Malaysia

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Context of Malaysia

Malaysia ( (listen) mə-LAY-zee-ə, -⁠zhə; Malay: [malɛjsia]) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions: Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's East Malaysia. 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. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital, the country's largest city, and the seat of the legislative branch of the federal government. Putrajaya is the administrative ce...Read more

Malaysia ( (listen) mə-LAY-zee-ə, -⁠zhə; Malay: [malɛjsia]) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions: Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's East Malaysia. 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. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital, the country's largest city, and the seat of the legislative branch of the federal government. Putrajaya is the administrative centre, which represents the seat of both the executive branch (the Cabinet, federal ministries, and agencies) and the judicial branch of the federal government. With a population of over 32 million, Malaysia is the world's 45th-most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia is in Tanjung Piai. Located in the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, home to numerous endemic species.

Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms, which, from the 18th century on, became subject to the British Empire, along with the British Straits Settlements protectorate. During World War Two, British Malaya, along with other nearby British and American colonies, was occupied by the Empire of Japan. Following three years of occupation, peninsular Malaysia was unified as the Malayan Union in 1946 and then restructured as the Federation of Malaya in 1948. The country achieved independence on 31 August 1957. The independent Malaya united with the then British crown colonies of North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore on 16 September 1963 to become Malaysia. In August 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation and became a separate independent country.

The country is multiethnic and multicultural, which has a significant effect on its politics. About half the population is ethnically Malay, with minorities of Chinese, Indians, and indigenous peoples. The country's official language is Malaysian Malay, a standard form of the Malay language. English remains an active second language. While recognising Islam as the country's established religion, the constitution grants freedom of religion to non-Muslims. The government is modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system, and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is an elected monarch, chosen from among the nine state sultans every five years. The head of government is the Prime Minister.

After independence, the Malaysian GDP grew at an average rate 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. Malaysia has a newly industrialised market economy, ranked third-largest in Southeast Asia and 36th-largest in the world. It is a founding member of ASEAN, EAS, and OIC and a member of APEC, the Commonwealth, and the Non-Aligned Movement.

More about Malaysia

Basic information
  • Currency Malaysian ringgit
  • Calling code +60
  • Internet domain .my
  • Mains voltage 240V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 7.19
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 32447385
  • Area 330803
  • Driving side left
History
  • Map showing the extent of the Malacca Sultanate, covering much of the Malay Peninsula and some of Sumatra 
    The Malacca Sultanate played a major role in spreading Islam throughout the Malay Archipelago.

    Evidence of modern human habitation in Malaysia dates back 40,000 years.[1] In the Malay Peninsula, the first inhabitants are thought to be Negritos.[2] Traders and settlers from India and China arrived as early as the first century AD, establishing trading ports and coastal towns in the second and third centuries. Their presence resulted in strong Indian and Chinese influences on the local cultures, and the people of the Malay Peninsula adopted the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Sanskrit inscriptions appear as early as the fourth or fifth century.[3] The Kingdom of Langkasuka arose around the second century in the northern area of the Malay Peninsula, lasting until about the 15th century.[4] Between the 7th and 13th centuries, much of the southern Malay Peninsula was part of the maritime Srivijayan empire. By the 13th and the 14th century, the Majapahit empire had successfully wrested control over most of the peninsula and the Malay Archipelago from Srivijaya.[5] In the early 15th century, Parameswara, a runaway king of the former Kingdom of Singapura linked to the old Srivijayan court, founded the Malacca Sultanate.[6] The spread of Islam increased following Parameswara's conversion to that religion....Read more

    Map showing the extent of the Malacca Sultanate, covering much of the Malay Peninsula and some of Sumatra 
    The Malacca Sultanate played a major role in spreading Islam throughout the Malay Archipelago.

