|Official name / Other names
|Federal parliamentary elective constitutional monarchy
|Muhammad V (King) , Najib Razak, prime Minister
|Unity is strength
|Currency / Exchange rate
|Ringgit / 1 EUR = 4,75 MYR
|Demonym / Population (Urban)
|Malaysian / 35,5 million (72%)
|Capital / Main cities
|Kuala Lumpur / Ipoh, Kuching, Johor Bahru, Klang, Kota, Georgetown, Penang
|Visitors per year
|Approximately 15 to 30 million
Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy located in Southeast Asia. It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories and has a total landmass of 330,803 square kilometres (127,720 sq mi) separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. Located in the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries on earth, with large numbers of endemic species.
Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms present in the area which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire. The first British territories were known as the Straits Settlements, whose establishment 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 as the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and achieved independence on 31 August 1957. Malaya united with North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore on 16 September 1963. Less than two years later in 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation.
The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, which plays a large role in politics. The constitution declares Islam the state religion while allowing freedom of religion for non-Muslims. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is the king, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He is an elected monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The head of government is the prime minister.
Since its independence, Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with its GDP growing at an average of 6.5% per annum for almost 50 years. The economy has traditionally been fuelled by its natural resources, but is expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism. Today, Malaysia has a newly industrialised market economy, ranked third largest in Southeast Asia and 29th largest in the world. It is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the East Asia Summit and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Non-Aligned Movement.
The name "Malaysia" is a combination of the word "Malay" and the Latin-Greek suffix "-sia"/-σία. The word "melayu" in Malay may derive from the Tamil words "malai" and "ur" meaning "mountain" and "city, land", respectively. "Malayadvipa" was the word used by ancient Indian traders when referring to the Malay Peninsula. Whether or not it originated from these roots, the word "melayu" or "mlayu" may have been used in early Malay/Javanese to mean to steadily accelerate or run. This term was applied to describe the strong current of the river Melayu in Sumatra.The name was later adopted by the Melayu Kingdom that existed in the seventh century on Sumatra.
Before the onset of European colonisation, the Malay Peninsula was known natively as "Tanah Melayu" ("Malay Land").
Under a racial classification created by a German scholar Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, the natives of maritime Southeast Asia were grouped into a single category, the Malay race. Following the expedition of French navigator Jules Dumont d'Urville to Oceania in 1826, he later proposed the terms of "Malaysia", "Micronesia" and "Melanesia" to the Société de Géographie in 1831, distinguishing these Pacific cultures and island groups from the existing term "Polynesia". Dumont d'Urville described Malaysia as "an area commonly known as the East Indies". In 1850, the English ethnologist George Samuel Windsor Earl, writing in the Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia, proposed naming the islands of Southeast Asia as "Melayunesia" or "Indunesia", favouring the former. In modern terminology, "Malay" remains the name of an ethnoreligious group of Austronesian people predominantly inhabiting the Malay Peninsula and portions of the adjacent islands of Southeast Asia, including the east coast of Sumatra, the coast of Borneo, and smaller islands that lie between these areas.
The state that gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1957 took the name the "Federation of Malaya", chosen in preference to other potential names such as "Langkasuka", after the historic kingdom located at the upper section of the Malay Peninsula in the first millennium CE. The name "Malaysia" was adopted in 1963 when the existing states of the Federation of Malaya, plus Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak formed a new federation. One theory posits the name was chosen so that "si" represented the inclusion of Singapore, North Borneo, and Sarawak to Malaya in 1963. Politicians in the Philippines contemplated renaming their state "Malaysia" before the modern country took the name.
The official and national language of Malaysia is Malaysian, a standardised form of the Malay language.The terminology as per government policy is Bahasa Malaysia (literally "Malaysian language") but legislation continues to refer to the official language asBahasa Melayu (literally "Malay language"). The National Language Act 1967 specifies the Latin (Rumi) script as the official script of the national language, but does not prohibit the use of the traditional Jawi script.
