Malaysia Destinations Travel Guide

Flag of Malaysia

Language: Malay

Currency: Ringgit (RM)

Calling Code: +60


Malaysia or Federation of Malaysia, is one of the forty-nine countries that make up the Asian continent. Its capital and most populated city is Kuala Lumpur but Putrajaya is the seat of government. It is located in the central area of ​​the Southeast Asian subregion, distributed in a territory divided into two regions by the South China Sea. Peninsular Malaysia is located on the Malay Peninsula and borders Thailand to the north and Singapore to the south. East Malaysia, for its part, is located in the northern Borneo and borders Indonesia to the south and Brunei to the north. It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, with an area of ​​329 847 km², has a population of twenty-seven million inhabitants, is located near the equator and has a tropical climate.

Its head of state is the monarch Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and the government is the prime minister. The foundations of his government take as a starting point the parliamentary system of Westminster.

The country only began to exist as a unified state in 1963; its territory, dominated by the United Kingdom from the eighteenth century until independence, was until that year divided into a series of colonies. Its eastern half was composed of separate kingdoms, known as British Malaysia until its dissolution in 1946, and reorganized as the Malayan Union. Due to the great opposition, it was reorganized once again as the Malaya Federation in 1948 and reached independence on August 31, 1957. Singapore, Sarawak, North Borneo and the Federation united to form Malaysia on September 16, 1963. But from the beginning strong tensions arose that led to an armed conflict with Indonesia and the expulsion of Singapore on August 9, 1965.

During the second half of the 20th century, the country experienced an economic bonanza that allowed it to develop rapidly. The growth of the 1980s and 1990s, with an average of 8% from 1991 to 1997, transformed Malaysia into a newly industrialized country, since it is one of the three countries that control the Strait of Malacca, international trade is part It is the main exporter of tin, rubber and palm oil, industrial activity accounts for a large percentage of its economic activity, it also has a great biodiversity of flora and fauna, he considers him one of the seventeen mega-diverse countries.

The Malays constitute the majority of the national population. There are also considerable Chinese and Indian communities, the Malay language and Islam respectively being the official language and religion of the Federation. English, Chinese and Tamil are also spoken

Malaysia is one of the founding countries of ASEAN and is a member of other international organizations such as the United Nations, as a former British colony it is part of the Commonwealth of Nations.


When to go

Those who intend to visit Malaysia will have to deal with the rains well distributed throughout the year. However these are more abundant in some periods on different territories. The country is in fact subject to a double monsoon:

The northeast monsoon blows from late October to early March bringing with it often heavy rains that pour over Borneo and the east coast of the Malacca peninsula and often causing catastrophic flooding. Conversely, the west coast (particularly Langkawi and Penang) emerges unscathed.
Less violent than the previous one, the southwest monsoon between May and September reverses the pattern and brings frequent but short showers to western Peninsular Malaysia.
Many parts of the country's interior are exposed to the action of both monsoons, including the city of Kuala Lumpur which experiences consistently humid weather with brief but intense showers.

Situated at a northern latitude approximately between 2°30' and 6°70', Malaysia is characterized by a sub-equatorial climate with insignificant annual and diurnal temperature ranges (32°C-26°C) but with a high level of humidity in the air. Temperatures tend to be cooler in the highlands, with locations such as Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands and Fraser's Hill having temperatures ranging from around 17°C at night to around 25°C during the day. Mount Kinabalu is known for having temperatures that drop below 10°C.

Hotels apply high season rates from early December to late January and around major holidays such as Ramadan and Chinese New Year.

Another peak season runs from June to the end of August when in Malaysia.


Travel Destination in Malaysia

Endau Rompin National Park is located in Johor and Pahang states of Malaysia.

Gunung Ledang is a isolated mountain situated in a state of Johor in Malaysia.

Niah Caves is famous for remains of an ancient human settlement situated on the Malaysian island of Borneo. Taman Negara National Park is a large nature reserve in the states of Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu.


Getting here

Entry requirements

For German, Swiss and Austrian nationals there is no visa requirement for a stay of up to three months without employment. When entering the state of Sarawak, a separate entry note is issued, which is usually valid for 30 days. The passport must be valid for at least six months upon entry. In June 2011, Malaysia introduced a new immigration policy requiring all visitors to the country to be fingerprinted upon entry. Appropriate devices have been installed at most border crossings, but it is still possible to enter the country without a fingerprint.


Pensioner permanent residence

Sarawak offers wealthy people the opportunity to enter the country at an advanced age with the program called “Malaysia My Second Home” (S-MM2H for short). (A similar nationwide program, with stricter conditions, has been suspended by the central government until further notice.)
The application must be made in person at the MTAC, Bangunan BaitulmakmurII, Petrajaya Sarawak. After a processing time of about three months, the applicant receives a permanent residence permit for the whole of Malaysia, but one must spend at least 15 days per year in Sarawak. The permit is initially valid for as long as the current passport, up to a maximum of ten years, and can be extended. Conditions are, in addition to a medical examination on site:

Minimum age 50 years (no age limit for spouses) RM150,000 assets (300,000 for married couples) in in-country account or state (or guaranteed) pension of 7000RM/month (10,000 for couples), or
40-50 years old and owning property in the country of at least RM600,000.
Underage children of school age also receive a residence permit, but must attend an educational institution in Sarawak. Other dependent relatives receive a “social pass” for one year.


By plane

The country's main air hub is Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which is served directly by many airlines. The domestic airline Malaysia Airlines, which is not recommended, maintains an extensive international route network and a modern aircraft fleet. Each seat has its own video or game screen, which shortens the travel time a little. If you don't travel in the high season, you even have a good chance of being able to claim two to three seats. The discount airline Air Asia maintains a branched route network within Southeast Asia and sometimes offers quite inexpensive flights. Kota Kinabalu Airport has now become the second busiest airport. Some inner-Asian international flight routes are also served from there.

Entry via Singapore is often worthwhile. Many airlines fly to this international aviation hub, so the competition and price pressure is correspondingly high.


Connections to Europe

Malaysia Airlines: The home team flies to Kuala Lumpur, often code-sharing, from Amsterdam, Frankfurt am Main, London, Paris and Rome.
Skyteam: KLM flies non-stop from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and on to Jakarta for the Skyteam alliance.
Star Alliance: For Star Alliance passengers, the connections are only suboptimal. Lufthansa offers a flight from Frankfurt am Main, but with a stopover in Bangkok. Other options are Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways, but with a change at the respective home airport.
other airlines: Another popular option is the various Arab airlines. As a rule, they offer first-class service and sometimes even real bargain prices. Another advantage is that the stopover is about halfway, so the flight is divided into two times about 6-7 hours. For travelers who find flying downright uncomfortable and inconvenient, a small sigh of relief - as opposed to the 12-hour non-stop ordeal.
In most cases, travelers from Germany have to go to Frankfurt am Main. If you draw the card with the Arab societies, you have a little more choice. In addition to Munich, Qatar Airways even offers a connection from Berlin. Emirates also flies to Munich, Hamburg and Dusseldorf. Etihad also offers Munich as an option.


