East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and maritime borders with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. With a population of over 30 million people, Malaysia is the world's 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is located in Malaysia. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of the 17 megadiverse countries, a home to large numbers of endemic species.
The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural state, which plays a large role in its politics. About half of the population is ethnically Malay, with large minorities of Malaysian-Chinese, Malaysian-Indians, and indigenous people. While recognising Islam as country’s established religion, the constitution grants freedom of religion to non-Muslims. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law. The head of the state is the king – an elected monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The head of the government is the prime minister. The country's official language is Malaysian, a standard form of the Malay language. English remains as an active second language.
After independence, the Malaysian GDP grew at an average of 6.5 percent per annum for almost 50 years. The economy has traditionally been fuelled by its natural resources, but also expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce, and medical tourism. Malaysia has a newly industrialised market economy, ranked 3rd largest in Southeast Asia and 33rd largest in the world. It is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and a member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
The country is benefiting from a growth in manufacturing, and is a major tourist destination, but there are fears that development could harm the environment, particularly the rainforests of northern Borneo.
|Area||330,803 sq km|
|Official language||Bahasa Malaysia|
|Capital city||Kuala Lumpur|
|Head of state||Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah|
|Currency||Ringgit Malaysia RM|
|Time zone||GMT + 8|