    Evidence of modern human habitation in Malaysia dates back 40,000 years.[1] In the Malay Peninsula, the first inhabitants are thought to be Negritos.[2] Traders and settlers from India and China arrived as early as the first century AD, establishing trading ports and coastal towns in the second and third centuries. Their presence resulted in strong Indian and Chinese influences on the local cultures, and the people of the Malay Peninsula adopted the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Sanskrit inscriptions appear as early as the fourth or fifth century.[3] The Kingdom of Langkasuka arose around the second century in the northern area of the Malay Peninsula, lasting until about the 15th century.[4] Between the 7th and 13th centuries, much of the southern Malay Peninsula was part of the maritime Srivijayan empire. By the 13th and the 14th century, the Majapahit empire had successfully wrested control over most of the peninsula and the Malay Archipelago from Srivijaya.[5] In the early 15th century, Parameswara, a runaway king of the former Kingdom of Singapura linked to the old Srivijayan court, founded the Malacca Sultanate.[6] The spread of Islam increased following Parameswara's conversion to that religion. Malacca was an important commercial centre during this time, attracting trade from around the region.[7]

    Dutch fleet vs Portuguese armada 
    The Dutch fleet battling with the Portuguese armada as part of the Dutch–Portuguese War in 1606 to gain control of Malacca

    In 1511, Malacca was conquered by Portugal,[7] after which it was taken by the Dutch in 1641. In 1786, the British Empire established a presence in Malaya, when the Sultan of Kedah leased Penang Island to the British East India Company. The British obtained the town of Singapore in 1819,[8] and in 1824 took control of Malacca following the Anglo-Dutch Treaty. By 1826, the British directly controlled Penang, Malacca, Singapore, and the island of Labuan, which they established as the crown colony of the Straits Settlements. By the 20th century, the states of Pahang, Selangor, Perak, and Negeri Sembilan, known together as the Federated Malay States, had British residents appointed to advise the Malay rulers, to whom the rulers were bound to defer by treaty.[9] The remaining five states on the peninsula, known as the Unfederated Malay States, while not directly under British rule, also accepted British advisers around the turn of the 20th century. Development on the peninsula and Borneo were generally separate until the 19th century. Under British rule the immigration of Chinese and Indians to serve as labourers was encouraged.[10] The area that is now Sabah came under British control as North Borneo when both the Sultan of Brunei and the Sultan of Sulu transferred their respective territorial rights of ownership, between 1877 and 1878.[11] In 1842, Sarawak was ceded by the Sultan of Brunei to James Brooke, whose successors ruled as the White Rajahs over an independent kingdom until 1946, when it became a crown colony.[12]

    In the Second World War, the Japanese Army invaded and occupied Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore for over three years. During this time, ethnic tensions were raised and nationalism grew.[13] Popular support for independence increased after Malaya was reconquered by Allied forces.[14] Post-war British plans to unite the administration of Malaya under a single crown colony called the "Malayan Union" met with strong opposition from the Malays, who opposed the weakening of the Malay rulers and the granting of citizenship to the ethnic Chinese. The Malayan Union, established in 1946, and consisting of all the British possessions in the Malay Peninsula with the exception of Singapore, was quickly dissolved and replaced on 1 February 1948 by the Federation of Malaya, which restored the autonomy of the rulers of the Malay states under British protection.[15]

     
    Leader of the Malayan Communist Party Lee Meng holding a rifle during the Malayan Emergency, 1951

    During this time, the mostly ethnically Chinese rebels under the leadership of the Malayan Communist Party launched guerrilla operations designed to force the British out of Malaya. The Malayan Emergency (1948–1960) involved a long anti-insurgency campaign by Commonwealth troops in Malaya.[16] On 31 August 1957, Malaya became an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations.[17] After this a plan was put in place to federate Malaya with the crown colonies of North Borneo (which joined as Sabah), Sarawak, and Singapore. The date of federation was planned to be 31 August 1963 so as to coincide with the anniversary of Malayan independence; however, federation was delayed until 16 September 1963 in order for a United Nations survey of support for federation in Sabah and Sarawak, called for by parties opposed to federation including Indonesia's Sukarno and the Sarawak United Peoples' Party, to be completed.[18][19]

