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MM 9 Trade relationships between the Philippines and Malaysia Map

Location

Size

Language
Malay- the national or official language population is defined by Article 160 of the Malaysian Constitution as someone born to a Malaysian citizen who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, adheres to Malay customs and is domiciled in Malaysia or Singapore. Malay as a Malaysian citizen born to a Malaysian citizen who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, adheres to Malay customs, and is domiciled in Malaysia or Singapore. Malaysian Chinese Malaysians of Chinese particularly Han Chinese descent. Most are the descendants of Chinese who arrived between the first and the mid-twentieth centuries. Malaysian Chinese constitute one group of Overseas Chinese and is home to the third-largest Chinese community in the world, after Thailand andIndonesia. Within Malaysia, they are usually simply referred to as "Chinese" and represent the second largest ethnic group in Malaysia after the ethnic Malaymajority. Socioeconomically well-established middle class ethnic group and make up a highly disproportionate percentage of Malaysia'sprofessional and educated class, have a record of high educational achievement, a high representation in the Malaysian professional white collar workforce and hold one of the highest household incomes compared with most minority demographic groups in Malaysia.[5] Like in much of Southeast Asia, Malaysian Chinese are dominant in both the business and commerce sectors, controlling an estimated 70% of the Malaysian economy.[6] They are also one of the biggest taxpayers contributing to almost 90% of the national income tax and 60% of Malaysia's national income The mother tongue of the majority Malay ethnic group .The main ethnic groups within Malaysia comprise the Malays, Chinese and Indians, with many other ethnic groups represented in smaller numbers. The largest native languages spoken in East Malaysia are the Iban language and the Kadazan language. English is widely understood in service industries and is a compulsory subject in primary and secondary school. It is also the main language spoken in most private colleges and universities. English may take precedence over Malay in certain official contexts as provided for by the National Language Act, especially in the states of Sabah and Sarawak, where it may be the official working language.

Malaysian Indians (Bahasa Malaysia: Kaum India Malaysia; Tamil: ; Malayalam: ; Hindi: ; Telugu: ) are Malaysians of Indian origin. Many are descendants from those who migrated from India during the British colonization of Malaya. Prior to this,

Indians have been present in the Malayan archipelago at least since the period of the influential Indian Chola dynasty of the 11th century. Today, they form the third largest ethnic group in Malaysia after the Chinese and the Malays Malaysian Indians constitute 8% of the Malaysian population[2]. Despite this, they make up a disproportionately large percentage of Malaysia's professional workforce.

History

Candi Bukit Batu Pahat of Bujang Valley. A Hindu-Buddhist kingdom ruled ancient Kedah possibly as early as 110 A.D, the earliest evidence of strong Indian influence which was once prevalent among the pre-IslamicKedahan Malays.

The Arab and Indian traders had traveled this region including the southern tip of South East Asia the peninsula with maritime trade,[3] the Sailendra kings ofJava originating from Kalinga were able to take control of the Peninsular and part of southern Siam. The kings welcomed Buddhist missionaries from India, accepting their teaching of the Mahayana sect, which spread through their territories. However, central and northeastern Thailand continued to adhere to the Hinayana teachings of the Theravada sect, which had been introduced by missionaries sent by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. Another theory of the introduction of Buddhism after Indian arrived to the Peninsula is that after Kalinga conquered lower Burma in the 8th century their influence gradually spread down the peninsula. The ancient Indian Kalinga was located in southeastern India occupying modern day Orissa and northern Andhra Pradesh. In the 7th century an Indonesian kingdom was named Kalingga[4] after the aforementioned Kalinga in India. Chinese sources mention this kingdom (Holing) as a center for Buddhist scholars around 604 before it was overshadowed by the Sanjaya or Mataram Kingdom. The most famous Kalingga ruler is Ratu Sima. There is evidence of the existence of Indianized kingdoms such as Gangga Negara, Old Kedah, Srivijaya since approximately 1700 years ago.[5] Early contact between the kingdoms of Tamilakkam and the Malay peninsula had been very close during the regimes of the Pallava dynasty (from the 4th to the 9th century CE) and Chola dynasty (from the 9th to the 13th century CE). The trade relations the Tamil merchants had with the ports of Malaya led to the emergence of Indianized kingdoms like Kadaram (Old Kedah) and Langkasugam.[6] Furthermore, Chola king Rajendra Chola I sent an expedition to Kadaram (Srivijaya) during the 11th century conquering that country on behalf of one of its rulers who sought his protection and to have established him on the throne. The Cholas had a powerful merchant and naval fleet in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Three kinds of craft are distinguished by the author of the Periplus light coasting boats for local traffic, larger vessels of a more complicated structure and greater carrying capacity, and lastly the big ocean-going vessels that made the voyages to Malaya, Sumatra, and the Ganges.[7]

Religion in Malaysia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Malaysia is multicultural and multiconfessional. The dominant religion in Malaysia is Islam, whose followers make up 61 per cent of the population. Islam is recognised as the state religion of Malaysia, although the country has a secular constitution. Debate exists about whether Malaysia should be a secular or Islamic state, with politics often becoming entwined with religion. Due to contention with an Islamic opposition, the ruling government has slowly become more Islamic, with Islam beginning to have more influence over day to day life in Malaysia. The government promotes the spread of Islam, which is under the control of individual states. Religion often follows ethnic lines, with most Muslims being Malays. The code of Islam enforced is Sunni. Islam was introduced by traders, becoming firmly established in the 15th century. The government promotes a moderate form of Islam known as Islam Hadhari. Any teaching which deviates from the official Sunni code is illegal, and no other forms of Islam are allowed. The country has both civil and Shariah courts, with all Muslims having to follow Shariah laws. These are enforced by the government and police forces. The large Chinese population in Malaysia practices a mix of beliefs, with influences from traditional Chinese religions such as Buddhism and Daoism. Hinduism is practised by the majority of Malaysian Indians. In recent years the government has demolished many Hindu temples, causing concern among the Indian population. Christianity has established itself in some communities, especially in East Malaysia. It is not tied to any specific ethnic group. Other religions, such as the Baha'i Faith and Sikhism also have adherents in Malaysia. Relations between different religious groups are generally quite tolerant. Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Deepavali have been declared national holidays alongside Islamic holidays. Various groups have been set up to try to promote religious understanding among the different groups, with religious harmony seen as a priority by Malaysian politicians. However, it is illegal to convert Muslims to other religions, and disputes have arisen over the use of the word "Allah" for God in religions other than Islam. Restrictions on religious freedom exist, especially for Muslims, who are often not allowed to legally convert to other religions, and are forced into rehabilitation camps if they attempt to.
Contents
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m

1 Religious distribution 2 Law and politics 2.1 Secularis

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of religion

2.2 Freedom

3 Interfaith relations 4 Islam

5 Chinese religions 6 Hinduism 7 Christianity 8 Other 9 References

[edit]Religious

distribution

All the world's major religions have substantial representation in Malaysia.[1] The Population and Housing Census 2010 figures shows approximately these proportions of the population following these religions:[2]

61.3% Islam 19.8% Buddhism 9.2% Christianity 6.3% Hinduism 1.3% Confucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinese religions 0.7% Atheist 1.4% Other religions or no information

The majority of Malaysian Malay people are Muslim. Most Malaysian Chinese follow a combination of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and ancestor-worship.[1] Statistics from the 2010 Census indicate that 83.6% of Malaysia's ethnic Chinese identify as Buddhist, with significant numbers of adherents following Taoism (3.4%) and Christianity (11.1%).[2] Christianity is the predominant religion of the nonMalayBumiputra community (46.5%) with an additional 40.4% identifying as Muslims.[2] Many indigenous tribes of East Malaysia have converted to Christianity, although Christianity has made fewer inroads intoPeninsular Malaysia.[1]

[edit]Law

and politics

Islam is the religion of the Federation, although Malaysia is a multi-religious society and the Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of religion.[3] Religious beliefs follow ethnic lines.[4] Holidays have been declared for holy days in numerous religions,[3] although only Islam has more than one national holiday.
[4]

Whether a religion obtains approval of the government is determined by the Registrar of Societies, part of the

