Flag of Malaysia
14 equal horizontal stripes of red (top) alternating with white (bottom); there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a yellow crescent and a yellow 14-pointed star; the crescent and the star are traditional symbols of Islam. The design of the flag is based and inspired by the flag of United states of America.
Coat of Arms
MOTTO: - Unity Is Strength
HISTORY OF MALAYSIA
Archaeological remains have been found throughout peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. The earliest evidence of human habitation in the area dates back 40,000 years. These Mesolithic hunters were probably the ancestors of the Semang, an ethnic Negrito group who have a deep ancestry within the Malay Peninsula. The Senoi appear to be a composite group, with approximately half of the maternal DNA lineages tracing back to the ancestors of the Semang and about half to later ancestral migrations from Indochina. Scholars suggest they are descendants of early Austronesian-speaking agriculturalists, who brought both their language and their technology to the southern part of the peninsula approximately 5,000 years ago. They united and coalesced with the indigenous population. The Proto-Malays are more diverse. Although they show some connections with island Southeast Asia, some also have an ancestry in Indochina around the time of the Last Glacial Maximum, about 20,000 years ago. Anthropologists support the notion that the Proto-Malays originated from what is today Yunnan, China. This was followed by early-Holocene dispersal through the Malay Peninsula into island Southeast Asia.1 Around 300 BC, they were pushed inland by the Deutero-Malays, an Iron Age or Bronze Age people descended partly from the Chams of Cambodia and Vietnam. The first group in the peninsula to use metal tools, the Deutero-Malays, was the direct ancestors of today's Malaysian Malays. •
Malaysia as a unified state did not exist until 1963. Previously, the United Kingdom had established influence through colonies in the territory from the late 18th century. The western half of modern Malaysia was composed of several separate kingdoms. This group of colonies was known as British Malaya until its dissolution in 1946, when it was reorganized as the Malayan Union. Due to widespread opposition, it was reorganized again as the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and later gained independence on 31 August 1957.2 Singapore, Sarawak, British North Borneo, and the Federation of Malaya merged to form Malaysia on 16 September 1963.3 Tensions in the early years of the new union sparked an armed conflict with Indonesia and the expulsion of Singapore on 9 August 1965. During the late 20th century, Malaysia experienced an economic boom and underwent rapid development. It borders the Strait of Malacca an important international shipping crossroad, and international trade is integral to its economy. Manufacturing makes up a major sector of the
1 “Phylogeography and Ethnogenesis of Aboriginal Southeast Asians". Oxford Journals. http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/23/12/2480 Retrieved 11 November 2008. 2 “A New Nation", Time, New York, 9 September 1957. 3 Paragraph 22. Singapore. "Road to Independence". Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. Country Studies/Area Handbook Series. U.S. Department of the Army. Retrieved 9 December 2006.
country's economy. Malaysia has a biodiverse range of flora and fauna, and is also considered one of the 17 mega diverse countries. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. The population stands at over 28 million.4 The country is separated by the South China Sea into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo (also known as East Malaysia). Malaysia borders Thailand, Indonesia, and Brunei.
Malaysia is the 43rd most populated country and the 66th largest country by total land area in the world, with a population of about 28 million and a land area of over 320,000 km2 respectively. It is comparable in population to Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, and is roughly similar in size to Norway and Vietnam. •
2 30 N, 112 30 E
Geographic coordinates: Area:
The total area is 329,847 sq km with total land being 328,657 sq km and water being 1,190 sq km. Total: 2,669 km Border countries: Brunei 381 km, Indonesia 1,782 km, Thailand 506 km. 4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km) Territorial sea: 12 nm Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
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Tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons Coastal plains rising to hills and mountains
4 "Population (Updated 5 September 2008)". Department of Statistics, Malaysia. http://www.statistics.gov.my/eng/index.php? option=com_content&view=article&id=50:population&catid=38:kaystats&Itemid=11. Retrieved 20 September 2008.
Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m Highest point: Gunung Kinabalu 4,100 m Tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite Arable land: 5.46% Permanent crops: 17.54% Other: 77% (2005) 3,650 sq km (2003)
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Natural resources: Land use:
Irrigated land: Natural hazards:
Flooding, landslides and forest fires.
Air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions, water pollution from raw sewage, deforestation and smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires.
Environment - current issues:
Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94 and Wetlands Signed, but none of the agreements have been ratified.5
Environment - international agreements:
Islam is the largest and official religion of Malaysia, though it is a multi-religious society with many other religions prevailing. According to the Population and Housing Census 2000 figures, approximately 60.4 percent of the population practiced Islam; 19.2 percent Buddhism, 9.1 percent Christianity, 6.3 percent Hinduism and 2.6 percent practice Confucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinese religions. The remaining was accounted for by other faiths, including animism, folk religion, and Sikhism while 0.9% either reported having no religion or did not provide any information.6 All ethnic Malays are considered Muslim as defined by Article 160 of the Constitution of Malaysia. Most Malaysian Chinese, as with Chinese communities elsewhere, follow a combination of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and ancestor-worship but when pressed to specify their religion will call themselves Buddhists. Statistics from the 2000 Census indicate
5 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/my.html 6 "Population and Housing Census" Press statement, Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
that 75.9% of Malaysia ethnic Chinese identify as Buddhist, with significant numbers of adherents following Taoism (10.6%) and Christianity (9.6%), along with small Hui-Muslim populations in areas like Penang. The majority of Malaysian Indians follow Hinduism (84.5%), with a significant minority identifying as Christians (7.7%), Muslims (3.8%) and over 150,000 Sikhs. Christianity is the predominant religion of the non-Malay Bumiputra community (50.1%) with an additional 36.3% identifying as Muslims and 7.3% follow folk religion.In addition to Christian missionaries from overseas, there are on-going efforts by the government and NGOs to convert the animist communities to Islam, especially among peninsular tribes who are not entitled to bumiputra status. The Malaysian constitution guarantees religious freedom. Muslims are obliged to follow the decisions of Syariah courts when it comes to 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. The jurisdiction of Shariah court is limited only to Muslims over matters such as marriage, inheritance, apostasy, religious conversion, and custody among others. No other criminal or civil offenses are under the jurisdiction of the Syariah 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) in principle cannot overrule any decision made by the Syariah Courts as heavy-handedly ratified by Dr Mahathir Muhammad in the late 1980's.
The Malay language is the official national language of Malaysia as stated in the Federal Constitution. English was for a protracted period, the de facto, administrative language of Malaysia, though its status rescinded later. Despite that, the English language remains an important second language regnant among the urban population and hence the upper-echelon of society. Hindi and Tamil is widespread within the Indian community, while the Chinese Malaysians speak a total of more than six dialects alongside Mandarin. The Dayaks who constitute the majority population of Malaysian Borneo have their own distinctive languages, namely Iban and Kadazandusun. The diversity of languages is reflective of Malaysia's muchvaunted plurality.
Malaysia’s form of government is constitutional monarchy nominally headed by paramount ruler (commonly referred to as the King) and a bicameral Parliament consisting of a nonelected upper house and an elected lower house. All Peninsular Malaysian states have hereditary rulers (commonly referred to as sultans) except Melaka and Pulau Pinang (Penang). These two states along with Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia have governors appointed by government. Powers of state governments are limited by federal constitution. Under terms of federation, Sabah and Sarawak retain certain constitutional prerogatives (e.g., right to maintain their own immigration controls). The current chief of the state is King - Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin since 13 December 2006. The position of the king is primarily ceremonial.
Head of government is Prime Minister Mohamed Najib bin Abdul Razak since 3 April 2009. Whereas the Deputy Prime Minister is Muhydiin bin Mohamed Yassin. The Cabinet is appointed by the prime minister from among the members of Parliament with consent of the king.
