Malasiya File Malasiya File

Malasiya File


The earliest inhabitants of the present day Malaysia are Orang Asli of the Peninsula, Penan of Sarawak and Rungus of Sabah whose presence goes back approximately 5000 years. The Orang Asli, the Malays, and the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak are collectively called Bumiputeras – “Sons of the Soil”.

Although there is evidence of contacts with the Indian subcontinent as early as the sixth century BC, regular contacts with China and India were established only around the first century BC, leading to a major impact on the region, of the Hindu-Buddhist elements of Indian culture. With the arrival of Islam in the 13-14th centuries, brought primarily by Indian and Arab traders, Hindu/Buddhist influence declined. With the conversion of Parameswara, the Malay-Hindu ruler of the Melaka Sultanate to Islam around 1400, Islam became a major influence on the peninsula.

Melaka was occupied by the Portuguese in 1511, marking the ascension of European power in the region. Dutch-Portuguese rivalry for dominance in the region was supplanted by the intrusion of British power at the end of the 18th century which brought the resources and organization of the Industrial Revolution to Malaya. The Japanese conquest of Malaya and British Borneo during the Second World War, and the surrender of the British at Singapore in early 1942, shattered the myth of Western colonial supremacy and unleashed the forces of incipient nationalism, a process considerably hastened by the inspiring exhortations of Subash Chandra Bose during his several visits to Malaysia during Japanese occupation.

By the Agreement of 1948, the British committed themselves to preparing for Malaysian independence. Under the twin pressure of a communist insurgency and the development of a strong Malay nationalist movement (represented by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)), the British introduced elections.  The successful establishment of alliance between UMNO, Malaysian Chinese Association and Malaysian Indian Congress and its over whelming victory in the first federal elections in 1955 paved the way for independence finally on August 31, 1957.

At the instance of the first Prime Minister of independent Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Federation of Malaysia consisting of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak was formed in 1963. However, in 1965 Singapore separated from the Federation. Tun Abdul Razak succeeded Tunku Abdul Rahman as Prime Minister in 1970. Tun Hussein Onn became PM in 1976 following the death of Tun Abdul Razak.  Dr. Mahathir Mohamad became the Prime Minister in 1981. After serving for 22 years, the Prime Ministership was handed over to Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on October 31, 2003. Following a massive mandate favoring Barisan Nasional in the 11th general election, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was sworn in as Prime Minister again on March 22, 2004. In the elections held in march 2008, Barisan Nasional once again secured necessary majority for a fresh five-year mandate with Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the Prime Minister.


Malaysia comprises the Malay Peninsula and the States of Sabah and Sarawak on the Island of Kalimantan (Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia lies to the south of Thailand and covers an area of 130,000 sq.kms., while Sabah and Sarawak, totalling about 199,000 sq.kms. lie on the northern and north-western part of the Island of Kalimantan. Wedged in between the eastern Malaysian States is the oil-rich Kingdom of Brunei, formerly a British protectorate and independent since 1984. Singapore, south of Peninsular Malaysia, which formed part of Malaysia from 1963, was removed from the Malaysian Federation and became an independent nation in 1965.

The Federation of Malaysia consists of 13 States: Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, Sarawak and Sabah. In nine of these States, the Head of State is a hereditary ruler. Each State has its own constitution, a Council of State or Cabinet with executive authority, and a legislature that deals with matters not reserved for the Federal Parliament. There are also the three Federal Territories Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, (an island off Sabah, which is being developed as an off-base financial centre) and Putrajaya, the Administrative Capital of Malaysia.

Malaysia lies entirely in the equatorial zone between latitudes 1-7 North and longitude 100-119 East. The climate is characterized by high humidity, uniformly warm temperature and rainfall. Malaysia is subject to maritime influence and interplay of wind system which originate in the Indian Ocean the South China Sea, and experiences both the south-west and north-east monsoons.