Ministry of Home Affairs. Only upon approval do they qualify for government benefits. However, unrecognised groups such as the Falun Gong can practise by registering themselves under the Companies Act, although this means that technical violations of the act can result in a fine.[3]

The government believes the constitution provides a strong enough guarantee of religious freedom and should not be changed. Some restrictions are made on Malay texts from non Islamic religions in Peninsula Malaysia, however there are much less restrictions in East Malaysia. Headscarves are mandatory for non-Muslims in certain situations.[3] The MyKad identity card states whether the holder is a Muslim or not.[4] As Islam is the state religion, the government provides financial support to Islamic establishments and enforces the Sunni form of Islam. State governments can impose Islamic law on Muslims, and the government will offer grants to private Muslim schools that allow a government-approved curriculum and supervision. The government also indirectly funds non-Islamic communities, although to a much smaller degree. The government generally does not interfere with the religious practices of non-Muslim communities. Public schools offer an Islamic religious instruction course which is compulsory for Muslim students, and non-Muslim students take a morals and ethics course.[3] The government prohibits any publications that it feels will incite racial or religious disharmony,[3] and has asked that religious matters not be discussed in public due to their sensitivity.[5] It claims nobody has been arrested under the Internal Security Act for religious reasons. The government may demolish unregistered religious places of worship, and nongovernmental organisations have complained about the demolition of unregistered Hindu temples. These were often constructed on privately owned plantations prior to independence in 1957. After independence plantations became government property. In 2006 the state of Negeri Sembilan announced the demolition of a Hindu temple, although the temple sought injunction and took it to court.[3] State governments control mosques, appoint imams, and provide guidance for sermon content. [3] The conflict between the federal and state governments over religious authority led to a slow pace of reform and development of laws relating to Islam.[6] Other religious groups, such as the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), have supported political rallies.[7] Both Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) party have attempted to deliver political messages using mosques in the states they govern. All civil servants must attend governmentapproved religion classes. BN has banned opposition-affiliated imams from mosques, enforced restrictions on sermons, replaced opposition sympathetic mosque leaders and governing committees, and closed down unauthorised mosques affiliated with the opposition. The state government of Selangor in August 2005 withheld visas from foreign imams to try to increase the number of local imams. PAS, which controls the state of Kelantan restricts imams affiliated with BN from their mosques. It is thought that support for a moderate Islam led to the 2004 election victory of BN over PAS in the state of Terengganu.[3] Both parties became more Islamic in the 1980s and 1990s to try to obtain more of the Malay vote.[8] Political problems are often portrayed as religious issues.[9]

[edit]Secularism

Despite the recognition of Islam as the state religion in the constitution, when created it was explicitly noted that the status was merely a symbolic one. It was not seen as something to be used as a basis of law, except by some Malay nationalists.[10] Currently a dispute exists between those who promote a secular interpretation of the federal constitution and those who believe Syariah courts and Islamic law should have supremacy. [11] The movement towards a more Islamic society, known as dakwah, is often viewed as an effort to resist western influences.[10] Secular values are often favoured by the Malay elite, who welcome the shared goals of industrial development. It is however opposed by Muslims who see it as an invasion of western culture and worldview.
[12]

Support for a more Islamic society often comes from the more rural population of Malays.[10]

As modernisation has increased, it has brought along with it an increase in secularism. In urban areas, the switch to more western dress such as miniskirts and jeans is of concern to religious authorities.[13]Nightclubs and bars thrive in the cities. However, in the time since independence other areas have become more islamicised. At the time of independence women wore tight-fitting outfits, but now wear headscarves. Muslim prayers are played through the speaker systems of government buildings, and some feel Malaysia is becoming a more Islamic than secular state, with critics complaining that Islam is gaining greater influence in governance.
[14]

The issue of how the Malay identity should be developed has increasingly come under debate. While the

ruling government believes that attaining economic power will empower the Malay population, PAS sees that as an erosion of Islamic values. However, PAS is often seen as to not be able to relate Islamic beliefs to modern society, especially in multicultural Malaysia.[15] Historically Malaysia was considered secular, with the first prime minister stating "this country is not an Islamic state as it is generally understood."[16] In September 2001 debate was caused by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's announcement that Malaysia was already an Islamic State.[17] In 2007 Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi first called Malaysia an Islamic state. Earlier that month he had made another statement, saying Malaysia was neither a theocratic or secular state. [18] A similar statement was made by Prime Minister on 12 March 2009, where he stated Malaysia was a "negara Islam". [16]The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), a political group representing Malaysian Chinese, expressed reservations over this announcement. The MCA's position is that Malaysia is a fully secular state, and that the law transcends religion.[16] The Prime Minister has asserted the continuing debate about secularism has been caused by opposition parties to advance their own political interests.[18] When PAS was defeated in Terengganu, enforcement of female dress codes was reduced. The state PAS government in Kelantan bans traditional Malay dance theatres, banned advertisements depicting women who are not fully clothed, and enforced the wearing of headscarves, although they allowed gender segregated cinemas and concerts. Some government-controlled bodies pressure non-Muslims to also wear headscarves, and all students of the International Islamic University of Malaysia and female officers in the Royal Malaysian Police are required to wear headscarves in public ceremonies.[3]

[edit]Freedom

of religion

Main article: Freedom of religion in Malaysia Freedom of religion, despite being guaranteed in the constitution, faces many restrictions in Malaysia.
[19] [12]

Legally, a Malay in Malaysia must be a Muslim.[13] Non-Malays are more free to shift between religions. Attempts by Muslims to convert to other religions are punished by state governments, with punishments

ranging from fines to imprisonment. The federal government does not intervene in legal disputes over conversion, leaving it to the courts. The secular courts of Malaysia have ruled they do not have the authority to decide these cases, referring them to the Syariah courts. These Islamic courts have unanimously ruled that all ethnic Malays must remain Muslims. Even non-Malays who have converted to Islam are not allowed to leave Islam, and children born to Muslim parents are considered to be Muslims.[13] A non-Muslim who wishes to marry a Muslim must first convert to Islam.[20] Many Muslims who have attempted to convert have received death threats. [11] Those who have converted lead a secret double life. The civil court claims that conversions are under the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts, but converts contend that as they are no longer Muslim the Syariah courts hold no power over them. [5] Authorities only allow Sunni Islam to be practised, arresting those who stray from those beliefs.[3] Converts taken to be rehabilitated by Islamic authorities are forced to dress and act as Muslims. In at least one case a professed Hindu, who was listed as a Muslim because her parents were even though she was raised by her grandmother as a Hindu, was forced to eat beef.[21] Only one person is known to have had their conversion from Islam accepted, an 89 year old woman who converted to Buddhism in 1936 and had her decision accepted after her death in 2006.[13] The debate over laws about conversion has been strong in academic and political circles, with the many nonMuslims against the law conflicting with the Muslim group who strongly support the law, causing the government a dilemma. It is illegal to disseminate any non-Islamic religious material to Muslims. The PAS party wishes that the death penalty be enacted for Muslims who attempt to convert, as part of their ultimate desire to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state.[19]

[edit]Interfaith

relations

The separate religious communities have a generally tolerant relationship.[3] Festivals are held for all major religions, which are participated in by people from that religion and others in a Malaysian practise known as 'Open House'.[1] Malaysia has a reputation for being a successful multicultural country, with the only two serious occurrences of racial violence in modern history occurring in 1946 and 1969. [8] Other countries have examined Malaysia as an example for handling Islamic fundamentalism. [22] However, some politicians allege that there is a creeping Islamisation of Malaysian society, and due to the links between race and religion it is thought the economic status of different races causes many religious problems.

