Form of Government: Federal constitutional monarchy
Area: 330 411 sq km
Population: 32 660 000 inhab. (estimate 2021)
Density: 98.85 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 8° - 1° N; long. 98° - 120° E
Capital: Kuala Lumpur (capital) 1 588 750 inhab. (2010); ; Putrajaya (seat of government) 68 361 inhab. (2010);
Currency: ringgit (100 sen)
Human development index: 0.81 (rank: 62)
Supreme Head of the Federation: Abdullah (Sultan of the state of Pahang), in office since 31 January 2019
Prime Minister: Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob (United Malays National Organization), since 21 August 2021
House of Representatives: seats based on the elections of 9 May 2018: PH (Alliance of Hope, social democratic), 113; BN (National Front, conservative coalition including UNMO), 79; PAS (Malaysian Islamic Party), 18; others, 12
Internet: www.dosm.gov.my (Department of Statistics)
Member of APEC, ASEAN, Commonwealth, OIC, UN, WTO
International license plate code MAL
International dialling code 0060
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required only if traveling from a country with risk of transmission, including travelers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of transmission); malaria prophylaxis (recommended for some areas)
Electricity (Voltage) 240
Driving side left
Internet code .my
DST not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Kuala Lumpur 27.4
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Kuala Lumpur 27/27.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Kuala Lumpur 6.5/5.5
Annual average precipitation (mm) Kuala Lumpur 2365
Days of rainfall (annual average) Kuala Lumpur 157
Politics and current affairs
The high increase in COVID-19 cases in the second quarter of 2021 caused difficulties for Muhyddin Yassin’s government, which is blamed for the slow vaccination effort.
Malaysia comprises the southern tip of the Malacca Peninsula, sharing a border with Thailand to the north and overlooking the Johore Strait, which divides it from Singapore, to the south. The territories of Sarawak and Sabah (East Malaysia) occupy the northern part of the Borneo island (apart from the two parts of the state of Brunei) and lie between the South China Sea to the north, the Sulu Sea to the north-east and the Celebes Sea to the east. The rest of the territory is Indonesian. Peninsular Malaysia is formed by a few isolated mountains and coastal plains.
A series of islands and coral reefs lie off its low-lying, uniform coastline. The territories of Sarawak, to the west, and Sabah, to the east, are separated by a coastal mountain chain (the Crocker Range). The climate is hot and humid. In 2002, The International Court of Justice in the Hague awarded the two islands of Sipadan and Ligitan, situated off the island of Sabah, to Malaysia.
An independent federal state of the British Commonwealth, the Federation of Greater Malaysia was constituted on 16 September 1963, uniting the 11 states of the Federation of Malaysia (independent since 31 August 1957) with Sabah and Sarawak (formerly territories of British Borneo) and Singapore. The latter left the Federation on 9 August 1965. The UMNO (United Malays National Organization) has dominated the country’s politics until the 2018 elections, won by an opposition coalition led by Mahathir bin Mohamad, former Prime Minister for 22 years until 2003.
Each one of the 13 states of the Federation has its own State Legislative Assembly and executive bodies. The hereditary sovereigns and elective heads of state of the member states choose the Supreme Chief of the Federation (the Yang di-Pertuan Agong) who remains in office for five years.
The Prime Minister reports to the Federal Parliament, made up of the House of Representatives (222 members elected by universal suffrage for five years; Sarawak has 27 seats, Sabah has 20 seats) and the Senate (70 members, with 44 appointed by the head of the Federation and 26 by the individual State Legislative Assemblies, who remain in office for three years). The right to vote is acquired at the age of 21.
Defence and justice.
The legal system is based on British Common Law.
|Crimes||256.6||per 100 000 pop.||2019|
|Homicides||2.1||per 100 000 pop.||2013|
|Kuala Lumpur||1 588 750||inhab.||2010|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2020)|
80% of the population is concentrated in Peninsular Malaysia. The main ethnic groups are Malay Muslims, Chinese and Indians. There are many refugees, especially Burmese.
In 2021, the recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began, which damaged the country’s export-based economy, prompting the government to introduce measures to stimulate the economy and support the least affluent families; it also hopes to encourage the diversification of production activities and to draw in foreign investments, although the special privileges enjoyed by people of Malay origin represents something of a stumbling block. The burdensome system of subsidies has been revived in a bid to reduce the public deficit, and in 2015 a 6% value-added tax was introduced.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||122.7||index||2016|
|Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)||105.12||index||2019|
|Active population||15 904 357||units||2020|
|Active population, Females||38.4||%||2019|
|Unemployment rate, Females||43.2||%||2019|
|Expenses||264 332.8||M LCU||2019|
|Revenues||255 120.8||M LCU||2019|
|Currency in circulation||130.422||BN LCU||2020|
|International reserves||107 643.865||M US$||2020|
The main food crop is rice, which is cultivated especially in the areas of Kota Baharu and Kuala Terengganu. The most relevant industrial crops are oil palms (in particular in Sabah), coconut palms and tropical fruits (especially pineapples and bananas), which are also exported. Malaysia is one of the world’s largest rubber producers, with 85% of the plantations are located in Peninsular Malaysia.