    Federation brought heightened tensions including a conflict with Indonesia as well as continual conflicts against the Communists in Borneo and the Malayan Peninsula, which escalated to the Sarawak Communist Insurgency and Second Malayan Emergency together with several other issues such as the cross-border attacks into North Borneo by Moro pirates from the southern islands of the Philippines, Singapore being expelled from the Federation in 1965,[20][21] and racial strife. This strife culminated in the 13 May race riots in 1969.[22] After the riots, the controversial New Economic Policy was launched by Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, trying to increase the share of the economy held by the bumiputera.[23] Under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad there was a period of rapid economic growth and urbanization beginning in the 1980s. The economy shifted from being agriculturally based to one based on manufacturing and industry. Numerous mega-projects were completed, such as the Petronas Towers, the North–South Expressway, the Multimedia Super Corridor, and the new federal administrative capital of Putrajaya.[24] However, in the late 1990s, the Asian financial crisis almost caused the collapse of the currency and the stock and property markets, although they later recovered.[25] The 1MDB scandal was a major global corruption scandal that implicated then-Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2015.[26] The scandal contributed to the first change in the ruling political party since independence in the 2018 general election.[27] In the 2020s, the country was gripped by a political crisis that coincided with health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[28] This was then followed by an earlier general election in November 2022, which resulted in the first hung parliament in the nation's history. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition won 82 seats and former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's Perikatan Nasional (PN) gained 73 seats. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob's ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition was the biggest loser, securing just 30 seats in the 222-member parliament.[29] On 24 November 2022, Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia.[30]

    ^ Holme, Stephanie (13 February 2012). "Getaway to romance in Malaysia". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 6 January 2014. ^ Fix, Alan G. (June 1995). "Malayan Paleosociology: Implications for Patterns of Genetic Variation among the Orang Asli". American Anthropologist. New Series. 97 (2): 313–323. doi:10.1525/aa.1995.97.2.02a00090. JSTOR 681964. ^ Mühlhäusler, Peter; Tryon, Darrell T.; Wurm, Stephen A. (1996). Atlas of languages of intercultural communication in the Pacific, Asia and the Americas. Walter de Gruyer & Co. p. 695. ISBN 978-3-11-013417-9. ^ Cite error: The named reference Mapping was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Suporno, S. (1979). "The Image of Majapahit in late Javanese and Indonesian Writing". In A. Reid; D. Marr (eds.). Perceptions of the Past. Southeast Asia publications. Vol. 4. Singapore: Heinemann Books for the Asian Studies Association of Australia. p. 180. ^ Wake, Christopher H. (September 1964). "Malacca's Early Kings and the Reception of Islam". Journal of Southeast Asian History. Cambridge University Press. 5 (2): 104–128. doi:10.1017/S0217781100000958. JSTOR 20067505. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference state.gov was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Luscombe, Stephen. "The Map Room: South East Asia: Malaya". Retrieved 18 September 2010. ^ Clifford, Hugh Charles; Graham, Walter Armstrong (1911). "Malay States (British)" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 478–484. ^ Kuar, Amarjit. "International Migration and Governance in Malaysia: Policy and Performance" (PDF). University of New England. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 May 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2011. ^ Gullick, J. M. (1967). Malaysia and Its Neighbours, The World studies series. Taylor & Francis. pp. 148–149. ISBN 978-0-7100-4141-8. ^ Luscombe, Stephen. "The Map Room: South East Asia: North Borneo". Retrieved 1 July 2011. ^ Hock, David Koh Wee (2007). Legacies of World War II in South and East Asia. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 48. ISBN 978-981-230-457-5. ^ Mohamad, Mahathir (31 May 1999). "Our Region, Ourselves". Time. New York. Archived from the original on 12 February 2001. Retrieved 26 October 2010. ^ "MALAYA: Token Citizenship". Time. New York. 19 May 1952. Archived from the original on 6 November 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2010. ^ "The Malayan Emergency: 1948–1960". Australian Government Department of Veteran Affairs. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011. ^ "1957: Malaya celebrates independence". BBC News. Retrieved 9 August 2016. ^ "Malaysia: Tunku Yes, Sukarno No". Time. New York. 6 September 1963. Archived from the original on 2 April 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2010. ^ Boon Kheng Cheah (2002). Malaysia: The Making of a Nation. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 93–. ISBN 978-981-230-154-3. ^ "Proclamation on Singapore". Singapore Attorney-General. Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2010. ^ "Malaysia: The Art of Dispelling Anxiety". Time. New York. 27 August 1965. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2010. ^ "Race War in Malaysia". Time. New York. 23 May 1969. Archived from the original on 16 February 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2010. ^ Sundaram, Jomo Kwame (1 September 2004). "The New Economic Policy and Interethnic Relations in Malaysia". UNRISD. Retrieved 27 October 2010. ^ Spaeth, Anthony (9 December 1996). "Bound for Glory". Time. New York. Archived from the original on 17 March 2009. Retrieved 20 August 2011. ^ Ping Lee Poh; Yean Tham Siew. "Malaysia Ten Years After The Asian Financial Crisis" (PDF). Thammasat University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 April 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2011. ^ "Malaysian taskforce investigates allegations $700m paid to Najib". The Guardian. London. 6 July 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2018. ^ Cite error: The named reference Opposition scores was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Walden, Max (13 January 2021). "How Malaysia went from fewer COVID cases than Australia to a national state of emergency". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 19 July 2021. ^ "No clear winner as Malaysia election ends in hung parliament". www.aljazeera.com. 19 November 2022. ^ "Anwar Ibrahim sworn in as Malaysian PM after post-election deadlock". BBC News. 24 November 2022.
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Stay safe
  •  
    Stay safe