[8]

The predominance of Islam and its slow spread into everyday life in Malaysia has caused worry for non-

Muslim groups.[12] The Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2004 appeared at a Christian gathering to read from the Bible and called for religious unity despite differences. This was done at a time when Malaysia was head of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.[23] In February 2005 the Malaysian Bar Council organised the discussion of an interfaith commission, although several Islamic groups refused to participate claiming the commission would "weaken Islam". Several Muslim groups boycotted and condemned an interfaith council, claiming Islam should only be discussed by Muslims. The government states the commission was not necessary, but encourages and promotes interfaith dialogue. Some non-Muslim interfaith organistaions do exist, such as the MCCBCHS, the Malaysian Council of Churches, and the Christian Federation of Malaysia.[3] In 2006 a memorandum was presented to the prime minister by non-Muslim cabinet members asking for a review of constitutional provisions affecting the rights of non-Muslims. After protests by Muslim leaders in the governing coalition, this was withdrawn. It is forbidden for non-Muslims to try to convert Muslims, although Muslims are allowed to convert others.[3] Malay politicians have asked the Chinese and Indian communities not to question Malay rights, for fear of igniting ethnic violence, with harmony between the races and religions being seen as a necessity.[24]

[edit]Islam
Main article: Islam in Malaysia

The National Mosque of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur

Islam is the predominant religion of the country and is recognised as the state's official religion.[3] It is practised by about 60 per cent of Malaysians. Many Muslim holy days are national holidays, including the end of Ramada, the end of the Hajj, and the birthday of Mohammad.[4] Islam is thought to have been brought to Malaysia around the 12th century by Indian traders.[25] In the early 15th century the Malacca Sultanate, commonly considered the first independent state in the peninsula, was founded.[26] Led by a Muslim prince the influence of Malacca led to the spread of Islam throughout the Malay population.[27] Although most people in Malaya were Muslim by the 15th century, the tolerant form of Islam brought by the Sufi meant that many traditional practices were incorporated into Islamic traditions.[4] Islam is generally practiced liberally, although in the last 20 years strict adherence to Islamic practice has increased.[4] The official code of Islam in Malaysia is Sunni, and the practice of any other form of Islam is heavily restricted. The government opposes what it calls "Deviant" teachings, forcing those who are deemed to follow these teachings to undergo "rehabilitation". In June 2006 56 deviant teachings had been identified by the government, including Shi'a,

transcendental meditation, and Baha'i teachings. In June 2005 religious authorities reported that there were 22 "deviant" religious groups with around 2,820 followers in Malaysia. No statistics are given on rehabilitations, and the government actively monitors Shi'a groups. Restrictions have been imposed on Imams coming from overseas.[3] The Malaysian government promotes a moderate version of Sunni Islam called Islam Hadhari. Islam Hadhari was introduced by former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. It is meant to encourage a balanced approach to life, and encourages inclusivity, tolerance, and looking outwards. The qualities it values are knowledge, hard work, honesty, good administration, and efficiency. The Islamic party PAS desires a stricter interpretation of Islam and the promotion of Islamic law. Due to Islam being the state religion, many mosques and other religious services are supported by the government. [4] Control of the mosques is usually done on a state rather than a federal level.[3] The charitable Zakt tax is collected by the government, and the government supports those wishing to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.[4] In 1985 Kassim Ahmed wrote a book called Hadith: A Re-evaluation which promoted Quranism, but it was subsequently banned by the Malaysian government.[citation needed]

An Ustaz reading during a Malay wedding

All ethnic Malays are considered Muslim by Article 160 of the Constitution of Malaysia.[28] In practice, Muslims cannot convert to another religion due to the Shari'a courts denying conversion claims,[3] and if a Malay did convert they would lose their status as bumiputera.[4] People of non-Muslim origins are required to convert to Islam if they marry a Muslim person. Public schools are required to offer Islamic religious instruction, although alternative ethics classes are provided for non-Muslims.[3] Many women wear the tudong, which covers the head but leaves the face exposed, although there is no law requiring this.[4] Islamic police monitor the Muslim population. Regulation of sexual activities among the Muslim population is strict, with laws prohibiting unmarried couples from occupying a secluded area or a confined space, to prevent suspicion of acts considered islamically immoral.[29] If a non-Muslim desires a dog, they must obtain the permission of their Muslim neighbours.[4] Muslims are obliged to follow the decisions of Syariah courts in matters concerning their religion. The Islamic judges are expected to follow the Shafi`i legal school of Islam, which is the main madh'hab of Malaysia.
[30]

These courts apply Sharia law.[3] The jurisdiction of Shariah courts is limited only to Muslims in matters such

asmarriage, inheritance, divorce, apostasy, religious conversion, and custody among others. No other criminal or civil offences are under the jurisdiction of the Shariah courts, which have a similar hierarchy to the Civil Courts. Despite being the supreme courts of the land, the Civil Courts (including the Federal Court) do not hear

matters related to Islamic practices.[31] Cases concerning a Muslim and a non-Muslim are usually handled by the civil courts, although in cases such as child custody or property settlement the non-Muslim has no say.[4]

[edit]Chinese

religions

See also: Malaysian Chinese religion and Buddhism in Malaysia

Kek Lok Si Temple, a Buddhist temple in Penang

Many Malaysian Chinese practice a mixture of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. Although Buddhism was influential prior to the arrival of Islam, the majority of the current Chinese population arrived during British rule of Malaya. Chinese New Year is celebrated as a national holiday.[4] For many Chinese religion is an essential part of their cultural life.[32] It is rare for any Malaysian Chinese to be a 'pure' follower of a particular belief. Many nominally claim membership in a certain belief, yet respect beliefs from multiple religions into their lives. Traditional Chinese beliefs have become a strong influence in life, and new sects have arisen trying to integrate different religious teachings. Beliefs in Malaysia have also often adopted influence from local animism. [33] Around 19 per cent of the current population classify themselves as Buddhist. Each religious building is autonomous, and most Malaysian Chinese follow the Mahayanabranch. Thai and Sinhalese minorities in Malaysia follow the Therevada branch. A Malaysian Buddhist Council has been created to promote the study and practice of Buddhism and promote solidarity among Malaysian Buddhists. Vesak day is a national holiday, and joint celebrations take place in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor by both branches of Buddhism. Buddhist temples often contain Daoist deities, with most deities being from the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Fujian. Malaysia has over 150 Daoist temples served by 12000 priest, with the Daoist communities sharing links with those in Taiwan and Mainland China. Although the religion is not as organised as others, a Malaysia Daoist Association was formed in 1995 and a Daoist Organisation League was formed in 1997.[4] A Chinese population known as the Hui peoplepracticed Islam yet retained Chinese culture and have unique traditions. Communities existed in Singapore, Pangkor island, and Sitiawa before the Second World War. The last established community, in Penang, was dispersed when they were evicted from their homes due to development projects.[34]

[edit]Hinduism
Main article: Hinduism in Malaysia

The Batu Caves have the tallest LordMurugan statue in the world.

The majority of the Tamil's who make up 9 per cent of Malaysia's population practice Hinduism. Hinduism was influential prior to Islam, but current adherents are mostly descended from migrant communities from Tamil Nadu who came to Malaya to work on British rubber plantations. A small community of migrants from North India also exists.[4] Urban temples are often dedicated to a single deity, while rural temples are often home to many different deities. Most were brought with immigrants. Most temples follow Saivite tradition from Southern India, for the worship of Siva. The Hindu holiday of Deepavali is a national holiday.[4] Practice of the Hindu religion in Malaysia is strongly linked with the cultural identity of Indians who reside there. Someone who converts to another religion may be ostracised by their family and the Indian community.[35] There is growing tensions among the Hindu community of what they see as a government-backed drive to demolish Hindu temples under the guise that they are illegal structures.[24] The Hindu Rights Action Force, a coalition of 50 Hindu-based NGOs, has accused the government of an unofficial policy of "temple cleansing", with much of the demolition focused around the capital city Kuala Lumpur.[36] An Indian minister in the cabinet even threatened to boycott Deepavali in response to these demolitions.[24]

[edit]Christianity
Main article: Christianity in Malaysia About 10 per cent of the population of Malaysia are Christians, including Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indian minorities. The most common denominations are Anglican, Methodist, and Roman Catholic. Most Christians are found in East Malaysia, where Good Friday is a public holiday in the states of Sabah and Sarawak. Christmas is a national holiday, although Easter is not.[4]

