Southeastern Asia, peninsula bordering Thailand and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia, Brunei, and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam.  strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea

Langkawi Island

Area total 329,847 sq. km (land 328,657 sq km; water 1,190 sq km)

Land boundaries 2,742 km ( Brunei 266 km, Indonesia 1881 km, Thailand 595 km)

Coastline 4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km)

Capital City:  Kuala Lumpur
etymology: the Malay word for "river junction or estuary" is "kuala" and "lumpur" means "mud"; together the words render the meaning of "muddy confluence"

Climate: tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons

Terrain: coastal plains rising to hills and mountains

Elevation: highest point Gunung Kinabalu 4,095 m; lowest point Indian Ocean 0 m


Population:  33,519,406 (July 2021 est.)

Nationality: Malaysian(s)

Languages: Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai; note - Malaysia has 134 living languages - 112 indigenous languages and 22 non-indigenous languages; in East Malaysia, there are several indigenous languages; the most widely spoken are Iban and Kadazan

Ethnic Groups: Bumiputera 62.5% (Malays and indigenous peoples, including Orang Asli, Dayak, Anak Negeri), Chinese 20.6%, Indian 6.2%, other 0.9%, non-citizens 9.8% (2019 est.)

Religions: Muslim (official) 61.3%, Buddhist 19.8%, Christian 9.2%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 1.3%, other 0.4%, none 0.8%, unspecified 1% (2010 est.)


0-24 years:  43%
25-54 years: 41%
55+ years: 16%

Median age:  29 years

Urbanization - 77% of total population (2021).  Kuala Lumpur 8.2 million people.

Over 80% of the population residing on the Malay Peninsula



conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Malaysia

Independence: 31 August 1957 (from Great Britain)

National holiday: 31 August - Merdeka (or Independence Day)Malaysia Day, 16 September - Malaysia Day (formation of Malaysia - inclusion of Sabah & Sarawak in 1963)

Government Type: federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy

note: all Peninsular Malaysian states have hereditary rulers (commonly referred to as sultans) except Melaka (Malacca) and Pulau Pinang (Penang); those two states along with Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia have governors appointed by government; powers of state governments are limited by the federal constitution; under terms of federation, Sabah and Sarawak retain certain constitutional prerogatives.

Administrative Divisions
13 states (negeri-negeri, singular - negeri); Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu; and 1 federal territory (Wilayah Persekutuan) with 3 components, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, and Putrajaya

Flag Description

14 equal horizontal stripes of red (top) alternating with white (bottom); there is a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a yellow crescent and a yellow 14-pointed star; the flag is often referred to as Jalur Gemilang (Stripes of Glory); the 14 stripes stand for the equal status in the federation of the 13 member states and the federal government; the 14 points on the star represent the unity between these entities; the crescent is a traditional symbol of Islam; blue symbolizes the unity of the Malay people and yellow is the royal color of Malay rulers

National anthem

name: "Negaraku" (My Country)
lyrics/music: collective, led by Tunku ABDUL RAHMAN/Pierre Jean DE BERANGER
note: adopted 1957; full version only performed in the presence of the king; the tune, which was adopted from a popular French melody titled "La Rosalie," was originally the anthem of Perak, one of Malaysia's 13 states

National symbol(s): tiger, hibiscus


Peninsular Malaysia - rubber and oil palm processing and manufacturing, petroleum and natural gas, light manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, medical technology, electronics and semiconductors, timber processing; Sabah - logging, petroleum and natural gas production; Sarawak - agriculture processing, petroleum and natural gas production, logging

Exchange rate:  1 USD = 4.14 Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), 2021 est


International: country code - 60

Internet country code - .my

Mobile cellular subscriptions: 44,600,700 (136 per 100 inhabitants, 2019 est.)
Internet users total: 25,829,444 (81% of population, 2018 est.)

SOURCE: CIA World Factbook