Connections within Southeast Asia

Indonesia: Malaysia is linked to its southern neighbor by a number of air routes. Many of the routes are now also served by low-cost airlines. Air Asia now has an Indonesian branch and offers a whole range of flight routes.
Java: Air Aisa flies from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Kinabalu. Kuala Lumpur is also accessible from Bandung, Yogyakarta, Solo and Surabaya. With the exception of Solo, the routes are also offered by Malaysia Airlines.
Sumatra: Air Asia serves the island of Penang and Kuala Lumpur from Medan. Banda Aceh, Pekanbaru and Padang are connected to KL. MAS only has the connection from Medan and the capital in the program.
Kalimantan: The Indonesian part of Borneo is surprisingly poorly connected to Malaysia. There are currently no direct flights. Here the detour via Jakarta is necessary. Those who want to travel to Malaysia's south have an option with Singapore's Silk Air. She flies direct to Balikpapan.
other regions: Air Aisa and Malaysia Airlines fly from Bali to KL, the budget airline also from Makassar.
Cambodia: Both Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia serve both the capital and Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor Wat. The low-cost airline flies directly to both destinations once a day, MAS flies "in a triangle".
Myanmar: Air Asia flies to Yangon once a day
Philippines: Air Asia serves the cities of Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu from Clark near Manila. Both cities are also served by the Philippine Cebu Pacific Air from Manila. MAS flies directly to Manila Airport.
Thailand: Malaysia has an extensive route network with its northern neighbor. The following airlines operate between the two countries:
Air Asia: Kuala Lumpur ↔ Bangkok, Hat Yai, Chiang Mai, Krabi and Penang ↔ Bangkok
Malaysia Airlines: Kuala Lumpur ↔ Bangkok, Phuket, Ko Samui
Thai Airways: Bangkok ↔ Kuala Lumpur, Penang
Vietnam: Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia fly to the metropolises of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City once a day, Mon-Sun. Vietnam Airlines serves the Malaysian capital once a day from Hanoi and twice a day from Ho Chi Minh City.


By train

From Singapore: Shuttle trains run several times a day from Woodlands Station in northern Singapore across the Johor Strait to Johor Bahru on the southern tip of Malaysia. Crossing the border takes just 5 minutes and costs 5 Singapore dollars. In Johor Bahru one can change to long-distance trains of the Malaysian railway KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu), which travel north to Gemas (Negeri Sembilan) and further along the so-called Jungle Railway through the east coast states to Kuala Lipis (Pahang) and Kota Bharu (Kelantan ) drive.

If, on the other hand, you want to go towards the west coast, e.g. B. to Kuala Lumpur, you have to change again in Gemas: There is a connection to the faster, electrified ETS trains that go to the major population centers of the country. So currently you have to change trains twice between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and it takes around 10 hours. It is therefore only recommended if you are an enthusiastic train traveler, have a lot of time and/or want to spend as little money as possible. Otherwise, bus or plane are preferable. This should change in a few years with the progressive expansion of the electrified line to the south. The tickets can be conveniently purchased online via the KTM booking site.

From Thailand: The State Railway of Thailand operates the route from the Thai capital Bangkok to Padang Besar on the Thai-Malaysia border (Perlis state). In addition, shuttle trains run twice a day between the southern Thai city of Hat Yai and the Padang Besar border station. There you can change to the faster, electric ETS train towards Kuala Lumpur or to local trains towards Butterworth (Penang). Tickets for the Thai leg can be purchased online from the Thai Railways booking site, and for the Malaysia leg from KTM.

On the east coast, i. H. between the southern Thai province of Narathiwat and the Malaysian state of Kelantan, there are no cross-border passenger trains. On the Thai side, you can only drive as far as the border town of Su-ngai Kolok. Then you cross the border on foot, can take a bus or a taxi in the Malaysian neighboring town of Rantau Panjang to Pasir Mas, 21 km away, where you can continue by train.

Detailed and usually up-to-date information on the sometimes complicated rail links between Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore can be found on the private websites and, run by rail enthusiasts. The travel planning platform, which takes train, bus, flight and ferry connections into account, can also be helpful.

A very special train should not go unmentioned, the Eastern and Oriental Express. This very special railway experience offers pure luxury and fascinating Southeast Asian landscapes. It connects destinations in Singapore, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur and Penang), Thailand (Trang, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Surin) and Laos (Vientiane). Different routes from 3 to 7 days are offered. The long tour Fables of the Hills (7 days from Singapore to Bangkok with some excursions and sightseeing) costs 2011$6200/8100 (Pullman Superior or Single State Cabin/Presidential Suite). The fast tour from Singapore to Bangkok in three days is already available for $1700/2410/3390 (Pullman Superior/Single State Cabin/Presidential Suite).


Bus, shared taxi

Thailand: There is regular bus service between the two countries between larger towns close to the border.
Hat Yai (Songkhla, Thailand) ↔ Butterworth or George Town (Penang, Malaysia): Buses and shared taxis operate on the route. The journey time is approx. 4 hours.
Betong (Yala, Thailand) ↔ Sungai Petani (Kedah, Malaysia): Shared taxis run regularly along this route
Ban Taba (Narathiwat, Thailand) ↔ Kota Bharu (Kelantan, Malaysia): You can take a taxi for the few kilometers. From Ban Taba there is a bus connection to the Thai provincial capital Narathiwat (1.5 hours)
Singapore: Aeroline's particularly comfortable buses run several times a day between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. There are also several connections between Petaling Jaya and Singapore. A special feature of these buses is the possibility of booking via the Internet.
Indonesia: In western Borneo there is the only road connection between the two countries. The border town is Entikong. It is a 7-hour bus ride from Pontianak. Once at the border, the same bus continues in three hours to Sarawak's capital, Kuching.


In the street

There is a motorway connection between Thailand and Malaysia, the A4. From Hat Yai (Thailand) the route goes to Alor Setar in Malaysia (and on to Kuala Lumpur via Butterworth, Taiping and Ipoh). Other border crossings are inland (Betong ↔ Sungai Petani) and in the east (Sungai Golok ↔ Kota Bharu). Malaysia's southern town of Johor Bahru is linked to the city-state of Singapore by a causeway. The border between Indonesia and Malaysia on the island of Borneo runs through remote areas not served by major roads. There is only one border crossing in western Sarawak south of the capital Kuching. The border town is Entikong


By boat

Thailand: There are two regular ship connections between the two countries.
West Coast: A regular ferry service connects Thailand's Satun (Satun) with Malaysia's Kuala Perlis (Perlis) and the island of Langkawi. Driving time to Kuala Perlis is 30 minutes and to the popular resort island in 1.5 hours. Boats depart from Tammalang Pier about 10 kilometers south of the city of Satun. There is an immigration office at the pier. Here you should already have the entry to Malaysia stamped in your passport.
East coast: There is also a regular ship connection between the two coastal towns of Ban Taba (Narathiwat, Thailand) and Pengkalan Kubor (Kelantan, Malaysia). Ban Taba can be reached in 1.5 hours from the provincial capital Narathiwat, the Malaysian town is only 20 kilometers away from Kota Bharu.