English remains an active second language, with its use allowed for some official purposes under the National Language Act of 1967. In Sarawak English is an official state language alongside Malaysian. Historically English was the de facto administrative language, with Malay becoming predominant after the 1969 race riots. Malaysian English, also known as Malaysian Standard English, is a form of English derived from British English. Malaysian English is widely used in business, along with Manglish, which is a colloquial form of English with heavy Malay, Chinese, and Tamil influences. The government discourages the use of non-standard Malay but has no power to issue compounds or fines to those who use improper Malay on their advertisements.
Many other languages are used in Malaysia, which contains speakers of 137 living languages. Peninsular Malaysia contains speakers of 41 of these languages. The native tribes of East Malaysia have their own languages which are related to, but easily distinguishable from, Malay. Iban is the main tribal language in Sarawak while Dusunic and Kadazan languages are spoken by the natives in Sabah. Chinese Malaysians predominantly speak Chinese dialects from the southern provinces of China. The more common Chinese varieties 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 South Asian languages are also widely spoken in Malaysia, as well as Thai A small number of Malaysians have Caucasian ancestry and speak creole languages, such as the Portuguese-based Malaccan Creoles, and the Spanish-based Chavacano language.
Holidays and festivals
Malaysians observe a number of holidays and festivities throughout the year. Some are federally gazetted public holidays and some are observed by individual states. Other festivals are observed by particular ethnic or religion groups, and the main holiday of each major group has been declared a public holiday. The most observed national holiday is Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) on 31 August, commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya in 1957. Malaysia Day on 16 September commemorates federation in 1963. Other notable national holidays are Labour Day (1 May) and the King's birthday (first week of June).
Muslim holidays are prominent as Islam is the state religion; Hari Raya Puasa (also called Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Malay for Eid al-Fitr), Hari Raya Haji (also called Hari Raya Aidiladha, Malay for Eid ul-Adha), Maulidur Rasul (birthday of the Prophet), and others being observed. Malaysian Chinese 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 which sees pilgrims from all over the country converge at the Batu Caves. Malaysia's Christian community celebrates 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 being identified with a particular ethnic or religious group, celebrations are universal. In a custom known as "open house" Malaysians participate in the celebrations of others, often visiting the houses of those who identify with the festival.
Popular sports in Malaysia include football, badminton, field hockey, bowls, tennis, squash, martial arts, horse riding, sailing, and skate boarding. Football is the most popular sport in Malaysia and the country is currently studying the possibility of bidding as a joint host for 2034 FIFA World Cup. Badminton matches attract thousands of spectators, and since 1948 Malaysia has been one of four countries to hold the Thomas Cup, the world team championship trophy of men's badminton. The Malaysian Lawn Bowls Federation was registered in 1997. Squash was brought to the country by members of the British army, with the first competition being held in 1939. The Squash Racquets Association Of Malaysia was created on 25 June 1972. Malaysia has proposed a Southeast Asian football league. The men's national field hockey team ranked 13th in the world as of December 2015. The 3rd Hockey World Cupwas hosted at Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, as well as the 10th cup. The country also has its own Formula One track–theSepang International Circuit. It runs for 310.408 kilometres (192.88 mi), and held its first Grand Prix in 1999. Traditional sports include Silat Melayu, the most common style of martial arts practised by ethnic Malays in Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore.
.tomoi and kickboxing or Silat Melayu The most common martial arts are since 1950 as Malaya, and 1966 as Malaysia, and the games were hosted in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.Commonwealth Games The country has competed at the Malaysian athletes have won a total of six Olympic medals, five in Badminton, one in Platform diving..1972 Munich Olympic Games in all but one Olympic games since its inception. The largest number of athletes ever sent to the Olympics was 57 to the has participated in 1964, and Olympic Council of Malaysia. The council was renamed the 1956 Melbourne Olympic GamesThe Federation of Malaya Olympic Council was formed in 1953, and received recognition by the IOC in 1954. It first participated in the