According to the Constitution, Islam is the religion of the Malaysian Federation. However, the Constitution also provides that every person has the right to profess and practise his own religion. The right to propagate other religions among Muslims is not permitted by law. Islam is primarily identified with the Malays although there are many Indian, Chinese, Kadazan and other Muslims. There is no pan-Malaysian Head of Islam. Each hereditary Malay Ruler is head of Islam in his State. The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong (the King) is Head of Islam in his own State and also in the States of Melaka, Penang, the Federal Territories, Sabah and Sarawak. Other religions practised in Malaysia are Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Christianity. There are over 1000 Hindu temples and about 100 Sikh Gurudwaras in Malaysia.

Bahasa Malayu is the national language established under article 152 of the Constitution which also safeguards other languages by stipulating that no person may be prohibited or prevented from using (except for official purposes) or from teaching or learning any other language. Bahasa Malayu must be used for all official purposes, by Federal and State Governments and by all authorities and statutory bodies. Chinese and Tamil are also taught in schools. Although English is widely used and is the language of commerce, knowledge of Bahasa is an asset. It is relatively easy to learn.


Malaysia has a unique system of constitutional monarchy giving each of the nine State Rulers a chance to be King for five years in rotation. The rotation of the post was the brainchild of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister, when Malaysia gained independence in 1957. The Yang-di-Pertuan Agong is elected by the Conference of the Nine Rulers. He holds office for five years or until his resignation or death. The Sultan of Terengganu His Majesty Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, has been elected as the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong XIII, King of Malaysia, for a five year term on December 13, 2006 by the Conference of Rulers.

The Government is based on parliamentary democracy. The bicameral parliament consists of a Senate (70 members) and a House of Representatives (222 members).  Elections to the lower House are held once every five years on the basis of universal adult suffrage. The last general elections were held on March 8, 2008.

Malaysian political and socio-economic life is based on ethnicity, recognizing the existence of three clear racial groups - Malays, Chinese, Indian.  The Malay-Chinese race riots of 1969 were followed by the New Economic Policy (NEP) announced in 1970. The NEP provides for enhancing Bumiputera share in national equity (ownership of corporate capital) from 2% in 1971 to 30% by 1990.  The NEP was succeeded by the New Development Policy (NDP) 1991-2000 and now the New Vision Policy (NVP) 2001-2010 has been announced. NVP aims at making the economy more knowledge- based.  Officially, the Bumiputera's share in national equity had increased to about 20% by 2000. The share of the Chinese is over 38% with 33% held by foreigners and 1.5% by Indians. The NVP envisages doubling of the Indian share to 3%.

The ruling coalition, presently called the Barisan Nasional (BN) (National Front) has governed Malaysia continuously since Independence, and presently rules in the 7 states. The BN comprises United Malay National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and 12 other smaller parties while Indian Progressive Front (IPF) supports it from outside.


The spectacular growth of Malaysian economy averaging over 8% of the decade leading up to the year 1997 had been chiefly propelled by the private sector.  Large-scale privatization programme was initiated in the mid-eighties. Manufacturing has become the single largest component of economic activity, overtaking agriculture in 1987, and contributing a third of GDP and four fifths of total exports.   With its emphasis on foreign investment, the economy remains open and export-oriented. Malaysia emerged as one of the 20 largest trading nations in the world.