St. John's Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur

Traders with links to Christianity from the Middle East arrived in what is now Malaysia in the 7th century. Catholicism was brought by the Portuguese in the 15th century, followed by Protestantism with the Dutch in 1641. As Portuguese influence declined Protestantism began to eclipse Catholicism. Christianity spread further through missionaries who arrived during British rule in the 19th century and introduced Christianity to East Malaysia.[37] Initial conversions focused mainly on theStraits Settlements. When missionaries began to spread through the peninsula, they were discouraged from converting Malays, focusing on Chinese and Indian immigrants.[12] Christianity has become restricted as Malaysia has become more Islamic. Restrictions have been placed on the construction of new churches, although existing ones are allowed to operate. The city of Shah Alam has not allowed any churches to be built. Christians are not allowed to attempt the conversion of Muslims and their

literature must have a note saying it is for non-Muslims only. Similarly, the movie The Passion of the Christ was restricted only to Christian viewers.[4] In April 2005 two Christians were arrested for distributing Christian material in front of a mosque, although charges were later dropped. The restrictions of the dissemination of Malay-language Christian material is much less strict in East Malaysia than in the west. Good Friday is also an official holiday in East Malaysia, although not a national one.[3] The use of the Malay word "Allah" for God has caused a dispute in Malaysia, with Malay language Bibles banned due to the use of this word.[4] It was argued that as the Bibles could be used to spread religions other than Islam, they were against the constitution. Other ministers opposed this discrimination. In 2005 Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz tried to enforce this, although some of his ministers argued the national language could be used for any purpose.[38] The Bible in the indigenous Iban language was allowed, as that language has no alternate word besides "Allah" for God.[4]

[edit]Other
See also: Sikhism in Malaysia, Animism in Malaysia, Datuk Keramat, and History of the Jews in Malaysia

A Datuk shrine on Pangkor Island

A small Sikh community exists in Malaysia, brought by the British to form police units. They follow Sikhism, and open their places of worship to all races ages and genders. No Sikh holiday has been declared a national holiday,[4] although there are 120,000 in the country. Sikhs have, like Christians, come under pressure not to use the word "Allah" for God in their religious texts.[39] A small Jewish community existed on the island of Penang. Jews first came into contact with the Malay peninsula during the 11th century when Jewish traders traded with the Kedah Sultanate and Langkasuka. Many Jews in Malaysia came from Persia. After the communist revolution in China, more Jews fled to Southeast Asia. However, the Jewish community declined, with many emigrating to countries such as Australia. Due to not having enough members to hold some Jewish rituals, the only synagogue in Penang, established in 1932, was shut down in 1976. The last burial in Penang's Jewish cemetery took pace in 1978.[40] By 1990s the community had disappeared, and it is now thought that there are only two Jews who hold Malaysian passports.
[41]

A small Baha'i group exists in Malaysia, with members from Chinese, Eurasian, Indian, Indigenous communities. It was introduced to Malaya by a Farsi couple in 1950, with the first National Spiritual Assembly being elected in 1964.[42] A community of around 2500 Jains lives in Malaysia, with the state of Ipoh hosting the only Jain temple in Southeast Asia. Most are Gujaratis, who are thought to have arrived in Malacca in the 15th or 16th century.[43]

Traditional beliefs are still practiced by the Orang Asal people. Loosely classified as animism, the beliefs are not recognised by the state as a religion. Animistic beliefs are passed down through oral tradition due to the lack of a writing system in indigenous groups, who call their beliefs agama adat (traditional or customary religions). The different religions are rather varied, with different names and concepts for their supreme god and other supernatural deities. Most of the beliefs are heavily influenced by the environment, with physical features such as mountains, trees, valleys, and rivers being sacred. A close relationship with nature is nurtured, and the relationship of humans and nature is a strong part of the religion, with everyday activities such as hunting and gathering having spiritual significance.[44]

Tourist spots

Kuala Lumpur
To describe Kuala Lumpur is like opening a book that has various exciting chapters. Yes, this only global city of Malaysia appears blessed with colors of modernism along with rich heritage. Though formally KL spans over an area of 244 sq kms, its plush precincts virtually get bigger to embrace the entire world. Kuala Lumpur is situated at the confluence of Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang, and probably, that's how it got its name, which literally means 'muddy confluence' in Malay language. In geographical terms, it is located in the west coast central of Peninsular Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is the seat of the Parliament of Malaysia, which makes it the country's legislative capital. It is one amongst the Federal Territories of Malaysia. In fact, its prime location and primitive significance also make KL the cultural and economic center of the country. Once seen its contemporary set-up, no one can even imagine that this glittering city was region of tin mines hardly 160 years ago. The best part about this gamma world city is that it has maintained equilibrium between its own culture and modernization. Literally Kuala Lumpur is speckled with offbeat skyscrapers and avant-garde shopping malls. Still it has no shortage of old quaint shop houses which strike a chord of its past. On one hand where you see the world's tallest twin building of the Petronas Twin Towers, you can find its rich Craft Complex on the other hand. Moreover, Kuala Lumpur is acclaimed to be only city in the world which has dense forests in its precincts. The inhabitants of this city are called KLites who are lovely people belonging to different sects and communities, yet keeping cordial relations with each other. On the travel & tourism chart of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur shines brightly owing to its steaming range of tourist attractions. Being the largest and the most happening city in Malaysia, it houses numerous amazing night clubs, pubs, bars, karaoke lounges, restaurants, etc, to offer each swish amusement to the people. To put concisely, Kuala Lumpur is the majestic access to a fascinating destination.

Kelantan-literally meaning "Land of Lightning"-is an agrarian state with lush paddy fields, rustic fishing
villages and casuarina-lined beaches. Located in the northeast corner of the peninsula, the charms of Kelantan are found in the vitality of its culture and its remote, unsullied beauty. Kelantan offers plenty of opportunities for tourists such as river cruises, river rafting, bird watching and jungle trekking. History Though not much is known about Kelantan's early history, Chinese historical documents date back the history of Kelantan between 8000 and 3000 BC. These documents chronicle the existence of a government, which maintained links with China. Kelantan was subsequently referred to as "Ho-lo-tan", "Chih-Tu" and "Tan-Tan" in these records. The territories of Kelantan and Patani came under Siam in the 14th century. Around 1411, Raja Kumar, the ruler of Kelantan, became independent of Siam and Kelantan became an important centre of trade by the end of the 15th century. In 1499, Kelantan was conquered by forces of the Malacca Empire and became its vassal state. With the fall of Malacca in 1511, Kelantan was divided up and ruled by petty chieftains. With the conquest by the Siamese in 1603, most of the Kelantan chiefs became subject to Patani. Around 1760, a petty chieftain of Kubang Labu in Kelantan succeeded in unifying the territory of the present Kelantan. Soon after in 1764, Long Yunos seized the throne and proclaimed himself Raja of Kelantan. With his death, Kelantan came under the influence of Terengganu. In 1800, Raja Muhammad declared himself as the first Sultan of Kelantan. In 1812, he broke from Terengganu's influence and became a separate tributary state of Siam. In 1831, Siam divided up the old Malay Kingdom of Patani into 7 provinces each under a Siamese Governor. Siam played an important role in Kelantan throughout the 19th century. In the 1909 Anglo-Siamese treaty, Siam surrendered its claims over Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis in

exchange with the British government for territorial claims in Siam. Kelantan thus came under the control of the Straits Settlements as one of the Unfederated Malay States. Kelantan was occupied by the Japanese on 8th December, 1941. After the defeat of Japan in August 1945, Kelantan and the rest of Malaya came under the British Military Administration in September 1945. Kelantan became part of the Federation of Malaya on 1st February, 1948 and together with other states attained independence on 31st August, 1957. On 16th September 1963, Kelantan became one of the component states of Malaysia.

Climate Kelantan enjoys a pleasant tropical climate. It is almost summer all year round with refreshing intermittent rain. Longer and heavier rainfall is observed in November, December and January. Daily temperature ranges from 21C to 32C. Best Time to Visit The best time to visit Kelantan is between February and May as rainfall is relatively less at this time of the year. The July festival that is held here also attracts lots of tourists.