Indonesia: Malaysia is linked to its southern neighbor by a number of ferry routes.
Tanjung Balai (North Sumatra) ↔ Klang Port - Comfortable air-conditioned boats connect Klang Port to Sumatra's Tanjung Balai. You need three and a half hours for the journey. Visitors entering Indonesia through this location require a visa, which can be obtained from the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Boat tickets are available at the jetty.
aero speed Phone: +60 (0)3-31652545. Daily departure except Sunday at 11:00.
MV Aman Satu by Sweeting Trading Sdn Bhd. Phone: +60 (0)3-31657501. Departs daily at 11:00 - RM 100/190 (one way/round trip)
MV Boeing Sky King/Boeing Sky King II. Tel: (0)3-31660390. Departs daily at 11:00 - RM 100/190 (one way/round trip)

Dumai (Riau) ↔ Port Klang - There are also several providers for the journey from Dumai. Whoever enters Indonesia here does not need a visa. Travel time is less than 3 hours.
Indomal Express/Malaysia Express. Phone: +60 (0)3-31671058. The departure times are on the notice board. Mostly 09:00 am. - Rm 100.00 one way.
MV Pelita Jaya Express/Sabang Marindo II. Tel: +60 (0)3-31660122. Departs daily at 10:30 - RM 80/150 (one way/round trip)

Medan (North Sumatra) ↔ Penang - Boats depart from the port of Pelabuhan Belawan. The journey takes 6 hours.
Langkawi Ferry Service. Phone: +62 (0)61-4521666. Departure is Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (return: Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Price: Adult: RM 110/180 (round trip), Child: RM 60/100 (round trip). In the summer of 2010, all companies ceased operations to and from Medan.

Kepulauan Riau ↔ Johor Bahru - The Riau Islands offer a boat connection to Johor Bahru. Sailing from Bintan and Batam Arriving at the ZON ferry terminal 1.8 kilometers north of the causeway to Singapore.
Bintan Daily 09:15, 11:00, 13:30, 15:00 and 17:30 Adults RM 86/144 (round trip), Children: RM 54/86 (round trip). There is also a fee of 8 ringgit. Driving time: 150 minutes
Batam Every half hour (7:30-6:30PM) and 09:00, 11:00, 15:00 and 17:00. Adult RM 69/110 (round trip), Child: RM 46/69 (round trip). There is also a fee of 8 ringgit. Driving time: 90 minutes
Philippines: There is a ferry service between Zamboanga City (Mindanao) and Sandakan (Sabah).


Local transport

By plane

If you intend to travel by plane within Malaysia, a flight with the low-cost airline Air Asia is extremely inexpensive and reliable. Comparable to European low-cost airlines, the service here is reduced to a minimum, and there is even no seat numbering. Whoever comes first gets a window seat. Since the flights are usually very short, people are happy to accept this loss of comfort in favor of an extremely cheap fare. You can book with your credit card directly on the website. A credit card is required for payment, which is safe to use. If you bring the printout of the booking confirmation with you, you will immediately get the flight ticket. Air Asia also offers direct booking at every Asian airport.

Firefly flies daily from Penang to Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan, Langkawi, Koh Samui and Phuket FAX- For those who want to discover Sabah and Sarawak on individually planned tours, FAX offers good and inexpensive connections to the regions and between different locations. The following cities are served with Fokker 50 or Twin Otter: Bario, Bakelalan, Belaga, Bintulu, Kuching, Kudat, Kota Kinabalu, Lahad Datu, Labuan, Lawas, Limbang, Long Banga, Long Akah, Long Seridan, Long Lellang, Marudi, Miri, Mulu, Mukah, Sandakan, Sibu and Tawau. Some flight connections are only served once or twice a day. SilkAir, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, also flies directly to Kota Kinabalu on Saturdays. Interesting for everyone who wants to fly from Europe with Singapore Airlines.


By train

The western part of Malaysia has a well-developed rail network. This means of transport is particularly recommended if you want to cover long distances comfortably (but not fly). The Malaysian state railway company is called KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu). Tickets for long-distance trains can be booked online in advance on the fairly clear English-language site.

The trains basically fall into three categories:

The ETS (Electric Train Service) is fully electrified and looks very modern and dynamic, the shape of the trains is reminiscent of the German ICE. However, it drives at a maximum of 140 km/h, not even as fast as the Intercity trains in Central Europe, which is also due to the fact that the Malaysian network has a track width of only one meter. Nevertheless, it is so far the fastest train in Southeast Asia. The ETS operates primarily on the West Coast Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh-Taiping route, with individual trains also continuing to/from Gemas (Negeri Sembilan) in the south, Butterworth (Penang) or Alor Setar (Kedah) in the north to Padang Besar on the Thai border . The compartments are also modern and comfortable. Within the ETS category, a distinction is made between silver, gold and platinum service, depending on how many intermediate stops the train makes (silver has the most intermediate stops, platinum the fewest). For example, the KL-Ipoh route takes 2½ hours with the ETS Gold and pays MYR 36; from KL to Butterworth 4:20 hrs for 59 MYR.

KTM Intercity is not to be confused with the intercity trains in Europe, but refers to the traditional, diesel-powered long-distance trains that travel at a maximum of 110 km/h. They are mostly pulled by locomotives from the 1970s, and the compartments are not quite as modern either. As the west coast route is largely electrified and served by the ETS, the intercity trains mainly operate on the "east coast route" (which is actually mostly inland): from Tumpat (Kelantan) via Kota Bharu, Gua Musang (Kelantan), Kuala Lipis (Pahang) and Gemas (there is a connection to the ETS there) to Johor Bahru and partly to Woodlands, a suburb of Singapore. Some trains do not run the entire route from the north to the south end, but only a section. Within the Intercity category, two train types are distinguished: Shuttles stop at every station on the way, Ekspres only at the larger stations. From JB to Kota Bharu, for example, it takes almost 18 hours on the Ekspres Rakyat Timuran and costs MYR 49 in a sleeper car.
Traditional sleeping cars are still used on the long intercity routes. In contrast to sleeping cars in Europe, the seats in the open-plan compartments are simply folded down and curtains are pulled out. So you shouldn't have too high demands on silence and privacy.

KTM Komuter (from the English word commuter, meaning commuter) are commuter trains. They are primarily offered in the greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley area (Klang Valley Integrated Transit System), and to a lesser extent in the northern states of Penang, Perak and Perlis. Very modern cars are used in the Klang Valley, while the trains on the northern routes date from the 1990s.

The expansion of the East Coast route between Port Klang-Kuala Lumpur-Kota Bahru-Tumpat began in 2017.

In East Malaysia (on the island of Borneo), the state of Sabah has its own railway company: The Sabah State Railway (SSR) with a single, 134-kilometer line from Tanjung Aru (a suburb of Kota Kinabalu) via Papar and Beaufort to Tenom. There are no rail connections in Sarawak.

Since May 2017, ID must be presented when purchasing tickets for long-distance trains.


By bus

There is a well-developed network of public buses and some very well-developed trunk roads. Tickets (always with seat reservations) can be bought at the respective counters in the bus stations on site, but it makes sense to buy them the day before the planned trip to make sure you get a ticket, as the buses are very busy. There are "normal" buses with about 40 seats and "Super Vip buses" with 24 seats, which are only slightly more expensive, but are newer and offer more space, which is very pleasant on long journeys. The VIP buses only have three seats in a row. The seats can usually be folded back very far and with the associated footrest an almost flat bed is created. These buses are always air-conditioned and the temperature is kept to a maximum, making a jacket and long trousers and socks essential.


