Fact sheet Bilateral Relations

Fact sheet

High Commission of India
Kuala Lumpur

Fact Sheet - Malaysia


A. General

Official Name



Kuala Lumpur

Name of States and Federal Territories

Malaysia comprises 13 states and 3 federal territories.

States: Johor; Kedah; Kelantan; Malacca; Negeri Sembilan; Pahang; Penang; Perak; Perlis; Sabah; Sarawak; Selangor; Terengganu.

Federal Territories: Kuala Lumpur; Labuan; Putrajaya.


Latitude: 4.1936 ° N & Longitude: 103.7249 ° E

Maritime boundaries are with Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam

Neighbouring countries are Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam


330,252 sq km


Malaysian Ringgit (Code-MYR, Symbol-RM)

Exchange Rate-

1US$ = 4.16 RM (approx)

1 RM = INR 17.70 (approx)

(as on September 2021)

GDP (Nominal)

USD 336.6 billion (World Bank, 2020)

GDP Growth Rate

-5.6% (2020)


4.8 percent (June 2021)

GDP Per Capita

GDP Per Capita (PPPP)

USD 10,401 (World Bank, 2020)

USD 27,886 (World Bank, 2020)

Forest Cover

192,143.4 sqkm which is 58.48% of land area


Tropical Climate, 99-292 mm average rainfall, 22-33 degree C average daily minimum and maximum temperature.

CO2 emissions

248.8 Million tonnes annual (2019) & 7.67 tons per capita (2019)

Tourist Arrivals

4.33 million tourists visited Malaysia in 2020; 26.1 million tourists visited in 2019


32.45 million

Population Density

99.2 per sq km

Age Profile

Young Age (0-14 yrs) : (23.3%)

Working age (15-64 yrs): (69.7%)

Old Age (65 and above): (7.0%)

Life Expectancy

75.6 years; Male 73.2 years, Female 78.3 years

Source: Department of Statistic Malaysia (2021)


Bahasa Malaysia (the official language); English is widely spoken apart from Chinese (Min Nan, Hakka, Mandarin and Min Dong), Tamil, Iban (in Sarawak) and Banjar (in Sabah).

There are 140 languages spoken in Malaysia (peninsular Malaysia 40, Sabah 54, Sarawak 46)

Ethnic Groups

Bumiputera Malay including orang Asli and Sabah Sarawak Bumiputera (68.8%), Chinese (22.6%), Indian (6.8%), Others (1.0%)


Islam (61%), Buddhism (19.8%), Christianity (11.2%), Hinduism (7.3%), Chinese folk religion (1.3%), Unknown (2.7%), Others (Ibans, Kadazans, Dusun etc) (0.4%)

National Day

31 August

Time Zone

GMT+8 hrs, IST+2 ½ hrs

Internet Penetration

91.7% (April 2021, DoSM)

Mobile phones

Estimated: 29 Million (2021), 98.6% penetration (April 2021, DoSM)

B. Political

Head of State (King)

His Majesty Seri Paduka BagindaThe Yang Di-Pertuan Agong AlSultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah IbniAlmarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta'inBillah

Head of Government (Prime Minister)

Dato' Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob (since 21 August 2021)

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah

Political Issues

Head of State: Malaysia has a unique system of constitutional monarchy which gives each Ruler (Sultan) of the nine States a chance to be the King of Malaysia for five years in rotation. The Yang-di-Pertuan Agong (the King) is elected by the Conference of the Nine Rulers. He holds the office for five years.

The Government is based on parliamentary democracy. The bicameral parliament consists of a Senate [70 members – 40 appointed by the King, 26 elected by 13 state legislatures, two from Kuala Lumpur and one each from Putrajaya and Labuan (Federal Territories), who serve three-year terms with limit of two terms and a House of Representatives (222 members). Elections to the lower House are held once every five years.

The last (14th) general election was held on 9 May 2018. For the first time since independence in 1957, the opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan (PH) won 122 parliamentary seats out of total 222. People's Justice Party (PKR) led by Anwar Ibrahim, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and National Trust Party (AMANAH) and Warisan (mainly in Sarawak) were the key components of the PH Government. Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), led by Tun Mahathir Mohamed joined PH in March 2017.

The erstwhile ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional (13 party coalition), could secure only 79 seats. Its three key parties are the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC). It is supported by a few other state parties, particularly from Sabah and Sarawak.

Other important party is Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) which broke away from PH and fought the 14th GE on its own. The PH Government lasted less than two years from 10 May 2018 till 24 February 2020.

Tan Sri Dato’ Mahiaddin Yassin was sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth PM on 1 March 2020 as he led a coalition of Perikatan Nasional of his party Bersatu with UMNO, PAS, MCA, MIC and GPS from eastern Malaysia.