Tourist Attractions/Places to See Kota Bahru: Kota Bahru, the capital of Kelantan is a bustling town famous for its ornately decorated trishaws. It is the best place to appreciate Kelantanese culture and crafts and offers numerous attractions for visitors. Cultural Centre: Located on Jalan Mahmud close to the Perdana Hotel, the cultural centre is a veritable showcase of the living heritage of Kelantan. Istana Batu (Royal Museum): Istana Batu was designed and built in 1939 during the reign of Sultan Ismail I. It was used as a venue for royal weddings as well as to house royal guests. Today, it has been converted into the Royal Museum where regalia and palace items belonging to former Sultans are on display. These include silverware, bedroom items and furniture from the royal household. War Museum: The War Museum occupies the oldest brick building in Kelantan, dating back to 1912. This historic building now houses Japanese memorabilia and documents relating to World War II. Islamic Museum/Syura Hall: The history of Islam in Kelantan is well documented in the artifacts and inscriptions exhibited here. Istana Balai Besar: Built by Sultan Muhammad II in 1840, the Istana Balai Besar was formerly the residence of past Sultans. However, it is now used solely as a venue for official state functions. Handicraft Village and Craft Museum: Kelantan's exquisite range of handicrafts is on display here. Silverware, "songket", batik and woodcarvings are exhibited and are for sale as well. Gunung Stong: Kelantan's highest mountain, it is home to Fish Cave or Gua Ikan, a lone rock that looks like a fish. Merdeka Square: Once known as Padang Kelupang, it is one of the many central open and civic spaces in Malaysia built by the British. Masjid Kampung Laut: One of the oldest mosques in Malaysia, its uniqueness lies in the fact that it was built entirely without the use of nails. Pantai Cahaya Bulan: This lovely stretch of shimmering is Kelantan's most famous beach. Fringed by swaying casuarinas and coconut palms, the beach is a big hit with the tourists.

Pantai Irama (Beach of Melody): Situated in the district of Bachok about 25 km south of Kota Bharu, Pantai Irama is believed to be the most beautiful beaches along the entire east coast. Pantai Seri Tujuh (Beach of Seven Lagoons): Venue of the International Kite Festival, this beach lies on the border of Thailand and Kelantan at Kampung Tujuh in Tumpat, about 7 km from Kota Bharu. Shopping Kelantan offers a great variety of local handicrafts. This is supplemented by merchandise from Thailand, which is available at the Malaysian border towns of Rantau Panjang and Pengkalan Kubur. In the shops, richly coloured silks are displayed alongside batik scarves, prints and songket textiles. Some of the famous shopping places in Kelantan are Bazaar Buluh Kubu and Jalan Temenggong. Bazaar Buluh Kubu is a three-storey shopping complex and contains great variety of locally made souvenirs, knick-knacks, batik, gold and silver songket, fine silverware and imported Thai goods. Jalan Temenggong is a street lined with craft shops selling gold and silver jewellery, textiles, brassware and woodcarvings.

How to Reach Kelantan By Road: There is an excellent network of roads linking major towns in Peninsula Malaysia to Kelantan. There are regular air-conditioned busses operating from Kuala Lumpur and major towns to Kota Bharu. By Rail: Train services from Kuala Lumpur to Kelantan terminate at Wakaf Bharu and Tumpat. From these two points, one can get to Kota Bharu either by taxi or bus. Stop over points en-route include Gua Musang, Kulal Krai, Tanah Merah and Pasir Mas.

Malacca Malacca is a quiet seaside city located on the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia facing the Straits of
Malacca, about 147 km from Kuala Lumpur. Malacca is a wonderful repository of its cultural heritage. Its colonial past is evident in its Portuguese architecture, where as on the streets, Chinese influence is most visible. Most of the businessmen here are Chinese. Over the centuries, the Chinese and local Malay cultures in Malacca intertwined, eventually producing a completely unique society-a mosaic of different cultures. History Malacca rose from a humble fishing village to become a major center of the spice trade forming a vital link between

the East and the West. The city was founded in 1400 AD by a fleeing Sumatra Prince, Parameswara. As Malacca was situated at strategically important place- midway along the straits that linked China to India and the Near East-it was perfectly positioned as a center for maritime trade. The city grew rapidly, and within fifty years it became a hub of international commerce, with a population of over 50,000. During this time Islam was introduced in the Malay Peninsula, arriving along with Gujarati traders in Western India. When the European powers began their colonial quest, Malacca was one of the first cities that caught theirattention. The Portuguese under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque arrived first, taking the city after a sustained bombardment in 1511. The Portuguese were determined to control the East-West trade; so Malacca still retained its importance as a trade center until 1641 when the Portuguese surrendered Malacca to the Dutch. The Dutch who had a stronger foothold over the Indonesia archipelago swung the trade center over to Sumatra. In the meantime, Malacca's trade also declined due to the silting of its port. In 1795, Malacca was given to the British to prevent it form falling in the hands of the French, where the Netherlands was captured during the French Revolution. By the time British took over in 1824, the focus of the trade had shifted from Malacca to Singapore and Penang. Malacca however became the focal point again during the struggle for independence after the Japanese Occupation during the Second World War and the British Colonial period that followed. So when Malaya gained its independence in 1957 it was only fitting that the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in Malacca, where it all began. In 1989, Malacca was declared as Malaysia's history city. Climate Malaysia has a tropical climate. The temperatures are more or less same throughout the year, in the vicinity of 2627C. The total rainfall is around 213 cm per year. Humidity is high throughout the year. Best Time to Visit The months of January and February have comparatively less rainfall than other months and hence it is the best time to visit Malacca. Tourist Attractions / Places to See

Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum: The Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum is the ancestral home of three generations of a Straits-born Chinese Baba family. The building is now converted into a stunning museum that preserves the unique legacy of the Babas. The Babas combine Chinese and Malay culture, a result of marriages between early Chinese settlers and local Malay women. Over the years, a distinct culture called the Baba Nyonya or Peranakan culture emerged. Padang Pahlwan, Bandar Hilir: A sound and light show is held at Padang Pahlwan, Bandar Hilir, which brings alive the 600 years of history of Malacca. The Stadthuys: Built in 1650 as the official residence of Dutch Governors and their officers, the edifice is a fine example of Dutch architecture. Preserved in its original structure and form, it now houses the Historic Museum and Ethnography Museum. The Malacca Zoo: The open-habitat zoo sprawls over 22 hectares and has been rated as one of the best in Malaysia. It is home to the rare and endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros as well as many other animals indigenous to Southeast Asia. Mini Malaysia: A stupendous theme complex to enable visitors to view the traditional houses of the 13 states in Malaysia on a single visit. The complex displays life-size authentic houses of Malaysia crafted by master builders. Mini ASEAN: A unique theme park conceived as a summary of the prominent cultural elements of the countries that make up ASEAN (Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Brunei). Butterfly Farm: One of the world's most comprehensive butterfly and insect farms, with well over two hundred local species, including the rare Raja Brooke and Birdwing butterflies. The farm also possesses an extensive collection of

insect

specimens.

Crocodile Farm: One of the largest crocodile farms in the country. There are more than a hundred species found here, including Albino and humpbacked crocodiles. The farm is landscaped to recreate the reptiles' natural environment. Pulau Besar: An ideal place for those seeking sandy beaches, clear blue waters, the sun and sea front chalets on stilts. The island is an excellent resort for swimming, fishing, picnicking and snorkeling. Bukit China: It was the official settlement of the Chinese entourage that arrived with Princess Hang Li Poh. She was sent to Malacca by the Emperor to marry the sultan to mark the advent of diplomatic relationship between Malacca and China. The entourage stayed on this settlement until Portuguese occupation in 1511. Today, Bukit China is the largest Chinese cemetry outside China with many of the tombs dating back to Ming Dynasty.

Shopping Malacca is famous for its antiques. Many artifacts and authentic antique items are available at more than 15 antique shops lining the busy streets of Jonker Street, affectionately known as the 'street of antiques' and is well known among the international antique collectors. The street is named Jalan Hang Jebat. How to Reach Malacca The airport in Malacca is about 9.5 km north of the town centre, at Batu Berendam, which can accommodate mainly smaller aircrafts. Traveling by bus is the mode of transportation favored by most people as there are many bus companies making quite a few trips at different times to various destinations in Malaysia every day. It is comparatively cheap too. If you intend to go by train, then the nearest station is Tampin, about 38 km to the north of Malacca.

