OFFICIAL NAME: Malaysia
CAPITAL: Kuala Lumpur
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Federal Constitutional Monarchy
AREA: 329,749 Sq Km (127,317 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 21,759,500
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Malaysia consists of two geographical
segments. (1.) West Malaysia, the southern third of the
Malay Peninsula in South East Asia and (2.) East Malaysia
which occupies the northern quarter of the island of Borneo.
West Malaysia is bound by Thailand to the north, the South
China Sea to the east, Singapore to the south and the Strait
of Malacca to the west. East Malaysia is bound by Indonesia
to the south, the South China Sea to the west and north,
and the Sulu Sea to the northeast. The enclave of Brunei
is located in the northern region of East Malaysia. West
or Peninsula Malaysia consists of a range of steep forest
covered mountains with coastal plains to the east and west
while the principal river is the Pahang. East Malaysia has
a broad swampy coastal plain that rises to jungle covered
hills in the interior. The principal rivers of East Malaysia
are the Rajang, Baram, Lupar, Limbang, Kinabatangan and
Padas. Major Cities (pop. est.); Kuala Lumpur 1,145,100,
Ipoh 382,600, Johor Baharu 296,000, Melaka 296,000, Petaling
Jaya 254,800 (1991). Land Use; forested 68%, pastures 0.1%,
agricultural-cultivated 14.9%, other 17% (1993).
CLIMATE: Malaysia has a tropical climate with two monsoon seasons.
The NW Monsoon from October to February and the SW Monsoon from April to October
with squalls and thunderstorms common. Average annual precipitation for West
Malaysia is 2,540 mm (100 inches) and for East Malaysia it is 4,420 mm (150
inches). Humidity is high all year round and average temperature ranges for
Kuala Lumpur are from 22 to 32 degrees Celsius (72 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit)
all year round while in the mountains the average temperature ranges are from
13 to 27 degrees Celsius (55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit).
PEOPLE: The people of Malaysia can be classified into four broad
categories. (1.) Native tribal groups such as the Semang, Senoi, Jakun,
Ibans or Sea Dayaks, Land Dayaks, Melanaus, Kayans, Kenyahs, Kajangs, Muruts,
Kelabits, Kadazans and the Bajans. (2.) The Malays who combined with the
tribal groups account for 61% of the population. (3.) The Chinese who account
for around 30% and (4.) Indians, that include Pakistanis and Sri Lankans,
who account for 8% of the population.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 55 persons per sq km (143
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 43.0% urban, 57.0% rural (1993).
Sex Distribution; 50.4% male, 49.6% female (1991). Life Expectancy at Birth;
69.0 years male, 73.0 years female (1993). Age Breakdown; 37% under 15,
29% 15 to 29, 18% 30 to 44, 10% 45 to 59, 6% 60 and over (1990). Birth
Rate; 27.0 per 1,000 (1991). Death Rate; 5.0 per 1,000 (1991). Increase
Rate; 22.0 per 1,000 (1991). Infant Mortality Rate; 13.0 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: The official religion is Islam with 53% of the population
Muslims while 29% are Buddhists and Confucianists, 7% are Hindus, 6.4%
are Christians and the remainder following local native tribal beliefs.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Bahasa Malay, although Chinese,
English and Tamil are also widely spoken.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
36.6%, primary 42.1%, secondary 19.4%, higher 1.9% (1980). Literacy; literate
population aged 15 or over 5,719,358 or 72.6% (1980).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: After World War II the British
returned to Malaysia and in April 1946 the British formally established
a Malay Union of the individual states. This Union also included provisions
for the Chinese and Indians to be granted citizenship and equal rights,
which met with strong opposition from the Malays. In Feb. 1948 negotiations
resulted in the federation of the Malay states and the formalization of
the Union's provisions. In 1949 the Malay Communist Party (MCP) began to
incite unrest resulting in the British and communists, as well as other
rebels, fighting. The conflict ended after the Federation of Malaya gained
complete independence from Britain in Aug. 1957. In Sept. 1963 Malaya,
Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore united and formed the independent nation of
Malaysia. In Aug. 1965 Singapore left the federation after disagreements
arose. In Aug. 1967 Indonesia formally recognized Malaysia and in Dec.