During 1998-2000, Malaysia’s economy contracted by 7.5% mainly due to South East Asian financial crisis. The policy response undertaken by Malaysia following the outbreak of the Asian crisis can be categorized into three phases. During the first phase from September to December 1997, demand management policies were implemented to reduce the current account deficit, address the high leverage of the private sector and the strong credit growth. In the second phase during the period January to April 1998, fiscal policy was relaxed to allow selective increases in fiscal spending to strengthen the social safety net to protect the more vulnerable segments of society. The third phase of policy responses since May 1998 focused on minimizing the severity of the economic downturn. The positive effects achieved on the inflation front and the significant improvement in the current account provided the authorities with some room to ease monetary policy. The pegging of the Ringgit to the US Dollar was one of the significant measures introduced. As per the exchange control measures imposed, the main thrust was directed towards reducing the ability of non-residents to engage in Ringgit transactions among themselves; requiring imports and exports of goods and services to be settled in foreign currencies; discouraging short-term capital inflows by requiring inflows of capital to remain in the country for a period of 12 months; and tightening the rules on investment abroad by Malaysians.   17.      Malaysia registered a GDP of US$ 184 billion in 2007. Malaysia's exports in 2007 were US $ 173.60 billion and imports were US$ 135 billion. The single largest item of exports is electrical and electronics (such as computer peripherals and integrated circuits) which amount to 50.2% of total exports with palm oil at 6.1%. Among its mineral resources, tin, petroleum and natural gas play a major role in the Malaysian economy.  Other minerals include copper, gold, bauxite, iron-ore and coal.

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Source from
Head of the State : His Majesty Almu'tasimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku AlHaj Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Ibni AlMarhum Sultan Badlishah, The Yang di-Pertuan Agong XIV.
Prime Minister :H.E. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Haji Tun Abdul Razak
Deputy Prime Minister &
Finance Minister
: Tan Sri Muhyuddin Yassin
Foreign Minister :Datuk Anifah Aman
International Trade & Industry Minister :Datuk Seri Mustafa Mohamed
Parliament :Bicameral type House of Representatives – 222 Members
Senate - 70 Members
National Day :31st August (Independence Day of Malaysia)
Weekly holidays :Saturday & Sunday
Capital & Major cities :Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Bahru, Ipoh.
Population :28.3 million (est for 2010)
Total Land Area :3,30,252
Language(s) :Bahasa Malaysia is the national language but English is widely spoken.
Other ethnic groups speak Chinese, Tamil etc.
Ethnic Group(s) :(1)Malays - 54.14%
(2) Chinese -25.26%
(3) Indians - 7.52%
(4) Indigenous Malaysians (Orang Asli, Sabahans, Sarawakians) - 11.68%
(5) Bumiputeras - 65.92%(Consists of Malays, Orang Asli, Sabahans & Sarawakians)
Religion(s) :Islam is the official religion but other religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism are practised freely.
Real GDP in 2010 :US$ 150 billion
Growth rate of GDP (at constant 1987 prices) :2005






(+) 5.2%


(+) 6.2%


(-) 1.7%

(+) 7.1 %

Per Capita Income in 2010 :US$ 8,000
Total exports during 2010 (FOB) :US$199.2 billion
Total imports during 2010 (CIF) :US$ 164.8 billion
Foreign Exchange Reserves
:US$ 106.5 billion
Currency :Malaysian Ringgit (RM)
Rate of exchange :US$ 1=Malaysian Ringgit (RM) 3.21 (approx)
RM 1.00 = Rs.14.00 (approx)
Literacy Rate :88.7%
Birth rate :17.5 per thousand
Unemployment :3.0%

India Specific Data (Trade):

Indian Exports – 2010 : US$ 2485.5 million
Indian Imports – 2010 : US$ 6529.6 million
Major Exports to India : India mainly imports Palm Oil, Crude Oil, Electrical Goods
Major Imports from India : Engineering Goods, Chemicals, Meat, Textiles and Pharmaceuticals
Indian Joint Ventures : Presently there are 74 Indian joint ventures in Malaysia.
There are 08 Indian companies and 55 Indian IT companies, many of them with Multimedia  Super Corridor status in Malaysia.
Malaysian Indian Community : (a) Total number: Approx 8% of the total population (1.9 million)
(b) Composition: Predominantly Tamils and few Sikhs,Telugus and Malayalis
Indian Passport holders : 1,50,000 (approx)
Time difference with India : IST (+)2½ hrs.