By bicycle

From a purely practical point of view, it can be summed up in one sentence: no Malaysians ride bicycles. The country is de-facto bicycle-free, although it is definitely suitable for cycling. Renting a bike is still hopeless at the moment. The only thing that helps is to bring your own with you on the plane. Tour operators are slowly trying to offer local options and tours. The first offers are currently starting in the Kuala Lumpur area.



Through settlement and trade, especially from the port cities, a whole series of kingdoms and sultanates formed in the 10th century in what is now Malaysia. Arab traders brought Islam to Southeast Asia. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the region at the beginning of the 16th century and left their mark, among other things, on a mixed population in Malacca that still speaks a Portuguese Creole language today. Around 1640 the Portuguese were supplanted by the Dutch, who in turn had to give way to the British. The first British settlement was the Straits Settlements in 1826. From here, the British gradually brought the empires and sultanates of the Malacca Peninsula under their control. Some formed the Federated Malay States in 1896. Other sultanates were controlled with the help of advisors. Sabah (Northeast Borneo) became a British protectorate, Sarawak became private property of the Brooke family. During World War II, the Japanese occupied the entire region. After the end of the war, the Malays demanded more self-determination. In 1957 the Federation of Malaya was formed - the country became independent. Singapore and the protectorates of Sarawak and North Borneo joined in 1963. From now on the federation called itself Malaysia. However, Singapore left the association two years later.



The Malaysians represent a fairly colorful and interesting mixture of people. 50.4% of the residents are Malays whose ancestors, however, also come from different regions of the world. Currently 23.7% of the population are Chinese. They are primarily found in the country's cities and most heavily on the west coast of the peninsula (e.g. George Town, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur) due to the country's history. The Chinese account for a particularly large share of the country's trade and commerce. Indigenous peoples currently make up 11% of the country's population. Many are found in East Malaysia (Borneo) in the states of Sabah and Sarawak. The best known among them are the Murut or the Kadazan, as well as the Iban and Bidayuh. They are summarized under the name Dayak. West Malaysia also has a small indigenous group, the Orang Asli. 7.1% of the residents are Indians. The rest is spread across a whole range of other nationalities.

Malaysians are the citizens of Malaysia, while Malay is an ethnic designation, but understood in very different ways. Outdated, it is used for all residents of Southeast Asia, others include the speakers of Austronesian languages of the region, and still others only those who speak the Malay language (Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia). In Malaysia, the Muslim faith is also expected as a prerequisite.

A separate Malay word was coined as a collective term for the Malays and smaller ethnic groups such as Javanese, Bugis, Minangkabaus, Dayak and Orang Asli: Bumiputra. It derives from the Sanskrit word Bhumiputra (Bhumi=earth, Putra=son). In 1971, Malaysia's government introduced the New Economic Policy. It states a preference for the Bumiputras over other members of the Malaysian population such as Chinese and Indians. During the colonial period, the non-native ethnic groups were preferred. In fact, the Chinese and Indians are predominantly urban, often highly educated, and often engaged in commerce or entrepreneurship, which has made some of them very prosperous. The Muslim Malays, on the other hand, lived mostly in the countryside, were less educated on average and mainly worked in less lucrative agriculture. The British colonial rulers also used a disproportionately large number of Chinese and Indians in their administration - on the one hand because of their better education, on the other hand because they appeared more loyal to the colonial power, while the Malays tended to strive for independence. This should now be compensated for by measures of “positive discrimination” (affirmative action): 80% of public service positions are to be filled with bumiputras. “Non-Bumis” have almost no chance of advancement, for example in the army and police. The situation is similar with the places at universities.



Malaysia's constitution is unique in the world - at best comparable to the United Arab Emirates. It is a federation of 13 states, nine of which are independent monarchies, each with its own sultan. In contrast, Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak are governed by a governor. The head of state of Malaysia is sometimes referred to as "King", but this is somewhat inaccurate. In fact, the nine sultans elect one of their own to be the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who represents the entire state to the outside world as a "first among equals". It is traditional that the nine sultanates alternate in a certain order. In contrast to the United Arab Emirates, the role of the sultans and the head of state is more ceremonial.

Actual policy is determined by a parliament elected by the people and a prime minister elected by the people. There are a large number of parties, most of which come together to form electoral alliances. The elections are mostly free – but not entirely fair. For decades, the constituencies were always tailored in such a way that the Malay nationalist UMNO always received the most seats – even if (as was the case in 2013) another alliance got more votes nationwide. It was only in 2018 that the UMNO was ousted from the government for the first time since independence. However, this has not necessarily brought a breath of fresh air into the government: Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad was almost 93 years old when he took office, making him the oldest head of government in the world.

The 13 states each have their own parliament and prime minister. There are also three federal territories - Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan - which are administered directly by the central government but also have a degree of self-government.



It is believed that the name Melayu comes from the Sanskrit words Malaiur or Malayadvipa, which can be translated as "mountain country". This word was mentioned by Indian traders in relation to the Malay Peninsula. According to another version, the name comes from the Tamil word Malai "mountain". The French navigator Jules Dumont-Durville, after his expedition to Oceania in 1826, suggested using the names "Malaysia", "Micronesia" and "Melanesia" to designate groups of islands separate from Polynesia. In 1831 he proposed these names to the French Geographical Society. Dumont-D'Urville called Malaysia "the territory known as the East Indies". In 1850, the English ethnologist George Samuel Windsor wrote in the Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia, proposing the names Melayunesia or Indunesia for the islands of southeast Asia.

In 1957, the Federation of Malaya, which included the states on the Malay Peninsula, declared its independence. The name "Malaysia" was adopted in 1963, when Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak joined the federation. Thus, the particle "si" was added to the name in honor of the accession of three states. Prior to this, the name "Malaysia" was used in relation to the entire Malay Archipelago.


State structure

Malaysia is an elected federal constitutional monarchy, which consists of 13 states - subjects of the federation (states) and three federal territories (11 states and two federal territories are located on the Malay Peninsula, and two states (Sabah and Sarawak) - on the island of Kalimantan and one federal Territory (Labuan) - off its northwest coast. Nine states are monarchies. Seven of them are headed by sultans. The ruler of the state of Negeri Sembilan bears the traditional Malay title of Yang di-Pertuan Besar. The ruler of the state of Perlis bears the title of raja In the monarchical states, the head of the executive branch is the chief minister (menteri besar) Each ruler is also the spiritual head of his state The other 4 states are headed by governors appointed by the central government The executive branch in each of these 4 states is also headed by a chief minister called ketua menteri in Malay Federal territories govern are directly administered by the central government.

Every five years, nine monarchs choose from among themselves a Supreme Ruler (in Malay, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong) and his assistant-deputy - as a rule, for reasons of seniority or length of reign. The supreme ruler and the sultans perform mainly representative functions, but all laws and amendments to the constitution are subject to their approval. The main functions of state administration are performed by the parliament and the cabinet of ministers, headed by the federal prime minister. The Malaysian Parliament consists of two chambers: the lower - the House of Representatives and the upper - the Senate. The House of Representatives is elected by direct universal suffrage. The Senate consists of elected members (two from each state) and members appointed by the Supreme Ruler on the advice of the government. Executive power belongs to the federal government, headed by the prime minister, who becomes the leader of the party that wins elections to the House of Representatives. All ministers must be members of parliament, that is, win the election.