The kings are elected by and from the hereditary rulers of nine of the states for five-year terms. The selection is based on principle of rotation among rulers of state. Elections were last held on 3 November 2006 whereas the next are to be held in 2011. The prime minister is designated from among the members of the House of Representatives; following legislative elections, the leader who commands the support of the majority of members in the House becomes prime minister.7
Malaysia is well-endowed with natural resources in areas such as agriculture, forestry and minerals. In terms of agriculture, Malaysia is one of the top exporters of natural rubber and palm oil, which together with sawn logs and sawn timber, cocoa, pepper, pineapples and tobacco dominate the growth of the sector. Palm oil is also a major generator of foreign exchange. Tin and petroleum are the two main mineral resources that are of major significance in the Malaysian economy. Malaysia was once the world's largest producer of tin until the collapse of the tin market in the early 1980s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, tin played a predominant role in the Malaysian economy. It was only in 1972 that petroleum and natural gas took over from tin as the mainstay of the mineral extraction sector. Meanwhile, the contribution by tin has declined. Petroleum and natural gas discoveries in oil fields off Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu have contributed much to the Malaysian economy. Other minerals of some importance or significance include copper, bauxite, iron-ore and coal together with industrial minerals like clay, kaolin, silica, limestone, barite, phosphates and dimension stones such as granite as well as marble blocks and slabs. A small quantity of gold is also produced.
Malaysia is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and participates in many international organizations such as the United Nations. As a former British colony, it is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is a member of the Developing 8 Countries. Malaysia has diplomatic relations with many countries but does not recognize the State of Israel. As such, no traveler with a Malaysian passport can enter Israel.
Malaysia defense requirements are assigned to the Malaysian Armed Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia-ATM). The armed forces have three branches, the Royal Malaysian Navy (Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia-TLDM), Malaysian Army (Tentera Darat Malaysia-TD), and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia-TUDM). The Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia operates both American made and Russian made fighter aircraft.
ECONOMY OF MALAYSIA
Southeast Asia has been a centre of trade for centuries. Various items such as porcelain and spices were actively traded even before Melaka and Singapore rose to prominence. In the 17th century, they were found in several Malay states. Later, as the British started to take over as administrators of Malaya, rubber and palm oil trees were introduced for commercial purposes. Over time, Malaysia became the world's largest major producer of tin, rubber, and palm oil. These three commodities, along with other raw materials, firmly set Malaysia's economic tempo well into the mid-20th century.8 Instead of relying on the local Malays as a source of labour, the British brought in Chinese and Indians to work in on the mines, plantations and fill up the void in professional expertise. Although many of them returned to their respective home countries after their agreed tenure ended, some remained in Malaysia and settled permanently. As Malaya moved towards independence, the government began implementing economic fiveyear plans, beginning with the First Malayan Five Year Plan in 1955. Upon the establishment of Malaysia, the plans were re-titled and renumbered, beginning with the First Malaysia Plan in 1965. In the 1970s, Malaysia began to imitate the four Asian Tiger economies (Republic of Korea (South Korea), Republic of China (Taiwan), then British Crown Colony of Hong Kong and the Republic of Singapore) and committed itself to a transition from being reliant on mining and agriculture to an economy that depends more on manufacturing. With Japanese investment, heavy industries flourished and in a matter of years, Malaysian exports became the country's primary growth engine. Malaysia consistently achieved more than 7% GDP growth along with low inflation in the 1980s and the 1990s. Today, Malaysia is one of the world's largest computer hard disk manufacturing sites.
“A New Nation", Time, New York, 9 September 1957. “Phylogeography and Ethnogenesis of Aboriginal Southeast Asians". Oxford Journals. “Population and Housing Census" Press statement, Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Retrieved 3 April 2007. "Population (Updated 5 September 2008)". Department of Statistics, Malaysia. "Road to Independence". Paragraph 22, Singapore. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. Country Studies/Area Handbook Series. U.S. Department of the Army. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/my.html. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia#cite_note-69.