( or ) is a country in Southeast Asia
consisting of thirteen states and three Federal
, with a total landmass of . The capital city is
Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government.
population stands at over 28 million. 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, Singapore and Brunei.
is near the equator and has a tropical
climate. Malaysia's head of state
the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
, and the head of government
is the Prime Minister
. The government is
closely modelled on the Westminster
Malaysia as a unified state did not exist until 1963. Previously,
the United Kingdom had established influence in colonies
in the territory from the late 18th century.
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. Singapore, Sarawak, British North Borneo and the Federation of
Malaya merged to form Malaysia on 16 September 1963.
Tensions in the early years of the new union sparked an armed conflict with
, and the expulsion
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 country's economy.
Malaysia has a biodiverse
flora and fauna
, and is also
considered one of the 17 megadiverse countries
Malaysia appears on a 1914 map from a
United States atlas.
The name Malaysia
was adopted in 1963 when the Federation
of Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak formed a 14-state
federation. However the name itself had been vaguely used to refer
to areas in Southeast Asia prior to that. A map published in 1914
in Chicago has the word Malaysia printed on it referring to certain
territories within the Malay
. Politicians in the Philippines once contemplated naming their state "Malaysia",
but in 1963 Malaysia adopted the name first.
At the time of
the 1963 federation, other names were considered: among them was
, after the historic kingdom
located at the upper section of the Malay Peninsula in the first
millennium of the common era.
In 1850 the English ethnologist George Samuel Windsor Earl, writing
in the Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia
proposed naming the islands of Indonesia as Melayunesia
. He favoured the former.
Archaeological remains have been found
throughout peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and
, an ethnic
group, have a deep ancestry within
the Malay Peninsula, dating to migration from Africa over 50,000
years ago. They are considered an indigenous people
to the area.
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
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
The Aboriginal 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
20,000 years ago.
Anthropologists support the notion that the
Proto Malays originated from what is today Yunnan, China.R.H
von Geldern, J.H.C Kern, J.R Foster, J.R Logen, Slametmuljana and
Asmah Haji Omar.
A history of Malaya and her neighbours - Page 21 - by Francis
Joseph Moorhead, published by Longmans of Malaysia, 1965
India and ancient Malaya (from the earliest times to circa A.D.
1400) - Page 3 - by D. Devahuti, Published by D. Moore for Eastern
Universities Press, 1965
The making of modern Malaya: a history from earliest times to
independence - Page 5 - by N. J. Ryan, Oxford University Press,
The cultural heritage of Malaya - Page 2 - by N. J. Ryan published
by Longman Malaysia, 1971
A history of Malaysia and Singapore - Page 5 - by N. J. Ryan
published by Oxford University Press, 1976
"How the dominoes fell": Southeast Asia in perspective - Page 7 -
by Mae H. Esterline, Hamilton Press, 1986
A design guide of public parks in Malaysia - Page 38 - by Jamil
Abu Bakar published by Penerbit UTM, 2002, ISBN 9835202745, ISBN
An introduction to the Malaysian legal system - Page 1 - by Min
Aun Wu, Heinemann Educational Books (Asia), 1975
A short history of Malaysia - Page 22 - by Harry Miller published
by F.A. Praeger, 1966
Malaya and its history - Page 14 - by Sir Richard Olaf Winstedt published by
Hutchinson University Library, 1962
Southeast Asia, past & present - Page 10 - by D. R. SarDesai
published by Westview Press, 1994
Malaya - Page 17 - by Norton Sydney Ginsburg, Chester F. Roberts
published by University of Washington Press, 1958
Asia: a social study - Page 43 - by David Tulloch published by
Angus and Robertson, 1969
Area handbook on Malaya University of Chicago, Chester F. Roberts,
Bettyann Carner published by University of Chicago for the Human
Relations Area Files, 1955
Thailand into the 80's - Page 12 - by Samnak Nāyok Ratthamontrī
published by the Office of the Prime Minister, Kingdom of Thailand,
Man in Malaya - Page 22 - by B. W. Hodder published by Greenwood
The modern anthropology of South-East Asia: an introduction, Volume
1 of The modern anthropology of South-East Asia, RoutledgeCurzon
Research on Southeast Asia Series - Page 54 - by Victor T. King,
William D. Wilder published by Routledge, 2003, ISBN 0415297516,
Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society -
Page 17 - by Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
Malaysian Branch, Singapore, 1936
Malay and Indonesian leadership in perspective - Page 9 - by Ahmad
The Malay peoples of Malaysia and their languages - Page 36 - by
Asmah Haji Omar published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kementerian
Pelajaran Malaysia, 1983
Encyclopedia of world cultures Volume 5 - Page 174 - by David
Levinson - History - 1993 published by G.K. Hall, 1993
Indigenous peoples of Asia - Page 274 - by Robert Harrison Barnes,
Andrew Gray, Benedict Kingsbury published by the Association for
Asian Studies, 1995
Peoples of the Earth: Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia edited by
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard published by Danbury Press, 1973
American anthropologist Vol 60 - Page 1228 - by American
Anthropological Association, Anthropological Society of Washington
(Washington, D.C.), American Ethnological Society, 1958
Encyclopaedia Of Southeast Asia (set Of 5 Vols.) - Page 4 - by
Brajendra Kumar published by Akansha Publishing House, 2006, ISBN
818370073X, ISBN 9788183700733
This was followed by an early-Holocene dispersal
through the Malay Peninsula into island Southeast Asia.