In Malaysia, religious freedom is proclaimed, but the official religion is Islam, which is practiced by 60% of the population. Issues related to divorce and inheritance are decided by Muslims in Sharia courts, and secular courts do not have the right to review their decisions.

Prime Ministers of Malaysia
1963-1970 - Abdul Rahman
1970-1976 - Abdul Razak
1976-1981 - Hussein Onn
1981-2003 - Mahathir Mohamad
2003-2009 - Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
2009-2018 - Najib Tun Razak
2018-2020 - Mahathir Mohamad
2020—present— Mukhiddin Yassin

After Great Britain was forced to grant independence to the Federation of Malaya, the constitutional commission, which began to prepare the basic law of the Malay state, was guided in its work by the memorandum of the Union Party on constitutional issues, which proposed that in exchange for granting citizenship to non-Malays, create a special position for the indigenous inhabitants of the country. This memorandum is called an intercommunal compromise. In fact, it was achieved at the level of the very upper strata of society and did not reflect the interests of the main groups of national communities. The constitution came into force on the day of the declaration of independence of the Federation of Malaya on August 31, 1957. In 1963, in connection with the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, additions were made to it (the Malaysia Act). He did not change the essence of the constitution, which still combines the ideas of Western democracy and the principles of ensuring the special rights of the country's indigenous population.

Judicial branch
The court has the power to interpret the constitution and laws, to declare federal and state laws null and void if they are not in accordance with the constitution or federal laws or if they are outside the competence of the federal or state legislative assembly (parliament), to declare illegal any action of the government. The constitution provides for the Supreme Court of the country, the High Court of Malaya (for West Malaysia) and the High Court of Borneo (for East Malaysia). The lower courts are defined by federal law. The lowest court is conciliatory. He deals with disputes not exceeding 50 ring in financial terms, and has the right to impose a fine up to 25 ring. Established only in West Malaysia. Courts for juveniles (persons under 18 years of age), if a minor is found guilty, send him to a correctional colony, where he studies and learns a trade until the age of 21.


Administrative-territorial division

West Malaysia
Sultanate of Johor (capital Johor Bahru), code: JH
Sultanate of Kedah (capital Alor Setar), code: KH
Sultanate of Kelantan (capital of Kota Bharu), code: KN
Governorate of Malacca (capital of Malacca), code: MK
Negeri Sembilan State (capital of Seremban), code: NS
Sultanate of Pahang (capital Kuantan), code: PH
Sultanate of Perak (capital Ipoh), Code: PK
Rajanath Perlis (Kangar capital), Code: PS
Penang Governorate (capital Georgetown), code: PP or PN
Sultanate of Selangor (capital of Shah Alam), code: SL
Sultanate of Terengganu (capital of Kuala Terengganu), code: TR

From September 16, 1963 to August 9, 1965, Singapore was another state of West Malaysia.
Federal territories:
Putrajaya (new administrative center), code: PTJ
Kuala Lumpur (capital of the federation and economic center), code: KL

East Malaysia
Governorate of Sabah, formerly British North Borneo (capital of Kota Kinabalu, formerly Jesselton), code: SBH
Governorate of Sarawak (capital Kuching), code: SWK
Federal territory:
Labuan (capital city of Bandar Labuan), code: LB



General characteristics
Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia. The territory of the state consists of two parts: peninsular (Peninsula of Malacca) and eastern (northern part of the island of Kalimantan), which are separated by the South China Sea. The area of ​​Malaysia is 329,847 km² (65th in the world). The peninsular part borders Thailand to the north and Singapore to the south, while the eastern part borders Indonesia to the south and Brunei to the north. In addition, Malaysia is connected by a narrow causeway to Singapore; there are also maritime borders with Vietnam and the Philippines. Cape Piai at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula is the southernmost point of all continental Eurasia. The peninsular part of the country is separated from the island of Sumatra by the Malacca Strait, which is one of the most important sea routes in the world.

The peninsular part makes up about 39.7% of the total area of ​​Malaysia and extends for 740 km from north to south and 322 km from west to east (at its widest point). The Titiwangsa mountain range runs through the central part of the peninsula; the highest point of the peninsula is Mount Gunung Tahan (2187 m above sea level). The coastline of the peninsular part of the country is 1931 km, convenient bays are available only on the western coast. The eastern part of the country accounts for 60.3% of the total area and has a coastline of 2607 km. Between the states of Sarawak and Sabah is the Crocker mountain range, where the country's highest point, Mount Kinabalu (4095 m), is located. Mountain ranges also stretch along the border with Indonesia. Between the two parts of the country there are many islands belonging to Malaysia, the largest of which is Bangui.


Inland waters

Malaysia is characterized by a dense river network, however, due to the small size and location of the country, there are no large rivers in Malaysia. The rivers are full-flowing throughout the year. During the rainy season, their level rises sharply and significantly, which often leads to floods in a number of areas. The longest river in the country is the Rajang, which flows in the state of Sarawak and has a length of 760 km. The second longest river is the Kinabatangan, 560 km long, flowing in the state of Sabah. The longest river in the peninsular part of the country is Pahang, 435 km long. The country's largest freshwater lake, Bera, is located in the southwest of the state of Pahang. The second largest lake - Chini (Tasik-Chini), is located in the central part of the state of Pahang, its area is 5026 hectares. The largest reservoir in Malaysia is Kenir, with an area of ​​260 km², located in the state of Terengganu. It arose as a result of the construction of the dam of the country's largest hydroelectric power station.



Most of the country is characterized by red-yellow ferralitic soils, in the valleys and on the coasts - alluvial. Alluvial soils are quite fertile, while ferrallitic soils are not very productive due to severe erosion caused by heavy rainfall. In addition, the country's soils are characterized by high acidity, coarse texture and low humus content. The most fertile soils are found in the southeast of the state of Sabah, where the source material from which the soils are formed is based on volcanic products. In many parts of the country the soils are depleted due to the continuous cultivation of the same crops.


Geology and minerals

Malaysia is a mountainous country. Features of the geological structure of the peninsular and eastern parts of the country are very different. Western Malaysia is characterized by Mesozoic folding. The eastern part of the country is characterized by Cenozoic folding.

There are large reserves of oil, tin, tungsten ore, bauxite, copper, and iron. In addition, there are small deposits of brown coal, titanium, manganese, antimony, gold, and phosphorites. Most of the oil reserves are concentrated on the shelf of the state of Sabah. Tin deposits are located mainly in the west of the peninsular part of the country and stretch from the border with Thailand to Singapore. Together with gold, tungsten, iron, niobium, tantalum, yttrium and other rare and rare earth metals are found here. In the central part of the Malay Peninsula there are insignificant deposits of gold, copper and zinc. In Sarawak - deposits of antimony, gold, bauxite, iron; in Sabah, copper and bauxite.



Due to the fact that the country is located near the equator, the climate of Malaysia is characterized as equatorial - hot and humid throughout the year. The average annual temperature is about 27°C and the annual rainfall is about 2500 mm. There are some differences between the climate of the peninsular and eastern parts of the country, which are mainly due to the fact that peninsular Malaysia is largely influenced by continental air masses, while the eastern one is influenced by sea masses. The country is located in the zone of action of two monsoons: southwest (from late May to September) and northeast (from November to March). The northeast monsoon brings more precipitation than the southwest monsoon and originates in China and the North Pacific. The southwest monsoon originates in the deserts of Australia.