In view of surge in COVID cases, the government imposed national emergency in the country on 11 January 2021 until 1 August 2021

Tan Sri Mahiaddin Yassin became the country’s shortest ruling Prime Minister-17 months after he officially tendered his resignation on 16 August 2021 amid a prolonged and fractious power struggle with UMNO that has left the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition in tatters.

Malaysian King had ruled out an election, given the pandemic situation and appointed Dato' Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob as the ninth PM of Malaysia on 21 August 2021. Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri received backing from his own party UMNO and other parties in Mahiaddin’s government, which gave him the simple majority of 114 in the lower house of 220 seats (2 seats are vacant). He served as one of the four Senior Ministers and Defence Minister in Tan Sri Mahiaddin Yassin’s government

Major Political Parties

United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysian United Indigenous Party (BERSATU), People's Justice Party (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), National Trust Party (AMANAH), Parti Pejuang Tanah Malaysia (Pejuang)

C. Economic Indicators


Malaysia, with a nominal GDP of approx. US$ 336 billion, is the 4th largest economy in South East Asia and ranks 41st globally (IMF 2020 estimate). As per the recent World Bank report, Malaysia is expected to make the transition from an upper-middle income economy to a high-income economy within the next five years. It ranks at 12th place in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business and is at 27th spot in World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2019-20. The Malaysian economy is highly robust and diversified with the second highest export value of high-tech products in the region. With $9 billion worth of FDI inflows in 2019, it was the 4th largest FDI destination in ASEAN and 34th globally. It is also the second largest producer and exporter of palm oil in the world.

Malaysia’s economy has seen a downturn since 2017 when it registered a healthy growth rate of almost 6% which reduced to 4.7% in 2018, and 4.3% in 2019. COVID-19 pandemic posed economic challenge of an unprecedented scale and impact. Matters were made worse by political uncertainty prevailing in the country, causing investors to adopt a more cautious approach. Its FDI inflows in the year plummeted by 69% to mere $2.5 billion and the country also had to face a heavy debt problem (around $220 billion or 62.2% of GDP in 2020 compared to $200 billion or 52.2% in 2019), tumbling oil prices, and knock off effect on trade(Trade to GDP ratio declined to 128.43% of GDP in 2020 from 129.21% of GDP recorded in 2019) which reduced to around $445 billion as against close to $460billion in the previous year, and inbound tourism (revenue slumped to around $ 3billion with 4.3 million tourist arrivals compared to $22 billion with 26 million FTAs) whose contribution to GDP saw a sharp fall to under 1% in 2020 against 6.06% in 2019. The Government rolled out several tranches of economic packages amounting to around $ 85 billion, close to one-fourth of its GDP, to support its businesses and save people’s livelihood and lives.


In 2017, inflation was driven mainly by higher domestic fuel prices.

2016: 2.1%

2017: 3.8%

2018: 1%

2019: 1%


(Source: Bank Negara Malaysia)


2016: 3.4%

2017: 3.4%

2018: 3.4%

2019: 3.2%

(Source: Department of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, Malaysia)

GDP (Nominal)

US$ 338.1 billion (2014)

US$ 296.4 billion (2015)

US$ 296.5 billion (2016)

US$ 314.7 billion (2017)

US$ 354.3 billion (2018)

US$ 367.9 billion (2019)

US$ 345.93 billion (2020)

(Source: EIU)

GDP per capita (at PPP)

US$ 25,437 (2014)

US$ 26,623 (2015)

US$ 27,684 (2016)

US$ 29,433 (2017)

US$ 31,016 (2018)

US$ 33,866 (2019)

(Source: EIU)

Growth Rate

6.0% (2014)

5.0% (2015)

4.2% (2016)

5.9% (2017)

4.7% (2018)

4.3% (2019)


(Source: Bank Negara Malaysia, 2020)

Share of GDP (%)

Agriculture           6.8%

Mining                 6.6%

Manufacturing     23.6%

Construction        4.0%

Services               57.8%

(Source: Department of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, Malaysia)

Forex Reserves

US$ 115.9 billion (2014)

US$ 95.2 billion (2015)

US$ 94.5 billion (2016)

US$ 102.4 billion (2017)

US$ 101.4 billion (2018)

US$ 102.3 billion (2019)

(Source: EIU)

Oil and Gas resources

According to the Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ), Malaysia held proven oil reserves of 3600 million barrels and 41.8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves as of January 2020.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Khazanah Nasional Berhad: 

Realisable Asset Value (RAV) - USD 23.83 billion;

Net Worth Adjusted (NWA)-USD 18.28 billion.