showed the Malay Peninsula on his
early map with a label that translates as "Golden Chersonese
". He referred to
the Straits of Malacca as Sinus Sabaricus
. From the mid to
the late first millennium, much of the Peninsula as well as the
Malay Archipelago was under the influence of Srivijaya
The Chinese and Indians established kingdoms in the area in the 2nd
and 3rd centuries CE
—as many as 30,
according to Chinese sources. Kedah—known as Kedaram
(according to I-Ching
, in ancient Pallava
—was in the direct route of
invasions of Indian traders and kings. Rajendra Chola
, the ancient Tamil emperor
who is now thought to have laid Kota
to waste, controlled Kedah in 1025. His successor,
Vira Rajendra Chola, had to put down a Kedah rebellion to overthrow
the invaders. The coming of the Chola reduced the majesty of
Srivijaya, which had exerted influence over Kedah, Pattani and as
far as Ligor.
The Buddhist kingdom of
took control of Kedah shortly after. Its king Chandrabhanu used it as a base to attack
Lanka in the 11th century, an event noted in a stone
inscription in Nagapattinum in Tamil Nadu and in the Sri Lankan chronicles, Mahavamsa.
During the first
millennium, the people of the Malay Peninsula adopted Hinduism
the use of the Sanskrit
later converted to Islam
Areas older than Kedah appeared in historical writings.
ancient kingdom of Gangga Negara,
around Beruas in Perak,
for instance, pushes Malaysian history further into
"Pattinapalai", a Tamil poem of the second
century CE, describes goods from Kadaram heaped in the broad
streets of the Chola capital. A 7th-century Sanskrit drama,
, refers to Kedah as Kataha-nagari. The
also mentions a territory known as Anda-Kataha
with one of its boundaries delineated by a peak, which scholars
believe is Gunung Jerai. Stories from the
describe the elegance of life in
the 7th and the 13th century, much of Peninsular Malaysia was under
the Srivijaya empire, which was centred in
Palembang on the island of Sumatra. Following that, a wider Majapahit empire, based on Java island, had
influence over most of Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, and the
coasts of Borneo
early 15th century, Parameswara, a
prince from Palembang from the once Srivijayan empire, established a
dynasty and founded the Malacca
Conquest forced him and many others to flee
Palembang. Parameswara in particular sailed to Temasek
to escape persecution. There he came under
the protection of Temagi, a Malay chief from Patani who was
appointed by the King of Siam as Regent of Temasek.
Within a few days,
Parameswara killed Temagi and appointed himself regent. Some five
years later he had to leave Temasek, due to threats from Siam.
During this period, a Javanese fleet from Majapahit attacked
Parameswara headed north to found a new settlement. At Muar, Parameswara considered siting his new kingdom at
either Biawak Busuk or at Kota Buruk.
Finding that the Muar
location was not suitable, he continued his journey northwards.
way, he reportedly visited Sening Ujong (former name of present-day
Sungai Ujong) before reaching a fishing village at the mouth of the
Bertam River (former name of the Malacca River). Over time this developed into modern-day
According to the Malay Annals
, here Parameswara saw a
outwitting a dog resting under
a Malacca tree
. Taking this as a good
omen, he decided to establish a kingdom called Malacca. He built
and improved facilities for trade.