The climate in a particular region of the country depends mainly on the relief, thus, the climate of the uplands, lowlands and coastal regions is distinguished. Coastal areas are characterized by sunny weather with temperatures ranging from 23°C to 32°C and rainfall from 100 to 300 mm per month. The lowlands of the country have similar temperatures, but higher rainfall. Upland climates are cooler and wetter, with greater temperature variations.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Malaysia was in Chuping, Perlis State, on April 9, 1998, at 40.1°C. The record low temperature was recorded on the Cameron Hills in the north-west of the state of Pahang on February 1, 1978 and amounted to 7.8 ° C. The largest amount of precipitation per day fell in Kota Bharu on January 6, 1967 and amounted to 608 mm. The highest annual rainfall, 5,687 mm, was recorded in the city of Sandakan, Sabah, in 2006. The rainiest place in the country is the city of Kuching, Sarawak, with an average annual rainfall of 4,128 mm and 247 days of precipitation per year. The driest place is Chuping, Perlis State, with an annual rainfall of just 1746mm.


Natural disasters

Due to the large number of water bodies and the extremely high average rainfall, exceeding 2000 mm for most parts of the country, Malaysia suffers from floods quite often. Since 1926, 15 major floods have been recorded in the country. The 2006-2007 Johor floods killed 18 people and caused damage estimated at RM1.5 billion; about 110 thousand people were temporarily evacuated. The territory of the country is seismically stable, but tremors from earthquakes occurring on the islands of Indonesia and the Philippines can be felt on the territory of the country.


Live nature

Malaysia is a country with a high level of biodiversity and a large number of endemics. About 20% of all animal species known in the world are found on the territory of the country. A particularly high level of endemism is characteristic of the mountain forests of Kalimantan. About 210 species of mammals, 250 species of reptiles (of which about 150 species of snakes and 80 species of lizards), about 150 species of frogs and thousands of insect species are found in Malaysia. On the territory of the peninsular part of the country alone, there are about 620 species of birds.

In the peninsular part of the country, there are 2 types of big cats: the Indochinese tiger and the clouded leopard, and in the eastern part - only the clouded leopard. Other mammals include the Malayan bear, the Sumatran rhino, the black-backed tapir, the muntjacs, the Indian sambar, the wild boar, the bearded pig, the gaur, the Asian elephant, and others. loris and others. The population of orangutans in eastern Malaysia is about 11,300 individuals. The population of the Malayan tiger (a subspecies of the Indochinese tiger, endemic to the peninsular part of the country) is only about 500 individuals. In addition, there are about 1,200 elephants in the western part of the country.

Approximately 58.2% of the territory of Malaysia is covered with forests. Once upon a time, the entire eastern part of the country was covered with Bornean lowland rainforests. In the peninsular part of the country, there are about 8,500 species of vascular plants, while in the eastern part there are about 15,000 species. There are about 2,000 species of trees in the island part, and up to 240 different tree species can be found on one hectare of forest. Rafflesia is found in the forests of the country - the largest flower in the world, the diameter of which can reach 1 meter.


Environmental problems

A serious problem for the country's environment is deforestation, caused by deforestation and clearing of areas for agricultural land, mainly for oil palm plantations. Since 2000, Malaysia has been losing up to 140,200 ha (0.65% of total forest area) of forest annually. So more than 80% of the forests of the state of Sarawak in the east of the country and more than 60% of the forests of peninsular Malaysia were destroyed. Deforestation is taking a heavy toll on the country's unique fauna, which is losing its natural habitats. The number of orangutans in Malaysia has decreased by about 40% over the past 20 years, and the Malaysian population of the Sumatran rhinoceros has probably disappeared altogether. The number of hornbills has also significantly decreased. Most of the modern forests are located within the boundaries of national parks.

Other serious problems are poaching and smuggling of animals, as well as overfishing and other representatives of marine fauna. There is also pollution of inland and coastal waters by industrial waste. About 40% of the country's rivers are heavily polluted. Malaysian cities generate an average of 1.5 million tons of solid waste per year. Air pollution is also a problem in large cities.



As of the 2010 census, Malaysia has a population of 28,334,135 (44th in the world). The average population density is about 86 people/km². The population is rather unevenly distributed, as 79.6% of Malaysians live in the peninsular part of the country and only 20.4% live in the eastern part. The urban population is about 70%. Annual growth is 2.4%; about 34% of the country's population is under the age of 15.


Ethnic composition

Malaysia is ethnically diverse. The inhabitants of the country are called Malaysians. Most of the population (about 62% as of 2010) are Austronesian peoples, known locally as the Bumiputra. The concept of Bumiputra includes the Malays, who make up just over half of the country's population (50.1%), as well as the indigenous peoples who lived on these lands even before the arrival of the Malays (about 11.8%). The indigenous population of the country is known collectively as Orang Asli and includes many ethnic groups. If in the peninsular part of the country they make up only an extremely small proportion of the population, then in the east (in the states of Sarawak and Sabah) they make up the majority. The largest of these ethnic groups, the Ibans, has about 600 thousand people (30% of the population of Sarawak). Another large indigenous people - Bidayuh, has about 170 thousand people and lives in the southwestern part of Sarawak.

The second largest ethnic group in the country is the Chinese (22.6% of the population of Malaysia). The Chinese population is unevenly distributed, so the most "Chinese" cities in Malaysia are Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur, and the most "Chinese" state is Penang (41% of the state's population are Chinese). The third largest ethnic group is Indians (9.1%). The vast majority of them are of Tamil origin, who, together with Malayali and Telugu, make up over 83% of the entire Malaysian population of Indian origin.

The descendants of Chinese and Indian immigrants are considered indebted to the Malays for granting them citizenship, which is enshrined in Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution. Malays have an advantage in admission to universities, priority in obtaining licenses and loans for entrepreneurial activities; there should have been 4 times more Malays in the state apparatus than non-Malays.



The official language of Malaysia is Malay. English has historically (up until the late 1960s) been the de facto language of administration. Today, English plays an important role as a second language and is used to some extent in education. In addition, Malay English is widely used in business, along with it is often used Manglish - English with a very strong influence of Malay and to some extent Chinese and Tamil. In the eastern part of the country, indigenous languages ​​are quite common, which are mostly distantly related to Malay. The most widely spoken of these languages ​​is Iban, with over 600,000 speakers.

The Malay Chinese mainly speak various Southern Chinese dialects (Southern Min, Cantonese, Hakka, Hainanese, etc.) and, to a lesser extent, Putonghua. The Indians of the country mainly use Tamil.

Deaf Malaysians speak Malay Sign Language, as well as the endangered Penang and Selangor.



The Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of religion for non-Malays. Islam has the status of the state religion in the country. According to the 2010 census, Islam is practiced by about 61.3% of the population; Buddhism - 19.8%; Christianity - 9.2%; Hinduism - 6.3%; Confucianism, Taoism and other Chinese religions - 1.3%. 0.7% of the population reported being non-religious, and 1.4% - that they profess other religions, or did not give any information.

