World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of countries
Map of South East Asia

Malaysia Travelling Guide
Malaysia Travelling Guide

General background: Malaysia was formed in 1963 through a merging of the former British colonies of Malaya and Singapore, including the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo. The first several years of the country's history were marred by Indonesian efforts to control Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's secession in 1965.

Area comparative: Slightly larger than New Mexico.

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

Terrain: Coastal plains rising to hills and mountains.

Population: 22,662,365 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Malay and other indigenous 58%, Chinese 24%, Indian 8%, others 10% (2000)

Religions: Muslim, Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, Christian, Sikh; note - in addition, Shamanism is practiced in East Malaysia

Language: Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai; note - in addition, in East Malaysia several indigenous languages are spoken, the largest of which are Iban and Kadazan.

Government type: Constitutional monarchy

Capital: Kuala Lumpur

Legal system: Based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court at request of supreme head of the federation; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Economic overview: Malaysia, a middle income country, transformed itself from 1971 through the late 1990s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy. Growth is almost exclusively driven by exports - particularly of electronics - and, as a result Malaysia was hard hit by the global economic downturn and the slump in the Information Technology (IT) sector in 2001. GDP in 2001 grew only 0.3% due to an estimated 11% contraction in exports, but a substantial fiscal stimulus package has mitigated the worst of the recession and the economy is expected to grow by 2% to 3% in 2002 as the world economy rebounds. Kuala Lumpur's healthy foreign exchange reserves and relatively small external debt make it unlikely that Malaysia will experience a crisis similar to the crisis of 1997, but the economy remains vulnerable to a more protracted downturn in the US and Japan, top export destinations and key sources of foreign investment.

Communication/Telephone system: Modern system; international service excellent.

Places of interest: Lovely peninsula.

Travel tips: Visitors are advised to be extra vigilant when traveling in eastern Sabah and to altogether avoid the islands off of Sabah's east coast, including Sipadan and Pandanan. Be cautious everywhere in Malaysia.