Negeri Sembilian literally means "Nine States". It is so called because it comprises a federation of
nine states. Located on the southwest corner of Peninsular Malaysia, Negeri Sembilan encompasses an area of 6,645 sq km and a 48 km long coastline. Negeri Sembilan comprises of picturesque valleys and plains amidst undulating hills and mountains. The rustic villages and lush forests coupled with splendid waterfalls, cool, crystal clear streams, and rivers make it an ideal site for eco-tourism. Negeri Sembilan is also known for its Minangkabau-styled architecture, reflecting the influence of the State's first inhabitants from Sumatra. History Negeri Sembilan was settled between the 15th and 16th century by the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra who migrated to the region during the Malay Sultanate in Malacca. At that time Negeri Sembilan was a rather loose confederation of nine fiefdoms in a secluded valley of the region. It was only in 1773, and with Raja Melewar as the Yam Tuan or ruler, that the nine separate fiefdoms of Sungai Ujong, Rembau, Johol, Jelebu, Naning, Segamat, Ulu Pahang, Jelai and Kelang were unified. Negeri Sembilan's modern history then began with British intervention in the districts of Sungai Ujong, Rembau and Jelebu to protect British economic interests and placed the country under the control of a British Resident. The British established their influence by making treaties with the separate states (1874-89) and by reforming them into a closer federation (1895). Negeri Sembilan became one of the

Federated

Malay

States

in

1896.

Negri Sembilan endured Japanese occupation in World War II between 1941 and 1945, and joined the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and became a state of Malaysia in 1963. Climate Negeri Sembilan has warm, sunny days and cool nights all year round with occasional rain in the evenings. Temperature ranges from 23C to 33C. Humidity is high throughout the year. Annual rainfall is 2,670 mm. Although rain falls throughout the year, October to December are said to be the wettest months. Best Time to Visit You can visit Negeri Sembilan all round the year. It would be better if you avoid going between October and December, as the rainfall is pretty heavy in these months. Tourist Attractions / Places to See

Seremban Lake Gardens: Seremban is the capital of Negeri Sembilan. The lake gardens of Seremban are very scenic. There are two lakes situated amidst a gentle expanse of landscaped greenery that provide a refreshing respite from the heat. Cultural shows are held on a floating stage on one of the lakes. Overlooking the Lake Gardens is the State Mosque, with its nine pillars symbolizing the nine districts of the State. Cultural Handicraft Complex (Kompleks Taman Seni Budaya): The Cultural Handicraft Complex, located at Labu Spur, displays various handicrafts and historic artifacts of Negeri Sembilan. Negeri Sembilan State Museum (Istana Ampang Tinggi): The state museum, situated within the Cultural Handicraft Complex, houses many historical artifacts of the state. Situated next to the museum is the "Rumah Minang" burned down by the British during the Sungai Ujung war. Port Dickson: Port Dickson situated about 32 km west of Seremban, is a very famous seaside resort of Malaysia. Shopping Negeri Sembilan has a string of modern shopping complexes and department stores, especially in Seremban. These include establishments like The Store, Parkson, Seremban Parade, Seremban City Square and Centre Point. Dutyfree items like exquisite watches and sophisticated photographic equipment are widely available at competitive prices. How to Reach Negeri Sembilan The Kuala Lumpur International Airport at Sepang is a mere 30 minutes away from the state capital Seremban. With the completion of North-South Highway, Negeri Sembilan is even more easily accessible from major towns in West Malaysia. Tourists can also choose to take a train from Butterworth, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to Seremban, from where frequent buses travel to the popular beach resort of Port Dickson. The rail service to the east coast states of Pahang and Kelantan begins from the town of Gemas.

Penang, literally meaning Island of Betel Nut, is famous for its natural scenic beauty. Also known as the
'Pearl of Orient', Penang entices visitors with its warm seas, golden beaches, lush greenery and delicious cuisine. History Penang was established by Francis Light in 1786 as the first British trading post in the Far East. Light persuaded the Sultan of Kedah to cede Pulau Pinang ("Island of the Betel Nut") to the British in exchange for military assistance.

The island was originally named Prince of Wales Island and the settlement that soon grew up was named Georgetown after King George III. In 1800, the Sultan of Kedah further ceded a strip of land on the mainland across the channel, which Light named Province Wellesley, after the then Governor of India. In 1832, Penang formed part of the Straits Settlement with Malacca and Singapore. It flourished and grew to be a major trading post for a lucrative trade in tea, spices, china and cloth. Penang remained under the British Colonial rule until 1957, when it gained independence under the Federation of Malaya. It was briefly occupied by the Japanese from 1941 to 1945. In 1963, Penang became part of Malaysia when Sabah and Sarawak came into the group. Climate Penang has an equatorial climate with uniform temperature throughout the year. Humidity is high and total annual rainfall is around 250 cm. August to November are the wettest months. Best Time to Visit Since August to November are the wettest months, it is better to avoid Penang during this time of the year. The period between December and February is pretty dry and is an ideal time to visit Penang. Tourist Attractions / Places to See Georgetown City: Georgetown, the capital of Penang, is a beautiful city that blends the old and the new. It has its own Chinatown and Little India. The architecture of the city manifests its cultural diversity and is an amalgam of British, Thai, Burmese, and Chinese architecture. Clock tower: Erected in 1897, this tower marks the historic center of Georgetown, and was erected, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Fort Cornwallis: The fort was built on the site where Sir Francis Light first landed on the island in 1786. It is a rectangular concrete structure with several cannons protruding from its ramparts. Within the fort there is an open-air amphitheatre, a handicraft and souvenir center, and a bunker. Komtar Tower: This 65-storey complex, known as Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak houses departmental stores, commercial offices, shops and restaurants, theatres, and squash courts. The tower located in the central district of Georgetown offers a panoramic view of the island. Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple: The Buddhist temple with Thai architectural style features a fabulous gold-plated reclining Buddha, the third largest in the world and the niches behind the statue house urns containing the ashes of devotees. Kek Lok Si: It is the largest Buddhist temple complex in Southeast Asia. The temple presents a blend of Chinese, Thai, and Burmese architecture. Kek Lok Si features a seven-tiered pagoda of Ban Po Thar dedicated to the Boddhisattva Tsi Tsuang Wang. Snake Temple: It is the only temple of its kind in the world. One can see multitude of pit vipers coiled around objects on the altar here. They are believed to be harmless. Sri Mariamman Temple: The Hindu temple has fabulous sculptures of gods and goddesses over its entrance and on its faade and highly ornate interior with a priceless statue of Lord Subramaniam embellished with gold, silver, diamonds and emeralds.

Penang Hill: Penang has many hill stations such as the Western Hill, Tiger Hill and Strawberry Hill that offer breathtaking panoramic views of Georgetown. The dusk view from Flagstaff Hill is an unforgettable experience. A vigorous walk along the delightful trails and a funicular ride on the train are other interesting things to do here. Khoo Kongsi: The Chinese immigration to Penang gave rise to the formation of clan formations or kongsi and each of them constructed a hall to serve as the locus of its community. The Khoo Kongsi is the most famous example of these magnificent halls and was said to rival the palace of China's emperor. However, the original Khoo Kongsi burnt to the ground almost as soon as it was completed and the present structure is only a scaled down version of that original. The intricate carvings and richly ornamented beams made of the finest wood are the highlights of the hall. Penang Bridge: The bridge is known to be the longest in Asia and third longest in the world. It connects Penang Island with the Peninsular mainland. Beaches of Penang: Penang is known for its wonderful beaches. Some of the most popular beaches in Penang are Tanjung Bunga, Batu Ferringhi, and Teluk Bahang. Shopping Shopping in Penang is great fun. There are number of shopping avenues from modern air-conditioned complexes to quaint old shops where you can get rare antiques and collectibles. Colourful open-air bazaars, and the night markets or pasar malam are a must visit at Penang.

The main shopping areas are concentrated in Julan Penang, Lebuh Campbell, Lebuh Kapitan Kling, Lebuh Chulia, and Lebuh Panti.

Penang is an antique lover's paradise. Here, one can find a myriad collection of goods ranging from exotic
curios, jewellery, souvenirs, clothing, fabric like batik, pewters, vases, ashtrays, baskets, mats, and other handicrafts to the latest electronic gadgets. How to Reach Penang By Air: Penang is easily accessible by air with daily flights from major capitals of the region. It is directly connected with Singapore, Bangkok, Hadyai, Phuket, Maden, Xiamen, and Chennai, operated by Malaysian Airlines. The Bayan Lepas International Airport is located about 20 km from the city center. By Road: The opening of the Penang Bridge linking Penang Island to the Peninsular mainland has facilitated driving to Penang. By Rail: You can take a train from Butter worth to Kuala Lumpur and from Butter worth you can take a ferry to Penang.

