About Malaysia

Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy located in Southeast Asia. It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories and has a total landmass of 330,803 square kilometers (127,720 sq mi) separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). 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. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. Located in the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 mega diverse countries on earth, with large numbers of endemic species.

Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms present in the area which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire. The first British territories were known as the Straits Settlements, whose establishment was followed by the Malay kingdoms becoming British protectorates. The territories on Peninsular Malaysia were first unified as the Malayan Union in 1946. Malaya was restructured as the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and achieved independence on 31 August 1957. Malaya united with North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore on 16 September 1963 to become Malaysia. Less than two years later in 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation.

The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, which plays a large role in politics. About half the population is ethnically Malay, with large minorities of Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indians, and indigenous peoples. The constitution grants freedom of religion and makes Malaysia an officially secular state, while establishing Islam as the "religion of the Federation". The government system is closely modeled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is the king, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He is an elected monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The head of government is the prime minister.

Since its independence, Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with its GDP growing at an average 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. Today, Malaysia has a newly industrialized market economy, ranked third largest in Southeast Asia and 29th largest in the world. It is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the East Asia Summit and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Capital Kuala Lumpur
Putrajaya
Largest city Kuala Lumpur
Official language and national language Bahasa Malaysia, Malay (Latin) alphabet, English
Area 330,803 km2 (127,724 sq mi)
Total Water (%) 0.3
Population 31,622,000
Currency Ringgit (RM) (MYR)
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
Calling Code +60

The Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling to Malaysia

Malaysia is one of the colorful countries of South Asia, Which is renowned for its diverse culture and is fast becoming one of the hottest tourist destinations of South Asia. The country boasts of a heterogeneous society with indigenous people of Malaysia as well as citizen of Indian and Chinese origin. The influence of European, Arab, Persian and also British Empire, Made Malaysia a truly multicultural culture that is rich in variety and truly global. Although Malaysia is generally a laid back and relaxed place and people of Malaysia are quite friendly, they do reserve their own customs and the visitors should try to observe these practices when they arrive. The Following Malaysia travel tips, Do and Don’ts surely make your, Malaysia tourism an Enjoyable lifetime experience

DO’s

• Do shake and with men for greeting, but not women unless they offer to do so first. The traditional greeting or salaam resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp people greet visitor by placing their right and hand over the left chest to mean I greet you from my heart.

• Do remove your shoes before entering a Malaysian home or temples and mosques. It is customary to remove and leave footwear outside the house. This practice is also applicable when visiting religious building.

• Do use right hand to receive or giving something. The right hand should also be used for eating. It is considered discourteous in Malay custom to use your left hand when you hand over or receive things.

• Do carry essential travel document and have your health insurance and health certificate ready before your travel.

• Do be aware that the cameras, watches and pens, portable radio-cassette players, perfumes, cosmetics and lighters are duty free in Malaysia. If you are bringing in dutiable goods then a deposit is require for temporary importation, which would be refundable and departure.

• Do convert most of your currency in Malaysia. There is restriction of bringing large amount of ringgit (Malaysian currency) into or out of the country.

• Do follow simple rules when visit a Buddha temple. Show respect and remove your hat and shoes, Dress conservatively, no shorts. When sitting , never point your feet at a person or image of Buddha, Stand up to show respect When monks or nuns enter.

• Do Enter the shrine with your left foot first and exit by leading with your right foot. This gesture symbolically represents a whole.

DON’T

• Do not touch a head of an Adult. Touching people on the head is considered rude.

• Do not point forefinger at thing s, Instead, the Thumb of the right hand with four finger folded under is this proffered way.

• Do not pound your Fist into the palm of the other hand, Which is considered as obscene gesture to some peopl

• Do not point your feet towards people or Scared images.

• Do not wear hot pant and low vest at mainland beaches if you are female. Topless sunbathing is NO NO. Malay women usually go swimming fully dressed and some keep their scarves on.

• Do not kiss in public. Public behaviors’ is important in Malaysian culture. Most Malaysian refrain from displaying affections such as embracing or kissing in public.

