FAST FACTS



Country Malaysia comprises of 13 states in Peninsular Malaysia, namely Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Penang, Selangor, Terengganu and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya; Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo and the Federal Territory of Labuan off Sabah.
Geographical Location Malaysia lies entirely in the equatorial zone and is separated from the states of Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. To the north of Peninsular Malaysia is Thailand while its southern neighbour is Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak are north of Indonesia in Borneo while Sarawak also shares a border with Brunei. 
 Area 330,803 square kilometres
 Capital Kuala Lumpur
 People Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country. The primary ethnic groups are Malay (50%), Chinese (23%) and Indian (7%). Other significant groups are the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak, including Kadazan, Dusun, Bajau, Murut, Iban, Bidayuh and Melanau.
 Language Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the national language but English is widely spoken. The ethnic groups also speak various languages and dialects.
 Religion Islam is the official religion followed by Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and other others. All religions are freely practised.
 Government Malaysia practices a system of Parliamentary democracy with constitutional monarchy. It has three branches of government, namely the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The Head of State is the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, a position that is awarded to a different State Monarch every five years and the Head of Government is the Prime Minister. 
 Weather and Clothing Tropical climate with warm weather all year round. Temperatures in the lowlands range between 21ºC (70ºF) and 32ºC (90ºF). The highlands are cooler, where temperatures range between 15°C (59° F) and 25°C (77°F). Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm. Malaysia is a Muslim country and although we are more liberal, it is advisable for tourists to not wear too revealing outfit out of respect to the locals especially in the more rural areas and religious grounds.
 Economic Profile Manufacturing constitutes the largest single component of Malaysia's economy. Tourism and primary commodities such as petroleum, palm oil, natural rubber and timber are other major contributors to the economy.
 Currency Malaysia Ringgit (RM) 100 sen = RM1.00. Foreign currency and traveller’s cheques can be converted to Malaysian Ringgits at banks, most hotels and licensed money changers. International credit cards are acceptable in most hotels, restaurants and many shops. The Ringgit exchange rate operates on a managed-float time regime against a trade-weighted basket of currencies.
Time Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.
 Transport Malaysia has a well-developed and efficient public transportation system served by buses, cabs and trains.
 Banks Both international and local banks operate in Malaysia. A number of merchant bankers, finance companies and offshore financial institutions are also established here. 
Key Economic Indicators  
   2011  2012
 Population (million)  28.6  28.9
 Labour force (million)  12.6  12.9
 Employment (million)  12.2  12.5
 Unemployment rate (%)  3.1  3.2
 Nominal GDP (RM billion)  881.1  936.8
 Real GDP growth rate (% p.a)  5.1  4.0-5.0
 Per capita income RM  29,661  31,215
 Per capita income US$  9,693  9,755
 Inflation (% p.a)  3.2  2.5-3.0
 Merchandise exports (RM billion)  696.6  717.8
 Merchandise imports (RM billion)  548.5  562.2


*Source: Malaysian Economy in Figures 2012 (Economic Planning Unit)