KWAP (Pension Fund): Total Fund Size-USD 35.2 billion

Total Malaysian Trade













Trade balance




































(Source: DoSM) 

Major Malaysian source of imports

China (21.50%), Singapore (9.25%), US (8.71%), Japan (7.67%), Taiwan (7.24%), Republic of Korea (5.68%), Indonesia (4.59%), Thailand (4.29%), India (3.13%) and Germany (2.91%)

(Source: MATRADE, Govt. of Malaysia, Jan-Dec 2020)

Major Malaysian Exports to

China (16.17%), Singapore (14.49%), US (11.09%), Hong Kong (6.94%), Japan (6.29%), Thailand (4.61%), Republic of Korea (3.53%), Taiwan (3.45%), Vietnam (3.15%) and India (3.10%)

(Source: MATRADE, Govt. of Malaysia, Jan-Dec 2020)

Malaysia’s major exports

  • Electrical & Electronic Products (39.36%)
  • Petroleum Products (6.31%)
  • Palm oil (5.33%)
  • Chemicals & Chemical Products (5.17%)
  • Rubber Products (4.45%)
  • Optical & Scientific Equipment (4.24%)
  • Machinery, Equipment & Parts (4.01%)
  • Manufactures of Metal (3.75%)
  • LNG (2.94)
  • Iron & Steel Products (2.4%)

(Source: MATRADE, Govt. of Malaysia, Jan-Dec 2020)

Malaysia’s major imports

  • Electrical & Electronic Products (31.75%)
  • Chemicals & Chemical Products (9.23%)
  • Petroleum Products (7.53%)
  • Machinery, Equipment & Parts (7.50%)
  • Manufactures of Metal (5.77%)
  • Transport Equipment (4.58%)
  • Iron & Steel Products (3.05%)
  • Optical & Scientific Equipment (2.92%)
  • Processed Food (2.73%)
  • Crude Petroleum (2.33%)

(Source: MATRADE, Govt. of Malaysia, Jan-Dec 2020)

D. Bilateral Trade & Commerce

India-Malaysia Bilateral Trade

Total Bilateral Trade:

US$ 16.9 billion (2014-2015)

US$ 12.8 billion (2015-2016)

US$ 14.1 billion (2016-2017)

US$ 14.7 billion (2017-2018)

US$ 17.24 billion (2018-2019)

US$ 16.15 billion (2019-2020)

US$ 14.44 billion (2020- 2021)


India’s exports:

US$ 5.8 billion (2014-2015)

US$ 3.7 billion (2015-2016)

US$ 5.2 billion (2016-2017)

US$ 5.7 billion (2017-2018)

US$ 6.4 billion (2018-2019)

US$ 6.4 billion (2019-2020)

US$ 6.06 billion (2020- 2021)


India’s Imports:

US$ 11.1 billion (2014-2015)

US$   9.1 billion (2015-2016)

US$   8.9 billion (2016-2017)

US$   9.0 billion (2017-2018)

US$ 10.81 billion (2018-2019)

US$   9.78 billion (2019-2020)

US$   8.39 billion (2020-2021)


(Source: DGCIS, Dept of Commerce, India)

Major Export Items to India

  • Aluminium and Articles Thereof.  
  • Mineral Fuels, Mineral Oils and Products of Their Distillation; Bituminous Substances; Mineral Waxes.
  • Organic Chemicals  
  • Meat and Edible Meat Offal.  
  • Ships, Boats and Floating Structures.
  • Nuclear Reactors, Boilers, Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; Parts Thereof.  
  • Zinc and Articles Thereof.
  • Cereals.  
  • Iron and Steel  
  • Electrical Machinery and Equipment and Parts Thereof; Sound Recorders and Reproducers, Television Image and Sound Recorders and Reproducers, and Parts.  

(Source: DGCIS, Dept. Of Commerce, India)

Major Import Items from India

  • Animal or Vegetable Fats and Oils and Their Cleavage Products; Pre. Edible Fats; Animal or Vegetable Wax.
  • Mineral Fuels, Mineral Oils and Products of Their Distillation; Bituminous Substances; Mineral Waxes.
  • Electrical Machinery and Equipment and Parts Thereof; Sound Recorders and Reproducers, Television Image and Sound Recorders and Reproducers, and Parts.
  • Nuclear Reactors, Boilers, Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; Parts Thereof.  
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Miscellaneous Chemical Products
  • Plastic and Articles Thereof.  
  • Rubber and Articles Thereof
  • Iron and Steel  
  • Aluminium and Articles Thereof.  

(Source: DGCIS, Dept. of Commerce, India)


Indian Investment in Malaysia

US$ 2.62 billion (Source: MIDA)

Malaysian Investment in India

US$ 1,126 million (Source: DIPP)


10 September 2021