    Emergency numbers

    Central emergency number 999

    Though the crime rate is higher than in neighbouring Singapore, Malaysia is generally a safe country for visitors. Crimes towards tourists are usually restricted to bag-snatching, pickpocketing and petty theft. It is important to keep a close eye on valuable items. Theft is more common in crowded places, such as markets and on public transport. Generally, if you avoid deserted areas, get back to your hotel before midnight and use your common sense, you're unlikely to be assaulted. Homosexuality is a crime and gay bars may be raided by police; gay and lesbian tourists should be self-aware and careful.

    ...Read more
     
    Stay safe

    Emergency numbers

    Central emergency number 999

    Though the crime rate is higher than in neighbouring Singapore, Malaysia is generally a safe country for visitors. Crimes towards tourists are usually restricted to bag-snatching, pickpocketing and petty theft. It is important to keep a close eye on valuable items. Theft is more common in crowded places, such as markets and on public transport. Generally, if you avoid deserted areas, get back to your hotel before midnight and use your common sense, you're unlikely to be assaulted. Homosexuality is a crime and gay bars may be raided by police; gay and lesbian tourists should be self-aware and careful.

    Crime
    Travel Warning WARNING: Malaysia treats drug offences extremely severely. The death penalty is mandatory for those convicted of trafficking, manufacturing, importing or exporting more than 15 g of heroin, 30 g of morphine, 30 g of cocaine, 500 g of cannabis, 200 g of cannabis resin and 1.2 kg of opium, and possession of these quantities is all that is needed for you to be convicted.

    Unauthorised consumption can result in up to 10 years' jail, or a heavy fine, or both. You can be charged for unauthorised consumption as long as traces of illicit drugs are found in your system, even if you can prove that they were consumed outside the country and you can be charged for trafficking as long as drugs are found in bags that are in your possession or in your room, even if they aren't yours and regardless of whether you're aware of them - therefore be vigilant of your possessions.

    There have been some reports of pickpockets and snatch-and-run thieves in some of the major cities like Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Johor Bahru. As a general precaution, never carry your bags on the side facing the road and always walk facing the oncoming traffic. Additionally, walk a few feet deeper away from the roads. Women travellers should take extra precautions at night.

    Johor Bahru is known for having a relatively higher crime rate compared to the rest of Malaysia, and armed robberies and snatch thefts could happen at night in run-down areas of the city. Travel documents and valuables are best deposited in a hotel safe.

    In Malaysia, some crimes are punished with caning. Being convicted of rape, vandalism, illegal entry, bribery, overstaying your visa, and certain other crimes could get you caned. This is no slap on the wrist! Strokes from the thick rattan cane are very painful, will take some time to heal and probably leave you with a permanent scar.