Perlis is the smallest state in Malaysia. The state is famous for its serene unspoilt beauty, rustic rural scenes and
verdant paddy fields. The expanse of verdant paddy fields makes the landscape appear like a huge canvas of brilliant green or gold, depending on the season. History Perlis was originally a part of the older kingdom of Kedah, which was conquered by Thailand in 1821. After restoration of the Sultan of Kedah to his throne in 1842, the Thais established Perlis as a vassal state. In 1909 the Thais transferred suzerainty of Perlis from Thailand to Britain. Perlis came under Japanese occupation in

1941 during Second World War. Once the Japanese withdrew from Malaya, Perlis was placed under the British Military Administration. In October 1945, the British laid out the plans for Malayan Union. Under the scheme, Pulau Pinang, Melaka and nine other Malay states were to be united under the Malayan Union. Malays opposition to the British plans to form the Malayan Union catalysed the movement for Independence. The Malay Federation was founded on 1 February 1948 and on 31 August 1957, Malaya achieved Independence. Climate Perlis has a tropical monsoon climate and the temperature is uniform in the range of 21 degrees C to 32 degrees C, while the weather is generally dry and warm with humidity in the lowlands ranging from 82% to 86%. The state's average annual rainfall is around 2500 mm with the wettest months being from May to December. Best Time to Visit Though you can visit Perlis all round the year, but it is better to avoid visiting Perlis during the wettest months i.e. from May to December. Tourist Attractions/Places to See Gua Kelam (Dark Caves): Located about 26 km from Kangar, the Gua Kelam traverse approximately 37 meters of limestone hills from Kaki Bukit on the Malaysian border to Wang Kelian near the Thai border. The caves were at one time used as a trading route between the locals and the Siamese. Padang Besar: Padang Besar, is a border market on the Malaysia-Thailand border. It is a shopper's haunt for Malaysians seeking good bargains. Electrical items, leather goods and clothes are some of the favorite buys here. Kuala Perlis: Located at the estuarine delta of the Sungai Perlis, Kuala Perlis is noted for its excellent laksa, a dish of rice noodles dipped in spiced fish-soup with sliced onions and cucumber. It is also the entry and exit point to Phuket Island and other coastal towns and villages of Southern Thailand, as well as to Pulau Langkawi. Arau: Arau is a royal town, located 10 km south of Kangar, is home to the Istana Di-Raja (Royal Palace) and the Masjid Negeri (State Mosque). Tasik Melati: Tasik Melati is a small but picturesque lake located in a lowland area about 8 km north of Kangar. More than 150 sandbar-islands may be seen all over the lake. Sampans can be rowed to these tiny islands. Elevated walkways extend out over the waters, providing hypnotic prospects out across the lake. Gunung Medan: Gunung Medan, situated 6 km south of Kangar, is a scenic 300-feet-high limestone outcrop. It is accessible by car on a winding road or on foot by stairways and walkways climbing up to the peak. Snake Farm: The Snake Farm is primarily used as a research facility to test and develop serums for the treatment of venomous snake bites. A large collection of snakes can be viewed here. Shopping Padang Besar and Bukit Kayu Hitam, the border towns are famous for their economical bargains. Padang Besar is a good market for leather goods, garments and household items. These are cheaply manufactured in Thailand and sold in town. Bukit Kayu Hitam is known for its duty-free shopping complex. How to Reach Perlis By Air: Perlis has no airport of its own. The nearest airport is Alor Setar airport in Kedah. From there cab takes about 45 minutes to Kangar.

By Road: Buses to Perlis are available from all the major towns of Malaysia.

Sabah is a tropical paradise located at the northeast corner of Borneo. In ancient times it was known as the
"Land Below the Wind" because it lies below the typhoon belt. Sabah attracts visitors with its scenic beauty, rugged landscape and cultural diversity. Sabah offers many attractions to tourists-Rainforests, mountains, unspoilt marine life, water sports, and unique flora and fauna. Sabah is also home to the world's biggest flower, Rafflesia. History Sabah was earlier under various chieftains. Evidences indicate that Sabah had trading relations with Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish. During the 15th century, Sabah was a vassal of the Sultan of Brunei. In 1704, the Sultan of Brunei ceded the land east of Murudu Bay to the Sultan of Sulu. In the early 1880's, Moses, an American trader, obtained a lease over Sabah from Brunei. The lease eventually passed to Alfred Dent, an Englishman. In 1881, he signed a treaty with Brunei and Sulu, converting the lease into a cession. Thus the British North Borneo (earlier name Sabah) was born. It was administered by the Chartered Company of British North Borneo until the Japanese occupation. When the Japanese surrender, Sabah was put under the British Military Administration. In 1946, the Company surrendered its rights to the British Government and Sabah became a British Crown Colony. In 1963, it gained independence and joined Malaysia. In 1963, it gainedindependence and joined Malaysia. Climate Sabah has an equatorial climate. Temperature varies from 21C to 32C in the lowlands, while in the hilly regions temperature varies from 13C to 23C. Average annual rainfall is 2000 mm. Best Time to Visit The best time to visit Sabah is between May and September when the weather is comparatively dry. It is also the best time to see the turtles, which make nightly landings at various locations to lay their eggs. November to January is the rainy season and it is better to avoid going to Sabah at this Tourist Attraction/Places to

time

of

year. See

Sabah State Mosque, Kota Kinabalu: This resplendent structure has majestic domes and gold inlay motifs. It presents a spectacular sight. Sabah Foundation Building, Kota Kinabalu: The building is an architectural and engineering marvel. This 30-storey circular glass building is supported by high tensile steel rods emanating from a central building. It is one of only four such buildings in the world. Kota Belud: Kota Belud is a small town located 77 km from Kota Kinabalu. Every Sunday the place comes alive when the "Tamu," or open market, takes place. Tuaran: Tuaran is the region's agricultural station. Some of the places located nearby and worth visiting are Mengkabong-a Bajau village built over water, and Tamparuli-a town specializing in the production of local handicrafts. Penampang: Penampang is home to the Kadazan people and offers an insight into Sabah's varied ethnic groups. The village is located 13 km south of Kota Kinabalu.

Sarawak-the largest state of Malaysia-is better known as the land of fabled White Rajahs, the hornbill and
the orangutan. Located on the northwestern shore of the island of Borneo, Sarawak is a preferred tourist destination for those seeking culture, nature and adventure tourism. The rainforests of Sarawak are home to the richest and most diverse ecosystem of the world. The rich flora and fauna include the world's largest flower Rafflesia, squirrels and snakes that fly, plants that eat insects and various other species of plants and insects that are yet to be discovered. History Due to its location along the ancient trade routes of the China Sea, Sarawak was a center for trade for merchants from China, India and Arabia. Chinese coins and Han pottery found at the mouth of the Sarawak River show that Chinese traders had been on Sarawak from as early as the 7th century. Besides trade, immigrants came to Sarawak to take advantage of its abundant natural resources, which included gold, antimony, timber, and the famous Sarawak black and white pepper. Sarawak later fell under the control of Sumatra's powerful Srivijayan Empire, which reached its height in the 11th and 12th centuries. Many Sumatran Malays settled in Borneo during this time. About a century later, SrivijayaEmpire crumbled under the attacks of the Hindu-Javanese kingdom of Majapahit, and this period left a considerable number of Indian remains in Sarawak. The Majapahit Empire fell in the early 15th century, just as Islam, which was introduced by Muslim traders, was gaining a foothold in the coastal areas of Borneo. Sarawak then came under the control of the Malay Sultanate of Brunei In 1839, when Sarawak was rebelling against the Brunei Sultanate, an English adventurer named James Brooke arrived and volunteered to quell the revolt. Brooke was successful, and as a reward the Pengiran Mahkota of Brunei made Brooke the Rajah of Sarawak in 1841. James was succeeded by his nephew Charles Brooke in 1868, who in turn was succeeded by his eldest son Charles Vyner in 1917. During the Second World War Sarawak was occupied by Japanese forces, but it was subsequently ceded to Britain after the war and became a British Crown Colony. Sarawak joined Malaysia in 1963 and today observes a democratic system of government. Climate Sarawak has equatorial climate. It is hot and humid throughout the year with average daily temperature ranging from 23C during the early hours of the morning to 32C during the day. It experiences two monsoons. The North East Monsoon, which usually occurs between November to February, brings with it heavy rainfall. The South West Monsoon from June to October is usually milder. Despite our monsoon seasons, the climate in Sarawak remains fairly stable throughout the year. Annual rainfall varies between 3300 mm to 4600 mm for the greater part of the country. Best The best time of year Tourist Time for visiting Sarawak / to Visit is from March to August and October - November. Places to See

