About Malaysia

About Malaysia

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About Malaysia


Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy located within Southeast Asia. It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories and has a total landmass of 329,847 square kilometres (127,350 sq mi). It is separated by the South China Sea into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo (also known as West and East Malaysia respectively). Land borders are shared with Thailand, Indonesia, and Brunei, and maritime borders exist with Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Peninsular Malaysia is connected to Singapore via two bridges, one which transports traffic and water and a second link just for traffic.

The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. The population is over 27.5 million. The economy has traditionally been fuelled by its natural resources, but is now expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism. The head of state is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, an elected monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years.

The Prime Minister
The head of government is the Prime Minister (Najib Razak – MP for Pekan). The government system is closely modelled on the UK parliamentary system and the legal system is based on English Common Law.

Foreign Policy
Malaysia’s foreign policy is based on the principle of neutrality and maintaining peaceful relations with all countries, regardless of their political system, and to further develop relations with other countries in the region. It attaches a high priority to the security and stability of Southeast Asia, and has tried to strengthen relations with other Islamic states. A strong tenant of Malaysia’s policy is national sovereignty and the right of a country to control its domestic affairs.

Economy
Malaysia is a relatively open state-oriented and newly industrialised market economy. The state plays a significant but declining role in guiding economic activity through macroeconomic plans. Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with GDP growing an average 6.5% from 1957 to 2005. In 2007, the economy of Malaysia was the 3rd largest economy in Southeast Asia and 29th largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity with gross domestic product for 2008 of $222 billion, with a growth rate of 5% to 7% since 2007. In 2009, GDP per capita (PPP) of Malaysia stands at US$14,900. In 2009, the nominal GDP was US$383.6 billion, and the nominal per capita GDP was US$8,100. In the 1970s, the predominantly mining and agricultural-based Malaysian economy began a transition towards a more multi-sector economy. Since the 1980s the industrial sector has led Malaysia’s growth. High levels of investment played a significant role in this.The Malaysian economy recovered from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis sooner than neighbouring countries, and has since recovered to the levels of the pre-crisis era with a GDP per capita of $14,800. Inequalities exist between different ethnic groups, with a major issue being that the Chinese minority accounts for 70% of the country’s market capitalization, even though it only makes up about one-third of it.

Demographics
The population of Malaysia is made up of many ethnic groups. Malays make up 50.4% of the population, with other bumiputra making up another 11%. Various other minorities who lack Bumiputra status have established themselves in Malaysia. 23.7% of the population are of Chinese descent, while those of Indian descent comprise 7.1% of the population.
Language
The official language of Malaysia is known as Bahasa Malaysia, a standardised form of the Malay language. English was, for a protracted period, the de facto administrative language, although Malay became predominant after the 1969 race riots. English remains an active second language in many areas of Malaysian society and is compulsory, serving as the medium of instruction for maths and sciences in all public schools.

Culture
Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multicultural and multilingual society. The original culture of the area stemmed from indigenous tribes that lived there, along with the Malays who later moved there. Substantial influence exists from Chinese and Indian culture, dating back to when foreign trade began in the area. Other cultures that heavily influenced the culture of Malaysia include Persian, Arabic, and British culture. Due to the political structure of the government, coupled with the social contract theory, there has been minimal cultural assimilation of ethnic minorities.

Infrastructure
The infrastructure of Malaysia is one of the most developed in Asia. Its telecommunications network is second only to Singapore’s in Southeast Asia, with 4.7 million fixed-line subscribers and 5.5 million cellular subscribers. The country has seven international ports, the major one being the Port Klang. There are 200 industrial parks along with specialised parks such as Technology Park Malaysia and Kulim Hi-Tech Park. Fresh water is available to over 95% of the population. During the colonial period, development was mainly concentrated in economically powerful cities and in areas forming security concerns. Although rural areas have been the focus of great development, they still lag behind areas such as the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.