    Credit card fraud is a growing problem in this country, especially if you order in an on-line store during your stay. Use credit cards only in reputable shops. If you are not sure about the reputation of a certain shop or service, there are several services available that can help to identify fraud and scams such as Trustedcompany.com for any online service they want to use.

    Corruption

    While not as bad as the likes of Thailand, Vietnam or Indonesia, corruption remains a significant issue in Malaysia. Traffic police have been known to pull over motorists to demand bribes of RM100-200; this tends to happen somewhat more often to those driving Singapore-registered cars (recognisable by the licence plates). Nevertheless, there have been some crackdowns on this, and bribery is punishable by up to 20 years in jail. Anyone who tries to bribe public officials may be arrested on the spot and placed in a lock-up overnight to be charged for the offence in the morning. If this happens on a Friday or on eve of public holidays, you will find yourself spending a few nights in the lock-up as the courts are only open Monday to Friday. Do not let this dissuade you from requesting help — generally Malaysian police are helpful to tourists.

    Customs and immigration officers are generally fairly clean, and unlike in other mainland Southeast Asian countries, being asked to pay a bribe to get your passport stamped is virtually unheard of, even at land border crossings. (Thai immigration on the other side of the border is another story though). Do check your passport before driving off when entering by land from the Singapore border though, as immigration officers have been known to "forget" to stamp people in, and you will be subject to fines of several thousand ringgit for illegal entry when you try to leave Malaysia if your passport was not stamped on entry.

    Traffic safety

    Drunk-driving is a serious offense and breathalyzer tests by the police are common.

    When on foot, be careful when crossing the street. Vehicles will often ignore pedestrian (zebra) crossings. However, reports of road bullying during accidents are still common, so if you are involved in an accident be very careful when negotiating or dial 999 for help.

    Other
     
    Taxis in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

    Many taxis will refuse to use the meter, even though there is an official rate. Most taxis now have a sticker on the rear door informing tourists that haggling is prohibited. Taxi drivers, sensing that you are a tourist, may drive around and take a very long route to reach your destination.

    If you need a taxi late at night, it is best to use the dial-a-taxi service as there have been incidents in which taxis flagged down during those hours have been fake/unregistered. An unregistered taxi driver might rob or assault you with the help of other assailants. You are also more likely to get a metered taxi by flagging one at a street than at a taxi stand.

    It is advisable to study maps and compare fares on the internet before visiting the country. Knowing distances between places is helpful when negotiating with taxi drivers. They won't try to fool even a foreigner who demonstrates clearly that he knows the distance from point A to point B is 50 km and not 150 km.

    Do not accept the first rates for inter-city travels by car offered by hotels, as these could be as much as double normal prices. In this case, negotiate with a taxi driver directly for a better and fair price (for example, a hotel near Balok Beach, not very far from Kuantan, asked 800 RM for a ride to Johor Bahru, while a negotiated price with a taxi driver who could be found in downtown Kuantan came down to a normal 400 RM). But for all this you need to know the exact distance and if possible even the exact itinerary between your departure and arrival point.

    Public demonstrations are uncommon in Malaysia due to police crackdowns. Should one occur it may be dealt with in a heavy-handed manner, so avoid them at all costs.

    Finally, it is generally not allowed for non-Muslims or non-Sunnis to proselytize. In particular, attempting to persuade Muslims to convert out of their religion is illegal, and if you are caught doing this, you will at best be expelled from the country.

    Natural disasters

    Peninsular Malaysia is largely free from earthquakes as there are no nearby faultlines, though tremors can occasionally be felt in the upper storeys of tall buildings when a major quake occurs in neighbouring Indonesia. East Malaysia, on the other hand, especially the area around Mount Kinabalu, does experience occasional earthquakes (such as the fatal one occurring in 2015). Typhoons are also exceedingly rare, though one hit the southern part of Johor in 2001. However, the Nov-Jan monsoon season often results in flooding due to torrential rains, and landslides are known to occur, most notably on the East Coast. Tsunamis are a rare occurrence, though Penang and a few islands on the north of the West Coast were hit by the infamous tsunami in 2004.

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