/female
total population : 1.01 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 19.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population : 71.39 years
male: 68.75 years
female: 74.21 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.18 children born/woman (2002 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Malaysian(s)
adjective: Malaysian

Ethnic groups: Malay and other indigenous 58%, Chinese 24%, Indian 8%, others 10% (2000)

Religions: Muslim, Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, Christian, Sikh; note - in addition, Shamanism is practiced in East Malaysia

Languages: Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai; note - in addition, in East Malaysia several indigenous languages are spoken, the largest of which are Iban and Kadazan

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.5%
male: 89.1%
female : 78.1% (1995 est.)

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Malaysia
former : Malayan Union

Data code: MY

Government type: constitutional monarchy
note:Malaya (what is now Peninsular Malaysia) formed 31 August 1957; Federation of Malaysia (Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore) formed 9 July 1963 (Singapore left the federation on 9 August 1965); nominally headed by the paramount ruler and a bicameral Parliament consisting of a nonelected upper house and an elected lower house; Peninsular Malaysian states - hereditary rulers in all but Melaka, Penang, Sabah, and Sarawak, where governors are appointed by the Malaysian Government; powers of state governments are limited by the federal constitution; under terms of the federation, Sabah and Sarawak retain certain constitutional prerogatives (e.g., the right to maintain their own immigration controls); Sabah - holds 20 seats in House of Representatives, with foreign affairs, defense, internal security, and other powers delegated to federal government; Sarawak - holds 28 seats in House of Representatives, with foreign affairs, defense, internal security, and other powers delegated to federal government

National capital: Kuala Lumpur

Administrative divisions: 13 states (negeri-negeri, singular - negeri) and 2 federal territories* (wilayah-wilayah persekutuan, singular - wilayah persekutuan); Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Labuan*, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu, Wilayah Persekutuan* note: the city of Kuala Lumpur is located within the federal territory of Wilayah Persekutuan; the terms therefore are not interchangeable; there is a new federal territory named Putrajaya, but this change has not yet been approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

Independence: 31 August 1957 (from UK)

National holiday: National Day, 31 August (1957)

Constitution: 31 August 1957, amended 16 September 1963

Legal system: based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court at request of supreme head of the federation; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Tuanku SYED SIRAJUDDIN ibni Almarhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail, the Raja of Perlis (since 12 December 2001); replaced Paramount Ruler Sultan TUNKU SALAHUDDIN Abdul Aziz Shah Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Hissammuddin Alam Shah who died in office 21 November 2001
head of government : Prime Minister MAHATHIR bin Mohamad (since 16 July 1981); Deputy Prime Minister ABDULLAH bin Ahmad Badawi (since 8 January 1999)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among the members of Parliament with consent of the paramount ruler
elections: paramount ruler elected by and from the hereditary rulers of nine of the states for five-year terms; election last held 12 December 2001 (next to be held NA 2006); prime minister designated from among the members of the House of Representatives; following legislative elections, the leader of the party that wins a plurality of seats in the House of Representatives becomes prime minister
election results: Tuanku SYED SIRAJUDDIN ibni Almarhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail elected paramount ruler following the death of TUNKU SALAHUDDIN Abdul Aziz Shah Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Hisammuddin Alam Shah

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Parlimen consists of the Senate or Dewan Negara (69 seats; 43 appointed by the paramount ruler, 26 appointed by the state legislatures) and the House of Representatives or Dewan Rakyat (193 seats; members elected by popular vote weighted toward the rural Malay population to serve five-year terms)
elections : House of Representatives - last held 29 November 1999 (next must be held by 20 December 2004)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NF 56%, other 44%; seats by party - NF 148, PAS 27, DAP 10, NJP 5, PBS 3

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges appointed by the paramount ruler

Political parties and leaders: Alternative Coalition or Barisan Alternatif-BA (includes the following parties: Party Islam Se-Malaysia or PAS [FADZIL Mohamad Noor], National Justice Party or NJP [WAN AZIZAH Wan Ismail], and Malaysian People's Party or PRM [SYED HUSIN]); National Front or NF (ruling coalition dominated by the United Malays National Organization or UMNO [MAHATHIR bin Mohamad], includes the following parties: Malaysian Indian Congress or MIC [S. Samy VELLU], Malaysian Chinese Association or MCA [LING Liong Sik], Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia or Gerakan [LIM Keng Yaik], Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu or PBB [Patinggi Haji Abdul TAIB Mahmud], Parti Angkatan Keadilan Rakyat Bersatu or Akar [PANDIKAR Amin Mulia], Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak or PBDS [Leo MOGGIE], Parti Bersatu Sabah or PBS [Joseph PAIRIN Kitingan], Sabah United People's Party or SUPP [Jeffrey KITINGAN], Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [CHONG Kah Kiat], Sabah Progressive Party or SAPP [YONG Teck Lee], People's Progressive Party or PPP [M. KAYVEAS], Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah or PBRS [Joseph KURUP], Sarawak National Party or SNAP [Amar James WONG], Parti Demokratik Sabah or PDS [leader NA], and United Pasok Momogun Kadazan Organization or UPKO (state level only) [Bernard DOMPOK]); Parti Bersekutu [HARRIS Salleh]; State Reform Party of Sarawak or STAR [PATAU Rubis]; Democratic Action Party or DAP [LIM Kit Siang]