Fishing is also relevant (scombrids, carangids, tuna, shrimp, cuttlefish).
|cereals, total||2 965.976||1000 t||2019|
|roots and tubers, total||101.164||1000 t||2019|
|chillies and peppers||27.555||1000 t||2019|
|oil palm fruits||99 065.364||1000 t||2019|
|sugar cane||20.618||1000 t||2019|
|fruits, total||1 113.984||1000 t||2019|
|cashew nuts||16.692||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits||35.732||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits, nes||3.109||1000 t||2019|
|sweet potatoes||3.317||1000 ha||2019|
|chillies and peppers||2.843||1000 ha||2019|
|oil palm fruit||5 216.822||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar cane||1.158||1000 ha||2019|
|cashew nuts||7.539||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits||3.62||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits, nes||0.67||1000 ha||2019|
|natural rubber||639 830||t||2019|
|timber||17 208 164||m³||2019|
|cattle and buffaloes||790.848||1000 heads||2019|
|pigs||1 952.385||1000 heads||2019|
|equines, total||4.258||1000 heads||2019|
|birds||286 317||1000 heads||2019|
|condensed milk||209 591||t||2019|
|crustaceans and molluscs||268 208.518||t||2019|
Considerable quantities of crude oil are extracted from the reserves off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia (at Bekok, Tapis, Pulai and Dulang), from reserves in Sabah (at Barton, Erb, Samarang, Lotan and Ketam) and from offshore wells in Sarawak (at West Lutong, Baram, Siwa, Temana and Bayan). Reserves of natural gas are being exploited at Kinarut (in Sabah) and at West Lutong, Baram, Siwa, Temana and Bayan (in Sarawak). A state-owned company, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), is responsible for extracting and producing hydrocarbons. Most of Malaysia’s tin is mined at deposits near Ipoh (in Perak) and at Kuala Lumpur; smaller deposits are found at Mersing (in Johor) and at Kuantan (in Pahang). Reasonable quantities of iron-ore are mined at Dungun (in Terengganu) and Ulu Rompin (in Pahang), bauxite at Telok Ramunia (in Johor), silver at Mamut (in Sabah), gold in Peninsular Malaysia (Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu) and in Sarawak, coal, antimony, ilmenite and feldspar.
There are oil refineries at Kerteh, Melaka, Port Dickson and Lutong (in Sarawak). There is a large petrochemical facility and a gas liquefaction plant at Bintulu (in Sarawak). Foundries located at Pinang, Butterworth and Kelang supply especially tin and by-products such as columbite and ilmenite. There are cement factories at Rawang, Kanthan and Pasir Gudang. The engineering industry is based in Pinang (shipyards), at Kuala Lumpur (railway rolling stock production plants), at Tampoi, Batu Tiga and Kuala Lumpur (vehicle assembly plants). The main industrial sector is electronics, which drives strong exports.
The processing of local products, such as palm oil, sugar, copra (in Pinang), pineapples (at Johor Baharu) and timber (in Sarawak) is still quite important for the economy.
|coal||2 264.8||1000 t||2016|
|coal, total||3 460||1000 t||2019|
|- thermal||133 752||M kWh||2019|
|- hydro||26 730||M kWh||2019|
|- thermal||26 990||1000 kW||2018|
|- hydro||6 245||1000 kW||2019|
|total net generation||159 946||M kWh||2018|
|total installed capacity||34 530.43||1000 kW||2018|
|lead, secondary||70$||1000 t||2012|
|commercial vehicles||27 431||no.||2020|
|air conditioners||4 953 912||no.||2019|
|radios||8 789 000||no.||2019|
|petrol||8 563||1000 t||2019|
|fertilizers||3 720.8||1000 t||2019|
|cotton fabrics - m||126.9||M m||2019|
|cotton yarn||35.5||1000 t||2013|
|footwear||3 111 000||pairs||2019|
|rubber gloves||55 404 000 000||pairs||2019|
|beer of barley||310||1000 t||2018|
|coconut oil||21.2||1000 t||2019|
|cigarettes - t||3$||1000 t||2019|
|chemical pulp||131||1000 t||2019|
|cement||16 102||1000 t||2019|
|chemicals production||7 351.57||M US$||2018|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||9 679.542||M US$||2018|
Malaysia’s main imports are electronic products, machinery, oil products and vehicles.
(M US$ - 2017)
electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 32 766, electrical and electronic equipment 31 566, crude oil and petroleum products 22 082, machinery 12 687, computers and accessories 11 060, natural gas 10 015, palm oil 9 660, chemicals 8 891, technical and electro-medical appliances 7 827, plastics 7 439, natural rubber and rubber articles 7 189
Finance and banking.
The central bank is the Bank Negara Malaysia. The financial system is well developed. There is a stock exchange in Kuala Lumpur.
|manufactures||70.115||% of goods exports||2019|
|fuels||14.472||% of goods exports||2019|
|China||37 774||M US$||2020|
|Singapore||33 911||M US$||2020|
|China||40 809||M US$||2020|
|Singapore||17 567||M US$||2020|
Tourism. Tourism constitutes an important source of revenues in foreign currency.
|Expenditures||13 685||M US$||2019|
|Number of arrivals||26 101 000||units||2019|
In Peninsular Malaysia, the road and rail networks are quite highly developed. In Sarawak (where there is no railway) and Sabah the road network is limited. There is a modern, far-reaching air service based on the hub at Sepang (Kuala Lumpur International Airport).
|Civil aviation, km flown||277 600 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||63 623.1||1000 units||2019|
|Broadband subscribers||92.786||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|Computers||231||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
In state schools, education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16.
|Expected years of schooling||13.679||years||2017|
|Students, primary level||3 084 630||units||2017|
|Students, secondary level||2 592 970||units||2018|
|Social protection spending||4.6||% of total expenses||2002|
|Hospital beds||1.9||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Physicians||1.8||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|HIV||0.4||% of adults||2019|
|Research and development spending||1.041||% of GDP||2018|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||96.1||%||2019|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2019|