All ethnic Malays are Muslims according to the country's constitution. According to the 2010 census, the majority of the Chinese population of the country practice Buddhism (83.6%); 11% profess Christianity; 3.4% - Taoism; in addition, there is a small community of Chinese Muslims. Among the Indian population, 86.2% profess Hinduism; 6% - Christianity; 4.1% - Islam. Christianity is widespread among the indigenous population of the country (orang-asli) - 46.5% of them are Christians; 40.4% are Muslims. Of the Christians, both Catholics and Protestants are represented. Protestants include Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Adventists, followers of the Assemblies of God.



Education in Malaysia is overseen by two ministries: the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education. Although education is the responsibility of the federal government, each state has the right to make some adjustments in this area in its territory. The main legislation governing education is the Education Act 1996. Education can be obtained in the public school system, which provides free education for all Malaysians, in private schools or at home. By law, primary education is compulsory (6 years). The middle stage includes 5 years.

The main language of education in the country is Malay, which is a key issue for many political groups. At the same time, primary schools remain, using either Chinese or Tamil as the language of education. Until 1981, schools using English remained, the number of which was reduced from 1970 by the transition to Malay, until they completely disappeared by 1982. This causes dissatisfaction among the non-Malay population of the country, mainly the Chinese, who oppose Malay as the main language of education and claim that their culture is being infringed.

The oldest and most prestigious university is the University of Malaya.



Healthcare in Malaysia is under the control of the Ministry of Health and includes 2 sectors: public and private. About 5% of the total budget allocated for the development of the social sector goes to health care. The country's government plans to focus on repairing existing ones, as well as building and equipping new hospitals, increasing the number of clinics, improving staff training and developing telemedicine. Over the past few years, it has stepped up its efforts to overhaul all systems and attract foreign investment in this area.

One of the main health problems in the country is the lack of the required number of medical centers in rural areas. Another problem is the lack of highly qualified specialists. Thus, attempts to send various medical equipment to different cities were hampered by the lack of necessary experience among the staff in working with this equipment. Thus, many types of medical care are available only in major cities in Malaysia. Private clinics, unlike most public hospitals, are usually equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.



Malaysia had a high economic growth rate (one of the highest in Asia) with an average annual GDP growth of about 6.5% from 1957 to 2005. As of 2014, Malaysia's GDP was $336.9 billion. In the 1970s, the country's economy, based mainly on the extractive industry and agriculture, begins the transition to a diversified economy; in the 1980s, the industrial sector grew rapidly. Foreign investment played an important role in this growth. After the Asian economic crisis in 1997, the Malaysian economy recovered much faster than the economies of neighboring countries.

International trade, facilitated by the important sea trade route through the Strait of Malacca, and manufacturing are the most important sectors of the country's economy. Malaysia is a major exporter of agricultural and natural resources, the most significant of which is oil. Proved oil reserves are about 4.3 billion barrels; Malaysian state oil company Petronas. Once, the country was the largest producer of tin, natural rubber and palm oil. Malaysia is a developed center of Islamic banking.

The country's science is regulated by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Malaysia is a major exporter of electrical engineering and information and communication technology products (1st place in the world in the production of electronic chips and household air conditioners). The automotive industry is developing (there is a national brand Proton in the country). In 2002, the country launched its own space program. In order to create an independent defense capability, the government of the country continues to promote the defense industry and its competitiveness.

The minimum wage in the country, depending on the region, is 1100-1200 Malaysian ringgits monthly (about 230-255 euros). The average salary in Malaysia in 2022 is around RM2,500 per month or €530. As of February 1, 2020, the minimum wage has increased in the 16 city and 40 municipal council areas to RM1,200 ($291.51) per month and RM5.77 ($1.4) per hour, while the minimum wage, outside of the listed areas, remained the same and is RM1100 ($267.22) per month and RM5.29 ($1.29) per hour.



The desire of the Malaysian government to differentiate the country's economy, making it less dependent on the export of goods and production, pushed him to develop tourism. As a result, tourism has become the third largest source of foreign exchange income and accounted for 7% of the country's economy in 2005. For 2009, Malaysia is in 9th place in the list of the most visited countries, right after Germany. However, the existence and further development of tourism is threatened by the negative consequences of industrial growth associated with environmental degradation and deforestation.

The country attracts tourists with its national parks, located mainly in the eastern part of the country. In addition, with a considerable length of coastline, Malaysia is famous for its pristine beaches and convenient diving spots. Large cities of the country are also interesting, combining modern, traditional and colonial architecture.



Malaysia has an extensive road network of 98,721 km of highways, of which 80,280 km are paved and 1,821 km are expressways. The main highway of the country has a length of 966 km and connects the Thai border with Singapore. The road network in the peninsular part of the country is much better developed and of higher quality than in the eastern part. Malaysia drives on the left.

Malaysian railways have a length of 1,849 km and connect most of the cities in the peninsular part of the country. The only railway in eastern Malaysia is a 134 km branch line in the state of Sabah. The country's railways are linked to the systems of Singapore and Thailand. There is a 57 km high speed railway linking Kuala Lumpur with the airport. In the capital of the country, urban light rail transport is also developed.

In total, there are 58 airports in the country, of which 37 are passenger ones. 8 airports in Malaysia have international status, the busiest of them is Kuala Lumpur International Airport; the second busiest is Kota Kinabalu International Airport. The country's state-owned national airline is Malaysia Airlines. Malaysia's largest port is Klang, located 38 km southwest of Kuala Lumpur, in the state of Selangor.



Malaysia is a multiethnic and multilingual country. The original culture of these lands comes from the culture of the indigenous peoples living here before the arrival of the Malays, as well as from the Malays themselves, who came later. With the beginning of the development of trade in the East, the Chinese and Indians made an important contribution to the culture of Malaysia. Persian, Arab and British influences are also quite strong.

In 1971, the government of the country announced the National Cultural Policy, defining the Malaysian culture. It stated that Malaysian culture should be based on the culture of the country's indigenous peoples; it may also include suitable elements from other cultures, Islam should play an important role in the culture of the country. It was also announced that the Malay language should occupy a more important position than the others. This intervention in culture by the state caused massive resentment from the non-Malay population of the country, who felt that their cultural freedom had been reduced. The Chinese and Indian associations provided the government with memorandums accusing them of undemocratic cultural policies.



Before the appearance of writing in the region, there were quite strong oral traditions that flourished even long after the arrival of the Jawi script (modified Arabic alphabet), which appeared on the territory of modern Malaysia with the arrival of Islam here at the end of the 15th century. The Indian epic had a strong influence on oral traditions. Each Malay sultan created his own literary tradition based on the oral tradition and stories that came with Islam from the territory of Persia and the Middle East. An important moment in the development of literature was the emergence of printing. Traditionally, poetry was well developed, which has many forms and genres here. Until the beginning of the 19th century, Malay literature was mainly focused on stories about royalty, later the subject matter of the works became wider. Since the beginning of the 20th century, literature began to change dramatically, reflecting social changes. One of the most famous early works, The Malay Genealogies, or Genealogies of the Sultans (Sulalatus Salatin), was originally written in the 15th century, but the earliest extant versions date from the 16th century. "History of Hang Tuah" (Hikayat Hang Tuah) is also one of the most famous works of that time.

