No matter you are a Malaysian or a foreigner, how well do you know about Malaysia?
Where is Malaysia? This is a very popular question when I introduce myself to foreigners in MSN. Usually they have some misunderstanding about Malaysia. Most of them thought that Malaysia is a Third World country.
First of all, Malaysia is a developing country in South East Asia. To be exact, it's located in between Thailand (North) and Singapore (South). It is being divided into East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) and West Malaysia (Peninsula Malaysia) by the South China Sea.
Malaysia is consists of 13 states and 3 Federal Territories. 11 states (Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan) and 2 Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya) are located in West Malaysia. Obviously Sabah and Sarawak are the 2 states in East Malaysia while the Federal Territory of Labuan is located just off the west coast of Sabah.
The climate in Malaysia is hot and humid all year since it is located just above the Equator and also affected by the north-east and south-west monsoons. The north-east monsoon prevails from November to March while the south-west monsoon is from May to September.
Being aware of the north-east monsoon is essential for you who wish to visit the east coast of peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak. These places are famous for their beaches and islands, however they are affected by the monsoon and beaches may be forbidden for water activities during the time.
Malaysia is a multi-racial country. The bumiputras (or "sons of the soil") which comprise the Malays, the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak, and the aboriginal groups of Peninsular Malaysia (the Orang Asli) form the majority (65.1%), with the Chinese at 26.0%, the Indians at 7.7%, and other ethnic groups accounting for the rest.
In Sarawak, the predominant ethnic group is the Ibans, who account for 30.1% of the state's total Malaysian citizens, followed by the Chinese (26.7%) and Malays (23.0%). In Sabah, the predominant ethnic group is the Kadazan Dusun (18.4%), followed by the Bajau (17.3%) and Malays (15.3%).
Despite of Islam being the country's official religion, all races other than Malay are free to have their own religion. Therefore Malaysia is a multi-religious country too.
With all these mixture of races and religions, Malaysia is rich in culture. There are all kinds of festivals along the year, which result to Malaysia being one of the countries with the most public holidays.
Each race still retains their traditional festivals/celebrations. For instance, Hari Raya Puasa for the Malays, Chinese New Year for the Chinese, and Deepavali for the Indians. Most importantly, everybody is welcome to enjoy the celebration together regardless of races/religions.
Bahasa Malaysia is the official language, but most Malaysians are able to speak two or three languages and/or dialects fluently. So, we have English as the unofficial second language. But, if you are observant, you may find that the people on the street are speaking a peculiar form of English. It is known as the "Manglish" (combination of Malay and English), which represents the Malaysian-styled English.
Other than that, there are lots of Chinese and Indian dialects in practice too. Examples of Chinese dialects are Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, Teochew and Hainanese. Examples of Indian dialects are Tamil, Telegu, Malayalam, Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati and Urdu.
Learning about Malaysia history can helps you understand the nation better.
Since Malaysia is located at a strategic location along the Malacca Strait, it had attracted many foreign forces such as Netherland, Portugal and Great Britain to establish colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia before its independence.
During 1942 to 1945, the land was occupied by Japan. After the Japan force retreated as a result of the bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the American, the British gained control to the Malay Peninsula. That was the moment where Chinese laborers were imported to work at tin mines of Muslim sultanates on the Malay Peninsula while Indian laborers were imported to work at rubber plantations.
Later in 1948, the Federation of Malaya was formed, and became independent in 1957.
Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo joined the Federation. The first several years of the country's history were marred by a Communist insurgency, Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's secession from the Federation in 1965.
The 4th Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir bin Mohamad, is the Father of Development to Malaysia. During his 22 years term of service, he guided Malaysia to diversify its economy from dependence on exports of raw materials to expansion in manufacturing, services, and tourism. Few other accomplishments about Malaysia during his term of service are the famous PETRONAS Twin Tower, the KL tower, KLIA, Sepang F1 circuit, LRT etc.
27,170,000 (est. 2008 by Tourism Malaysia)
329,847 sq. km (127,355 sq. miles)
GDP per Capita:
USD 14,225 (est. 2008 by IMF)
International Calling Code:
Range from 21°C (70°F) to 32°C (90°F) for lowlandsRange from 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F) for highlands
Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Shamanist
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