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Malaysia - Country facts

Map

Small map of Malaysia
Click for a larger map

Flag

Country flag: Malaysia

Capital

Kuala Lumpur
note:

Currency

ringgit (MYR)

Internet Code

.my

Location

Southeastern Asia, peninsula bordering Thailand and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia, Brunei, and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam

Background

During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia; these were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula formed the Federation of Malaya, which 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 Indonesian efforts to control Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's secession from the Federation in 1965.

Climate

tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons

Terrain

coastal plains rising to hills and mountains

Population

23,953,136 (July 2005 est.)

Ethnic Groups

Malay and other indigenous 58%, Chinese 24%, Indian 8%, others 10% (2000)

Religions

Muslim, Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, Christian, Sikh; note - in addition, Shamanism is practiced in East Malaysia

Languages

Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai
note: in addition, in East Malaysia several indigenous languages are spoken, the largest are Iban and Kadazan

Map of Malaysia

Large map of Malaysia
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