The main languages ​​of Malaysian literature are Malay, English and Chinese. In 1971, the government of the country took a step to define the literature in different languages, so literature in Malay became known as "National Literature of Malaysia", literature in other languages ​​Bumiputra "Regional Literature", in other languages ​​- "Composite Literature"



Traditional Malaysian art is concentrated mainly on wood carving, basket weaving and silversmithing. The traditional Malay kris dagger with a curved asymmetrical blade shape is widely known. Also widespread is the painting on fabric, characteristic of the region - batik, and some other styles of decorating fabrics. It is traditional for the peoples of East Malaysia to make wooden masks. Traditional jewelry is associated with the decoration of silver and gold products with various precious stones. In some parts of the country, there are styles of painting clay products. The local art of staging has a strong Indian influence. For many centuries, the shadow theater of wayang-kulit has been widespread, which is also characteristic of other countries of the region. The plots of wayang puppet shows are usually taken from the Ramayana or the Mahabharata; dolls are made of cow or buffalo skin and painted by hand. For the Chinese community of the country, such performances as the dragon dance and the lion dance are traditional, usually performed on major holidays such as the Chinese New Year. Contemporary artists include Ibrahim Hussain, Said Tajuddin, Abdul Ghafar Bahari, Aris Aziz, Mazlan Nur Along, Grace Lim, watercolorists Abey Zul and Abdul Ghani Ahmad, cartoonist Rossem Sem, and batik artist Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa.



The architecture of the country is a mixture of many styles, from traditional Indian and Chinese to those brought by European colonialists. Architectural traditions vary from region to region. Traditional building materials are wood, bamboo and leaves. The indigenous peoples of the east of the country are characterized by long houses and water villages on stilts.



Traditional music is based mainly on percussion instruments, the most important of which is the gendang. There are at least 14 different types of reels in total. Other instruments include the rebab (bowed), seruling (a type of flute), and other wind instruments. The east of the country is characterized by different types of gongs. Music has traditionally been used during storytelling, as well as at various festivities.



Malaysian cuisine reflects the multi-ethnicity of its population. Many cultures of both the peoples of the country and the peoples of neighboring regions have influenced the cuisine. The main influences take their roots from the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Javanese and Sumatran cultures, largely due to the fact that the spice road once passed through these lands. Many dishes contain several cultural influences at once, which gives Malaysian cuisine its own identity. The cuisine of Malaysia is most similar to the cuisines of Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines. Culinary traditions, dishes and how they are prepared often differ from state to state.

As in other countries of the region, one of the main products in Malaysian cuisine is rice. The most popular traditional rice-based dish is nasi lemak: steamed rice with coconut milk; usually served with fried anchovies, walnut, cucumber, hard boiled egg and a spicy chili paste known as sambal. Often nasi lemak is also served with rendang meat dish in order to make the meal more satisfying. Quite similar to nasi lemak is nasi datang, a dish popular on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. Another important ingredient along with rice is noodles, which are popular not only among the local Chinese, but also among other ethnic groups. Due to the maritime position of the country, fish and seafood dishes are common. Beef is the most popular meat among Muslims; pork is also common among non-Muslims.



Malaysians celebrate quite a few holidays throughout the year. Some of them are established at the federal level, and some - by the governments of individual states. In addition, the observance of the holidays depends on the particular ethnic and religious group; however, the main holidays of each group were declared state holidays. One of the main holidays is Independence Day (Hari-Merdeka), celebrated on August 31 to commemorate the declaration of independence by the Federation of Malaya in 1957. Another important public holiday is Malaysia Day, celebrated on September 16 to commemorate the 1963 federation. Other national holidays include Labor Day (1 May) and The King's Birthday (first week of June).

The main Islamic holidays are also widely celebrated: Uraza-Bayram (Hari-Raya Puasa), Eid al-Adha (Hari-Raya Haji) and Maulid an-Nabi (Maulidur-Rasul). The Chinese celebrate the Chinese New Year and other major traditional festivals. Indians celebrate Diwali, Thaipusam and other Hindu festivals. Christians celebrate Christmas, Easter, etc. Ethnic groups in the east of Malaysia also widely celebrate the Harvest Festival (Hawaii Dayak). Despite the ethnic and religious affiliation of most of the holidays, the main ones are common and are often celebrated by representatives of other ethnic groups of the country.


Mass media

In the system of electronic media, the state-owned corporation Radio and Television Malaysia (RTM) occupies a leading position. It is accountable to the Ministry of Information, which coordinates the activities of all state media institutions. The starting point of its existence is considered to be April 1, 1946, when the Department of Broadcasting was created and Radio Malaya began to broadcast on medium waves (since 1963 - Radio Malaysia). In 1950, it launched the English-language radio station The Blue Network (now TraXX FM) on medium waves. Now Radio Malaysia has 6 nationwide radio stations - Radio Klasik, TraXX FM, Asyik FM, Nasional FM, Ai FM, Minnal FM, 22 regional radio stations. In addition, since February 15, 1963, the Voice of Malaysia radio has been broadcasting abroad in 8 languages ​​​​(Arabic, Malay, English, Indonesian, Chinese, Burmese, Tagalog, Thai) with a volume of 168 hours a week. Popular music radio station "Classic National" (National Classics).

Television programs have been conducted since December 28, 1963. Color television appeared on December 28, 1978. There are two channels (TV-1 and TV-2). The number of transmitting stations is 131, the volume of transmissions is 206 hours per week (126 hours of TV-1 and 80 hours of TV-2). On June 1, 1984, the first private channel, TV-3, was created with 24 transmitting stations, which has been broadcasting around the clock since August 31, 1997 and covers 96 percent of the country's population. On July 1, 1995, Metrovision Channel 4 went into operation in the capital and its environs, serving about 3.3 million viewers.

The National Information Agency - BERNAMA, established in 1968. By a government decree of May 1, 1984, it is endowed with the exclusive right to disseminate information from foreign news agencies. It is a member of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA). It has branches in every state, overseas bureaus on a permanent basis in Singapore, Jakarta, Hanoi, stringers in Washington, London, Dhaka, Melbourne, Tokyo and Delhi.

There are 56 newspapers (14 Malay, 12 English, 18 Chinese, 4 Tamil, 4 Japanese and 4 multilingual) and 1,801 periodicals (959 Malay, 495 English, 255 in Chinese, 62 in Tamil and 30 in Japanese). Since 2006, the quarterly theater magazine "Pontas" (Scene) has been published, edited by the famous poet Rahimidin Zahari. The largest newspaper syndicates are the New Straits Times Press (1961), which publishes five dailies (New Straits Times, Berita Harian, Business Times, Malay Mail, Harian Metro) and four Sunday newspapers ( New Sunday Times, Berita Minggu, Sunday Mail, Metro Ahad) with a total circulation of over 1.5 million copies and eight magazines, as well as Utusan Melayyu (Malaysia) Berhad (1938), which published two daily ( "Utusan Malaysia" - in Latin, "Utusan Melayu" - in Arabic) and one Sunday ("Mingguan Malaysia") newspaper with a total circulation of about 700 thousand copies and ten magazines. Other influential newspapers include the Sunday Star Star (circulation 170,000), Nanyang Shanbao (145,000), Xingzhou Ribao (210,000), Tamil Nesan (circulation 30,000). ), "Zhongguo Bao" (110 thousand). Licenses for printed publications were updated annually until 2012. Since 1974, there has been the Malaysian Press Institute, where journalists improve their skills.