Attractions

Sarawak Museum: Located in Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, Sarawak Museum is one of Asia's finest museums. It houses a collection of Bornean ethnological and archaeological items and an exhibition featuring a reconstruction of the great Niah Caves, with remains of the Neolithic people who lived in the Caves

The Sunday Open Market: The Sunday Open Market exhibits a vast variety of handicraft items that include woodcarvings, beadwork, bamboo and rattan products, woven clothes, hats, baskets, sleeping mats and pottery. Kuching Skrang River Safari: The river safari is a four-hour journey along the Skrang River and will take you to the Iban longhouses. The safari is a thrilling affair as it occasionally shoots the rapids. Pepper Plantations: Sarawak is Malaysia's largest exporter of pepper. Pepper plantations can be seen along the Kuching-Serian Road. The Sarawak Cultural Village and Heritage Center: A living museum located at Santubong, the Sarawak Cultural Village conserves and portrays the multi-faceted cultures and customs of ethnic groups such as the Ibans, Bidayuhs, and Melanaus. The Heritage Center is an integral part of the cultural village, which offers traditional arts of Sarawakians. Santubong Fishing Village: Santubong is an attractive beach resort. Hindu and Buddhist archaeological remains have also been found here. National Parks: Sarawak is also home to a number of National Parks. Some of the famous National Parks are Bako National Park, Batang Ai National Park, Gunung Gading National Park, Gunung Mulu National Park, Lambir Hills National Park, Similajau National Park, and Tanjung Datu National Park Caves of Sarawak: Sarawak's massive limestone outcroppings are honeycombed with caves, carved over millions of years by the run off from tropical downpours. While most of the caves are for serious and well-equipped cavers only, sections of the more accessible passages have been equipped with lights and marked paths for tourists. They are: Clearwater and Wind Cave, Deer Cave and Lang's Cave, Wind Cave & Fairy Cave. Shopping Sarawak is a wonderful place for buying antiques and handicrafts. In Kuching, the Main Bazaar, once the main shopping area fronting the port, has been preserved as a colorful reminder of the city's trading past. Now it houses dozens of arts and crafts, curio and antique shops as well as travel agents offering up-country adventures. Similar shops in Sibu, Miri and Kapit also sell native handicrafts and antiques. Some of the popular buys include Iban umbu (hand-woven textiles) that make attractive wall hangings or table covers and Malay kain songket, which is a popular fabric intricately woven with threads of gold and silver. How to Reach Sarawak The capital of Sarawak is Kuching. Kuching International Airport has direct flights to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bandar Seri Begawan and Perth in Western Australia and to Hong Kong via Kota Kinabalu. There are also direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Miri and Sibu, from Johor Bahru to Kuching, and from Kota Kinabalu and Labuan to Kuching and Bintulu. Sarawak is also well connected by road to all the major towns of Malaysia and buses are available for Sarawak from all the major cities.

Terengganu is one of the three east coast states on Peninsular Malaysia. Terengganu is the repository of
Malaysia's cultural heritage and is home to the lilting Gamelan and the mesmerizing "Ulek Mayang" dance. It is a serene state, with numerous small villages, quiet roads, and secluded islands and beaches. The clear waters and teeming marine life of Terengganu have made it an increasingly popular destination for divers. History Terengganu's strategic location in the South China Sea made it an important trade center since ancient times. Earlier records indicate that it had trading relations with China. Like other Malay states, Terengganu practiced a Hindu-

Buddhist culture combined with animist traditional beliefs for hundreds of years before the arrival of Islam. Under the influence of Srivijaya, Terengganu also traded extensively with the Majapahit Empire, and the Khmer. According to a stone monument dated 1303 with Arabic inscriptions found in Kuala Berang, Terengganu was perhaps the first Malay state to receive Islam. Terengganu became a vassal state of Melaka, but retained considerable autonomy with the emergence of Riau-Johor. Terengganu emerged as an independent sultanate in 1724. The first Sultan was Tun Zainal Abidin, the younger brother of a former sultan of Johor, and Johor strongly influenced Terengganu politics through the 18th century. Inthe 19th century, Terengganu became a vassal state of Siam. Under Siamese rule, Terengganu prospered, and was given considerable autonomy. The terms of the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 Siam ceded to Great Britain. A British Resident was installed after considerable reluctance in 1919, and Terengganu became one of the Unfederated Malay States. During World War II, Japan transferred Terengganu back to Siam, along with Kelantan, Kedah, and Perlis, but after the defeat of Japan, these Malay states returned to British control. Terengganu became a member of the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and a state of independent Malaya in 1957. Climate Terengganu has tropical monsoon climate. The temperature is relatively uniform within the range of 21C to 32C throughout the year. During the months of January to April, the weather is generally dry and warm. Humidity is consistently high (approximately 80%). The average rainfall per year is from 2,000 mm to 2500 mm and the period from November to January is the main rainy season. Best Time to Visit It is better to avoid going to Terengganu during the period from November to January as it the main rainy season. Tourist Attractions/Places to See

Kuala Terengganu: Kuala Terengganu is the capital of Terengganu. Though it is fast changing into a modern city, yet the charm of the old world is neither lost nor forgotten. You can start your visit to Terengganu from Kuala Terengganu. Terengganu State Mosque: The mosque was built on the estuary of Terengganu river and its intricate design gives viewers the impression that the mosque is actually floating on water. This place of worship is beautifully lit at night and presents a spectacular sight. Terengganu State Museum: Located on a hill in Jalan Cherong Lanjut, the Terengganu State Museum contains a fine collection of nineteenth-century Chinese wares, showing a clear Islamic influence, prehistoric tools from the Stone Age, and ancient manuscripts of Islamic calligraphy. Marang: Marang is a picturesque fishing village with tall swaying coconut trees, cool fresh air, a beautiful lagoon, and a fleet of fish trawlers. Marang can easily captivate you with its natural beauty and simple ambience. Suterasemai Centre: Located 6 km from Kuala Terengganu, Suterasemai Centre is Malaysia's pioneer silk weaving center where visitors can witness different stages of silk manufacturing. Kenyir Lake: Located in the interior part of Terengganu, Kenyir Lake is the largest man-made lake in Southeast Asia. The lake is the catchment area of Malaysia's largest rock-filled hydroelectric dam. The area around the lake is ideal for jungle trekking and nature walks. Sekayu Waterfalls, Kuala Berang: A favorite retreat for visitors and locals alike, it has seven cascades surrounded

by its natural landscape of lush jungle-clad hills, a fruit orchard, a mini zoo, a bird park, a flower garden, and numerous species of flora and fauna. Rantau Abang: Located 60km south of Kuala Terengganu, the beach at Rantau Abang is the venue for the annual migration of huge leatherback turtles. Visitors lay in wait quietly from midnight to dawn to watch giant leatherback turtles laying eggs. Redang Island: Located 50km from Terengganu, Redang Island is a scuba diver's paradise. The island is famous for its pristine beaches and spectacular marine life. Perhentian Islands: Situated 21km off the coast of Terengganu, Perhentian Islands are topical paradise. They consist of two islands Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil. Bukit Keluang: Bukit Keluang is located 140 km north of Kuala Terengganu. The place has a wonderful beach and is an ideal site for swimming, snorkeling and wind surfing. Shopping Terengganu is an ideal place for buying handicrafts and other local products such as silk, batik work and weaving items. There are many craft centers throughout the state from where you can buy these items. How to Reach Terengganu There are regular flights from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru to Terengganu. The road journey takes three hours from Kuala Lumpur. Buses to Terengganu are available from all the major cities of Malaysia.