• Do not ever touch or hand a monk something if you are a women. Even accidently brushing against their robes requires that they fast and perform a clean sing in public.

• Do not be offended if your offer of Handshake is not reciprocated by Muslim who is of the opposite sex. In Islam, Physical contact between the opposite sex is discouraged.

• Do not be embarrassed for burping. In Malay, Dining etiquette, or belching after a meal is acceptable.

• Do not discuss ethnic relation or the political system. They are both sensitive subject

• Do not drink Alcohol. The country large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.

• Do not ever involve in illegal drugs. There is mandatory death penalty for trafficking.

Demographics

According to the Malaysian Department of Statistics, the country's population was 28,334,135 in 2010, making it the 42nd most populated country. According to a 2012 estimate, the population is increasing by 1.54 percent per year. Malaysia has an average population density of 96 people per km², ranking it 116th in the world for population density. People within the 15–64 age groups constitute 69.5 percent of the total population; the 0–14 age group corresponds to 24.5 percent; while senior citizens aged 65 years or older make up 6.0 percent. In 1960, when the first official census was recorded in Malaysia, the population was 8.11 million. 91.8 per cent of the population are Malaysian citizens. Malaysian citizens are divided along ethnic lines, with 67.4 per cent considered bumiputera The largest group of bumiputera are Malays, who are defined in the constitution as Muslims who practice Malay customs and culture. They play a dominant role politically. Bumiputera status is also accorded to certain non-Malay indigenous peoples, including ethnic Thais, Khmers, Chams and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak. Non-Malay bumiputera make up more than half of Sarawak's population and over two thirds of Sabah's population. There also exist aboriginal groups in much smaller numbers on the peninsula, where they are collectively known as the Orang Asli. Laws over who gets bumiputera status vary between states.

Other minorities lack bumiputera status. 24.6 per cent of the population are of Chinese descent, while those of Indian descent comprise 7.3 per cent of the population. The Chinese have historically been dominant in the business and commerce community, and form a plurality of the population of Penang. Immigrants from India, the majority of them Tamils, began arriving in Malaysia early in the 19th century. Malaysian citizenship is not automatically granted to those born in Malaysia, but is granted to a child born of two Malaysian parents outside Malaysia. Dual citizenship is not permitted. Citizenship in the states of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo are distinct from citizenship in Peninsular Malaysia for immigration purposes. Every citizen is issued a biometric smart chip identity card known as MyKad at the age of 12, and must carry the card at all times. The education system features a non-compulsory kindergarten education followed by six years of compulsory primary education, and five years of optional secondary education. Schools in the primary education system are divided into two categories: national primary schools, which teach in Malay, and vernacular schools, which teach in Chinese or Tamil. Secondary education is conducted for five years. In the final year of secondary education, students sit for the Malaysian Certificate of Education examination. Since the introduction of the matriculation program in 1999, students who completed the 12-month program in matriculation colleges can enroll in local universities. However, in the matriculation system, only 10 per cent of places are open to non-bumiputera students.

Largest cities or towns

1. Kuala Lumpur 2. George Town
3. Ipoh 4. Petaling Jaya
5. Shah Alam 6. Johor Bahru
7. Melaka 8. Kota Kinabalu
9. Alor Setar 10. Kuala Terengganu

Languages

The official and national language of Malaysia is Malaysian, a standardised form of the Malay language. The terminology as per government policy is Bahasa Malaysia (literally "Malaysian language")but legislation continues to refer to the official language as Bahasa Melayu (literally "Malay language"). The National Language Act 1967 specifies the Latin (Rumi) script as the official script of the national language, but does not prohibit the use of the traditional Jawi script.

English remains an active second language, with its use allowed for some official purposes under the National Language Act of 1967. In Sarawak, English is an official state language alongside Malaysian. Historically, English was the de facto administrative language, with Malay becoming predominant after the 1969 race riots (13 May Incident). Malaysian English, also known as Malaysian Standard English, is a form of English derived from British English. Malaysian English is widely used in business, along with Manglish, which is a colloquial form of English with heavy Malay, Chinese, and Tamil influences. The government discourages the use of non-standard Malay but has no power to issue compounds or fines to those who use improper Malay on their advertisements.