1969 the Philippines also recognized the nation. Both countries had sovereignty
claims over parts of the federation. In May 1969 racial tension culminated
in serious clashes between the Chinese and Malays, resulted in the suspension
of the constitution until 1971. In 1971 Tun Razak became Malaysia's second
Prime Minister. In 1972 the government embarked on a New Economic Policy
(NEP) to reduce the disparity between the Chinese and Malays. In 1976 after
Prime Minister Razak's death, Datuk Hussein Onn became Prime Minister until
his own retirement in 1981. In the same year Dr Datuk Seri Mahathir bin
Mohamad was elected Prime Minister and re-elected in 1986. In 1986 Malaysia
executed two Australian drug traffickers which led to the Australian Prime
Minister Robert Hawke describing the acts as "barbaric" and from
then, Australian-Malay relations have deteriorated. In 1990 Dr Mahathir
was re-elected Prime Minister. In 1991 the government announced a replacement
to the NEP, named the National Development Program (NDP). The NDP differed
only slightly to the NEP in that the timetable for the transfer of corporate
holdings to the Malays or "bumiputras" was removed and called
for assistance to be given for the establishment of businesses. In May
1991 Dr Mahathir claimed paid agents were undermining the country's stability
by leaking information to Western governments and the media. Also in 1991
the New United Malays National Organization (UMNO) joined forces with a
local Sabah state party in the hope of removing power from the Parti Bersatu
Sabah (PBS) which controlled the state government. In Feb. 1992 the principal
coalition partner of the National Front, UMNO complained of royal interference
in politics and business and in April 1992 the Sultan of Kelantan state
further exacerbated the controversy by refusing to pay taxes on a new sports
car. Also in April 1992 Prime Minister Mahathir challenged the Parti Islam
sa-Malaysia (PAS), which had declared its intention to implement Islamic
criminal punishment (hudud), to impose hudud immediately in Kelantan state.
In July 1992 the majority of the country's nine hereditary rulers approved
a proclamation affirming their constitutional limits. In 1992 tensions
between UMNO and the PBS over the state governments rights led to an economic
slowdown in Sabah as well as the review of the terms of its entry into
the federation. In Jan. 1993 tensions between the federal government and
the ruling PBS of Sabah state resulted in log exports being banned that
cut its budget revenues by nearly 50% while the government also continued
to pursue corruption charges against the PBS leader, Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
In 1993 Prime Minister Mahathir challenged the royal legal right to immunity
in personal matters following incidents in late 1992 that included the
killing of a golf caddy amongst other allegations. The rulers refused to
consent to removal of their immunity against prosecution that led Prime
Minister Mahathir to propose that other privileges not guaranteed by law
be revoked. In Feb. and March 1993 the royals approved amendments that
any ruler could be tried by a special court that could make a ruling without
appeal, although a convicted ruler could be pardoned by the Conference
of Rulers after their consideration of the Attorney Generals written opinion.
In Nov. 1993 Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim was elected as UMNO deputy
president. Also in 1993 Malaysia supported Islamic concerns in the Middle
East and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and offered to send 1,500 peacekeeping troops
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Ringgit (R) divided into
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $60,141,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; USD $13,863,000,000 (1993). Imports; M $117,423,000,000 (1993).
Exports; M $121,214,000,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $1,876,000,000
(1993). Balance of Trade; M $12,628,000,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 7,646,500 or 40.1% of total population (1993). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are Japan, Singapore,
the USA and the EU.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bauxite, Cocoa, Copper, Crude Oil, Fish,
Iron Ore, Natural Gas, Palm Oil, Pepper, Pineapples, Rice, Rubber, Timber,
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement, Chemicals, Crude Oil Production,
Electronics, Fishing, Food Processing, Forestry, Mining, Rubber, Textiles,
MAIN EXPORTS: Bauxite, Cocoa, Copper, Crude Oil, Electronic Components,
Iron Ore, Liquefied Natural Gas, Palm Oil, Petroleum, Pepper, Pineapples,
Rubber, Timber, Tin.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 2,098 km (1,304 mi) (1989),
passenger-km 1,668,000,000 (1,036,000,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km
1,404,000,000 (962,000,000 short ton-mi) (1989). Roads; length 40,174 km
(24,963 mi) (1988). Vehicles; cars 1,689,370 (1989), trucks and buses 374,565
(1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 498 (1990), deadweight tonnage 2,459,516
(1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 10,105,000,000 (6,279,000,000 passenger-mi)
(1989), cargo ton-km 403,735,000 (276,518,000 short ton-mi) (1989).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 39 with a total circulation
of 2,200,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 7,460,000 (1994). Television; receivers
2,000,000 (1994). Telephones; units 2,410,700 (1993).
MILITARY: 114,500 (1995) total active duty personnel with 78.6%
army, 10.5% navy and 10.9% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 3.9% (1994) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
© 1993-2011, Latimer Clarke Corporation Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved
Use of these site materials or portion thereof is restricted
Atlapedia is a trademark and in worldwide use
See our Legal Notice for Copyright and Linking conditions of use
Best viewed at 1024x768 or higher