Malaysia Information - Malaysia At A Glance
In the heart of Asia lies a land of many cultures, wonders
and attractions. It's a bubbling, bustling melting pot of
races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many
other people live together in peace and harmony. It is also
a land of fascinating extremes, where towering skyscrapers
look down upon primitive longhouses. Blessed with natural
wonders galore, it is perfect for a memorable eco-holiday.
With some of the best beaches and diving spots in the world,
it is ideal for island getaways. Experience Asia in Malaysia.
Malaysia was formed in 1963 through a federation of the
former British colonies of Malaya and Singapore, including
the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern
coast of Borneo. The first several years of the country's
history were marred by Indonesian efforts to control Malaysia,
Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's secession from
the federation in 1965.
The Federation of Malaysia comprises Peninsular Malaysia
and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.
Located between 2 and 7 degrees north of the Equator,
Peninsula Malaysia is separated from the states of Sabah and
Sarawak by the South China Sea. To the north of Peninsula
Malaysia is Thailand while its southern neighbour is Singapore.
Sabah and Sarawak are bounded by Indonesia while Sarawak also
shares a border with Brunei.
329,758 sq km. POPULATION 22 million. CAPITAL Kuala Lumpur.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE::
Malaysia has a combined population of over 25 million people.
Because of its central location, between the Indian Ocean
and the South China Sea, Malaysia has traditionally been a
meeting point for traders and travelers from both the East
and West. As a result, Malaysia has a multicultural and multiracial
population consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and numerous
indigenous peoples. Although Malay is the official language,
English is widely spoken, especially in business, and the
English language is a compulsory subject in all schools. With
such a varying ethnic composition, it is no surprise that
a great diversity of religions is prevalent throughout Malaysia.
Although the official religion is Islam, freedom of worship
is practiced. As a result, it is a common to see temples,
mosques and churches within the same area.
Ethnic Groups: 59% Malay and other indigenous, 32%
Chinese and 9% Indian.
Languages: Malay (official), English, Chinese dialects,
Mandarin, Hakka dialects, Cantonese, Tamil and numerous tribal
Religion: Muslim (primarily Malays), Buddhism (Chinese),
Hindu (Indian), Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism and tribal
Such a diversity of ethnic groups inevitably features
a large number of spoken languages. The official local language
is Bahasa Melayu, but then English is widely spoken as are
a number of Chinese dialects. Various other languages are
spoken and East Malaysia features several other indigenous
With such obvious diversity it is remarkable that racial
tension is not a constant problem but clearly the gentleness
and tolerance of the local population contributes to a real
spirit of peace and harmony.
Islam is the official religion but all other religions
are practised freely.
Parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislative system.
The Head of State is the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and the Head
of Government is the Prime Minister.
Tropical climate with warm weather all year round. Temperatures
range from 21 °C to 32°C. Annual rainfall varies from 2000mm
HISTORY AND CULTURE::
There is a strong interlink between the country's multi-racial
and multicultural make-up and its history. Besides the local
Malays and the native groups, immigrants from China, India,
Indonesia and other parts of the world have all contributed
to the multiracial composition of its population. Its interesting
cultural diversity can be largely attributed to the country's
long and on-going interaction with the outside world and colonial
rule by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British. Consequently
the evolution of the country into a cultural melting pot is
evident in the unique blend of religions, socio-cultural activities
and traditions, dressing, languages and food.
The country achieved independence on August 31, 1957 as the
Federation of Malaya and subsequently with the entry of Sabah
and Sarawak in 1963, Malaysia was formed.
New Year's Day (lanuary 1)*
• Chinese New Year (January 24 & 25)*
• Federal Territory Day (February 1)**
• Labour Day (May 1)*
• Wesak Day (May)*
• King's Birthday (June 2)
• National Day (August 31)*
• Deepavali (November 14)#
• Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (December 16 & 17)*
• Christmas* (December 25)*.
Note: (*) - National holidays •
(**) KL &
Labuan only •
(#) - Except
Sarawak & Labuan.
Manufacturing constitutes the largest single component
of Malaysia's economy. Tourism and primary commodities such
as petroleum, palm oil, natural rubber and timber are major
contributors to its economy.
Visitors to Malaysia must be in possession of a valid passport
or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond
the intended visiting period. Most nationalities do not require
visas for social or business visits.
For further information, please check with the nearest Malaysian
diplomatic mission or Tourism Malaysia office.
The unit of currency is the Malaysian Ringgit indicated
as RM. Foreign currencies can be converted at banks and money
All travellers, both residents and non-residents, are required
to complete the Traveller's Declaration Form (TDF). The revised
TDF has two separate sections and columns for residents and
non-residents to declare their currencies; the blue
section for residents and the white section for non-residents;
Residents are only required to declare in detail the exact
amount of ringgit carried when they enter or leave the country
only if the amount is in excess of RM1.000. They are also
required to declare in detail the exact amount in foreign
currency, including traveller's cheques carried, when they
leave the country only if the amount exceeds the equivalent
of RM10.000. Residents do not have to declare any amount of
foreign currency, including traveller's cheques, carried with
them when they re-enter the country. Non-residents are required
to declare the exact amount of foreign currency carried when
they enter or leave the country only if the amount exceeds
the equivalent of USD 2,500.00.
Residents are required to keep the TDF in their passport
when they leave the country and surrender the TDF on their
return journey instead of the current practice of filling
two separate TDFs when they leave and re-enter the country.
Likewise, non-residents will continue with the current practice
which requires them to keep the TDF with their passport and
surrender the TDF on leaving their country.
Most states: Mon-Fri: 9.30am-4.00pm • Sat: 9.30am-11.30am
• Sun: closed • Kedah, Kelantan &Terengganu: Sat-Wed:
9.30am-4.00pm • Thur: 9.30am 11.30am • Fri: closed.
Open from 8.00am to 5.00pm daily except Sundays and public
holidays. In Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu post offices are
closed on Fridays and public holidays.
TIME Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific
Voltage is 220 - 240 volts A C at 50 cycles per second.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES::
Malaysia follows the metric system in weights and measures.
Local calls can be made from public phones using
coins or pre-paid cards. International calls can be made from
public phones with card phone facilities or at any Telekom
The main gateway to Malaysia is through the new K.L. International
Airport at Sepang located approximately 50km south of Kuala
Lumpur. The Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang serves
a few domestic and regional airlines. Other major international
airports which serve as entry points are Penang, Kuching,
Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi.
The main entry point by sea to KL is Port Klang, about 50km
away from KL. Malaysia is also accessible by rail and road
from Singapore and Thailand.
Malaysia has excellent domestic air links and a well developed
and effective public transportation system served by buses,
taxis and trains.
Malaysia has a wide range of accommodation at competitive
rates. International standard hotels, medium and budget hotels,
youth hostels and timeshare apartments are just some of the
types of accommodation available. Privately operated motor-homes
are also available for rental.
DO'S & DON'TS::
When visiting Malaysia, the visitor should observe local
customs and practices. Some common courtesies and customs
are as follows:-
It is polite to call before visiting a home.
• Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home.
• Drinks are generally offered to guests. It would be polite
• The right hand is always used when eating with one's hand
or when giving and receiving objects.
• The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects
or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with the
four fingers, folded under is the preferred usage.
• Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such
as mosques and temples. Some mosques provide robes and scarves
for female visitors. Taking photographs at places of worship
is usually permitted but always ask for permission first.
• Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country's
large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.