Major Universities and Scientific Institutions:

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM)
Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM)
Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK)
Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM)
Universiti Malaya (UM)
Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM)
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM)
Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP)
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI)
Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP)
Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS)
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (IIUM)
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)
Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA)
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT)
Akademi Sains Malaysia
Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM)
The Malaysian Institute of Food Technology
Palm Oil Research Institute Of Malaysia (PORIM)
The Plastics & Rubber Institute Malaysia
Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI)
Institute of Medical Research (IMR)
Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC)
Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia(SIRIM)
Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic Systems (MIMOS)
Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC)

Institutions with special focus on India:

Universiti Malaya (UM) The University has a Department of Indian Studies Centre with focus on Tamil literature. The Faculty of Languages and Linguistics offers a 3-year Bachelor of Languages and Linguistics (Tamil), while the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers a 3 1/2 year BA Social Sciences (Indian Studies)

Important Think Tanks on Foreign Related Issues:

Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) ISIS Malaysia is engaged in a wide range of activities focusing on objective and independent policy research and fostering dialogue and debate between the public sector, the private sector and academia.
Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI) Malaysia an independent organization that promotes leadership and strategic thinking through conferences, training programmes,
briefings, publications and international dialogue
Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), IDFR is a training institute for Malaysian Foreign Service.
Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) IKIM deals with strategic national and international issues concerning the understanding of Islam as a complete way of life and the relationship between Islam and the dynamics of contemporary society
Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia established to undertake studies on a wide range of strategic and policy issues directly relevant to national interest and public welfare.
Malaysian Economic Research Corporation (MERC) Malaysian Economic Database and Statistics.
National Economic Action Council (NEAC) Malaysia established in 1998 as a consultative body to the Malaysian Government to deal with the economic crisis

Major newspapers:

Bernama (National News Agency) Tel : 603- 20504532
Fax :603-26929466
New Straits Times Tel : 603- 22823322
Fax : 603-22821434
Business Times (incorporated in New Straits Times) Tel : 603 22822628
Fax : 603 22825424
The Star Tel : 603 79671388
Fax : 603 79542544
The Sun Tel : 603 77852635
Fax :603 77852624 / 25
The Edge Financial Daily Tel : 603-77879988
Fax : 603-7787 9829
Nanyang Siang Pau (Chinese daily) Tel : 603 78726888
Fax : 78726800 / 900
Sin Chew Jit Poh (Chinese daily) Tel : 603 79582888
Fax : 603 79556881
Berita Harian (Malay daily) Tel : 603 22822323
Fax :603 22822425
Utusan Melayu (Malay daily) Tel : 603 92214245
Fax :603 92229784
Tamil Nesan (Tamil daily) Tel : 603-92216411
Fax : 603-92210440
Malaysia Nanban (Tamil daily) Tel : 603 62515981
Fax : 603 62515986

TV Channels:

Radio -Television Malaysia (RTM) – RTM 1 &2 Tel : 603 55691777
Fax: 603 55692520
NTV 7 Tel : 603 77266333
Fax :603 77260972
TV 3 Tel : 603 95436688 Ext. 3250
Fax : 603 95439078
ASTRO Tel : 603 7726 6333
Fax : 603 7726 1367
TV9 Tel : 603 7728 8282
Fax : 603 7726 8282
8TV Tel : 603 77288282
Fax : 603 77268282

The Federation of Malaysia comprises Peninsula Malaysia with 11 States and two States of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern part of Borneo island. Located between 2º and 7º north of the Equator, Peninsula Malaysia is separated from the states of Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. To the north of Peninsula 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.

Geographically, Malaysia is as diverse as its culture. It has cool hideaways in the highlands that roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves.

One of Malaysia's key attractions is its extreme contrasts. Towering skyscrapers look down upon wooden houses built on stilts, and five-star hotels sit several metres away from ancient reefs.

For details on tourism in Malaysia, please click on "Tourism Malaysia".