International organization participation: APEC, AsDB, ASEAN, C, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-15, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, Mekong Group, MINURSO, NAM, OIC, UN, UNAVEM III, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNOMIL, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador GHAZZALI bin Sheikh Abdul Khalid
chancery: 2401 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-2700
FAX : [1] (202) 483-7661
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission : Ambassador Marie T. HUHTALA
embassy: 376 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur
mailing address: P. O. Box No. 10035, 50700 Kuala Lumpur or American Embassy Kuala Lumpur, APO AP 96535-8152
telephone: [60] (3) 248-9011
FAX : [60] (3) 242-2207

Flag description: 14 equal horizontal stripes of red (top) alternating with white (bottom); there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a yellow crescent and a yellow fourteen-pointed star; the crescent and the star are traditional symbols of Islam; the design was based on the flag of the US

Economy

Economy - overview: Malaysia, a middle income country, transformed itself from 1971 through the late 1990s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy. Growth is almost exclusively driven by exports - particularly of electronics - and, as a result Malaysia was hard hit by the global economic downturn and the slump in the Information Technology (IT) sector in 2001. GDP in 2001 grew only 0.3% due to an estimated 11% contraction in exports, but a substantial fiscal stimulus package has mitigated the worst of the recession and the economy is expected to grow by 2% to 3% in 2002 as the world economy rebounds. Kuala Lumpur's healthy foreign exchange reserves and relatively small external debt make it unlikely that Malaysia will experience a crisis similar to the crisis of 1997, but the economy remains vulnerable to a more protracted downturn in the US and Japan, top export destinations and key sources of foreign investment.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $200 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 0.3% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $9,000 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 40%
services: 48% (2001)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 1.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total: 9.9 million (2001 est.)
by occupation: local trade and tourism 28%, manufacturing 27%, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries 16%, services 10%, government 10%, construction 9% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate: 3.7% (2001 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $20.3 billion
expenditures: $27.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $9.4 billion (2001 est.)

Industries: Peninsular Malaysia - rubber and oil palm processing and manufacturing, light manufacturing industry, electronics, tin mining and smelting, logging and processing timber; Sabah - logging, petroleum production; Sarawak - agriculture processing, petroleum production and refining, logging

Industrial production growth rate: -4% (2001 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 7.83 million kW (1994)

Electricity - production: 63.069 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 58.59 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: Peninsular Malaysia - natural rubber, palm oil, rice; Sabah - subsistence crops, rubber, timber, coconut, rice; Sarawak - rubber, pepper; timber

Exports:
total value: $94.4 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: electronic equipment, petroleum and petroleum products, palm oil, wood and wood products, rubber, textiles
partners : US 20%, Singapore 17%, Japan 14%, Hong Kong 4.5%, Netherlands 4.5%, China 4%, Thailand 4% (2001 est.)

Imports:
total value: $76.9 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: electronics, machinery, petroleum products, plastics, vehicles, iron and steel and iron and steel products, chemicals

Debt - external: $44.7 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $45 million (1993)

Currency: 1 ringgit (MYR) = 100 sen

Exchange rates: ringgits per US dollar - 3.8000 (January 2002), 3.8000 (2001), 3.8000 (2000), 3.8000 (1999), 3.9244 (1998), 2.8133 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones: 4.6 million (2000)

Telephone system: modern system; international service excellent
domestic: good intercity service provided on Peninsular Malaysia mainly by microwave radio relay; adequate intercity microwave radio relay network between Sabah and Sarawak via Brunei; domestic satellite system with 2 earth stations
international: submarine cables to India, Hong Kong and Singapore; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 35, FM 391, shortwave 15 (2001)

Radios: 10.9 million (1999)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus 15 high-power repeaters) (2001)

Televisions:10.8 million (1999)

Transportation

Railways:
total: 1,801 km
narrow gauge: 1,801 km 1.000-m gauge (148 km electrified) (2001)

Highways:
total: 64,672 km
paved: 48,707 km (including 1,192 km of expressways)
note: in addition to these national and main regional roads, Malaysia has thousands of kilometers of local roads that are maintained by local jurisdictions (1999)
unpaved: 15,965 km

Waterways: 7,296 km (Peninsular Malaysia 3,209 km, Sabah 1,569 km, Sarawak 2,518 km)

Pipelines: crude oil 1,307 km; natural gas 379 km

Ports and harbors: Bintulu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuantan, Kuching, Kudat, Labuan, Lahad Datu, Lumut, Miri, Pasir Gudang, Penang, Port Dickson, Port Kelang, Sandakan, Sibu, Tanjung Berhala, Tanjung Kidurong, Tawau

Merchant marine:
total: 363 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,952,119 GRT/7,229,299 DWT
ships by type:bulk 57, cargo 114, chemical tanker 35, container 62, liquefied gas 20, livestock carrier 1, passenger 2, petroleum tanker 60, roll on/roll off 5, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 6

Airports: 116 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total : 34
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m : 6
under 914 m: 7 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 82
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m:73 (2001)

Heliports: 1 (2001)

Military

Military branches: Malaysian Army, Royal Malaysian Navy, Royal Malaysian Air Force, Royal Malaysian Police Force, Marine Police, Sarawak Border Scouts

Military manpower - military age: 21 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 5,933,296 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 3,592,997 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 196,042 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $1.69 billion (FY00 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.03% (FY00)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: involved in a complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with China, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei; State of Sabah claimed by the Philippines; Brunei may wish to purchase the Malaysian salient that divides Brunei into two parts; two islands in dispute with Singapore; two islands in dispute with Indonesia

Illicit drugs: transit point for Golden Triangle heroin going to Western markets despite severe penalties for drug trafficking