Many other languages are used in Malaysia, which contains speakers of 137 living languages. Peninsular Malaysia contains speakers of 41 of these languages. The native tribes of East Malaysia have their own languages which are related to, but easily distinguishable from, Malay. Iban is the main tribal language in Sarawak while Dusunic and Kadazan languages are spoken by the natives in Sabah. Chinese Malaysians predominantly speak Chinese dialects from the southern provinces of China. The more common Chinese varieties in the country are Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainanese, and Fuzhou. Tamil is used predominantly by Tamils, who form a majority of Malaysian Indians. Other South Asian languages are also widely spoken in Malaysia, as well as Thai. A small number of Malaysians have Caucasian ancestry and speak creole languages, such as the Portuguese-based Malaccan Creoles, and the Spanish-based Chavacano language.

Religion

• 9.2% Christian churches

• 61.3% Islam

• 1.3% Hinduism

• 2.1 % No religion

Culture

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

In 1971, the government created a "National Cultural Policy", defining Malaysian culture. It stated that Malaysian culture must be based on the culture of the indigenous peoples of Malaysia, that it may incorporate suitable elements from other cultures, and that Islam must play a part in it. It also promoted the Malay language above others. This government intervention into culture has caused resentment among non-Malays who feel their cultural freedom was lessened. Both Chinese and Indian associations have submitted memorandums to the government, accusing it of formulating an undemocratic culture policy.

Some cultural disputes exist between Malaysia and neighboring countries, notably Indonesia. The two countries have a similar cultural heritage, sharing many traditions and items. However, disputes have arisen over things ranging from culinary dishes to Malaysia's national anthem. Strong feelings exist in Indonesia about protecting their national heritage. The Malaysian government and the Indonesian government have met to defuse some of the tensions resulting from the overlaps in culture. Feelings are not as strong in Malaysia, where most recognize that many cultural values are shared.

Festivals

Malaysians observe a number of holidays and festivities throughout the year. Some are federally gazetted public holidays and some are observed by individual states. Other festivals are observed by particular ethnic or religion groups, and the main holiday of each major group has been declared a public holiday. The most observed national holiday is Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) on 31 August, commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya in 1957.] Malaysia Day on 16 September commemorates federation in 1963. Other notable national holidays are Labor Day (1 May) and the King's birthday (first week of June).

Muslim holidays are prominent as Islam is the state religion; Hari Raya Puasa (also called Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Malay for Eid al-Fitr), Hari Raya Haji (also called Hari Raya Aidiladha, Malay for Eid ul-Adha), Maulidur Rasul (birthday of the Prophet), and others being observed. Malaysian Chinese celebrate festivals such as Chinese New Year and others relating to traditional Chinese beliefs. Hindus in Malaysia celebrate Deepavali, the festival of lights, while Thaipusam is a religious rite which sees pilgrims from all over the country converges at the Batu Caves. Malaysia's Christian community celebrates most of the holidays observed by Christians elsewhere, most notably Christmas and Easter. East Malaysians also celebrate a harvest festival known as Gawai, and another one known as Kaamatan. Despite most festivals being identified with a particular ethnic or religious group, celebrations are universal. In a custom known as "open house" Malaysians participate in the celebrations of others, often visiting the houses of those who identify with the festival.

Climate

Around these two halves of Malaysia are numerous islands, the largest of which is Banggi. The local climate is equatorial and characterized by the annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons. The temperature is moderated by the presence of the surrounding oceans. Humidity is usually high, and the average annual rainfall is 250 cm (98 in). The climates of the Peninsula and the East differ, as the climate on the peninsula is directly affected by wind from the mainland, as opposed to the more maritime weather of the East. Local climates can be divided into three regions, highland, lowland, and coastal. Climate change is likely to affect sea levels and rainfall, increasing flood risks and leading to droughts.

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