According to a theory, Parameswara became a Muslim when he married
a Princess of Pasai and he took the fashionable Persian title
"Shah", calling himself Iskandar Shah. There are also references
that indicate that some members of the ruling class and the
merchant community residing in Malacca were already Muslims.
chronicles mention that in 1414, the son of the first ruler of
Malacca visited the Ming emperor to
inform them that his father had died.
Parameswara's son was
then officially recognised as the second ruler of Malacca by the
Chinese Emperor and styled Raja Sri Rama Vikrama, Raja of
Parameswara of Temasek and Melaka and he was known to his Muslim
subjects as Sultan Sri Iskandar Zulkarnain Shah or Sultan Megat Iskandar Shah
. He ruled Malacca
from 1414 to 1424.
In 1511, Malacca was conquered by Portugal, which established a
colony there. The sons of the last Sultan of Malacca
established two sultanates elsewhere in the peninsula — the
Sultanate of Perak to the north, and the Sultanate of Johor
(originally a continuation of the old Malacca sultanate) to the south. After the fall of
Malacca, three nations struggled for the control of Malacca
Strait: the Portuguese (in Malacca), the Sultanate of
Johor, and the Sultanate of
Aceh. This conflict went on until 1641, when the
Dutch (allied to
the Sultanate of Johor) gained control of Malacca.
Britain established its first colony in the Malay Peninsula
in 1786, with the lease of the island of Penang to the
British East India
Company by the Sultan of Kedah.
In 1824, the British
took control of Malacca following the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824
divided the Malay archipelago
between Britain and the Netherlands, with Malaya in the British
1826, Britain established the crown colony of the Straits
Settlements, uniting its four possessions in Malaya: Penang,
Malacca, Singapore and the island of Labuan.
Straits Settlements were initially administered under the East India Company in Calcutta, before first Penang, and later Singapore became
the administrative centre of the crown colony, until 1867, when
they were transferred to the Colonial Office in
During the late 19th century, many Malay states decided to obtain
British help in settling their internal conflicts. The commercial
importance of tin
mining in the Malay states to
merchants in the Straits Settlements led to British government
intervention in the tin-producing states in the Malay Peninsula.
British gunboat diplomacy
employed to bring about a peaceful resolution to civil disturbances
caused by Chinese and Malay gangsters employed in a political
tussle between Ngah Ibrahim and Raja Muda Abdullah, and the
Pangkor Treaty of 1874
the way for the expansion of British influence in Malaya.
turn of the 20th century, the states of Pahang, Selangor, Perak, and
together as the Federated Malay States (not to be confused with the Federation
of Malaya), were under the de facto control of
British Residents appointed to
advise the Malay rulers.
The British were "advisers" in
name, but in reality, they exercised substantial influence over the
A poster depicting the Malaysia Day
celebration in 1963.
(Majulah Malaysia means "Onwards Malaysia".)
The remaining five states in the peninsula, known as the Unfederated Malay States
, while not
directly under rule from London, also accepted British advisers
around the turn of the 20th century. Of these, the four
northern states of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu had
previously been under Siamese
control. The other unfederated state, Johor, was the
only state which managed to preserve its independence throughout
most of the 19th century. Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor
personal acquaintances, and recognised each other as equals. It was
not until 1914 that Sultan Abu Bakar's successor, Sultan Ibrahim
accepted a British
island of Borneo, Sabah was governed as the crown colony of
British North Borneo, while Sarawak was
acquired from Brunei as the
personal kingdom of the Brooke family, who ruled as white Rajahs.
Following the Japanese
Invasion of Malaya
and its subsequent occupation during
World War II
, popular support for
independence grew. Post-war British plans to unite the
administration of Malaya under a single crown colony called the
Union foundered on strong opposition from the Malays, who opposed the emasculation
of the Malay rulers and the granting of citizenship to the ethnic Chinese. The Malayan Union,
established in 1946 and consisting of all the British possessions
in Malaya with the exception of Singapore, was dissolved in 1948
and replaced by the Federation of Malaya, which restored the autonomy of the rulers of the
Malay states under British protection.
During this time, rebels under the leadership of the Malayan Communist Party
guerrilla operations designed to force the British out of Malaya.
The Malayan Emergency
, as it was
known, lasted from 1948 to 1960, and involved a long
anti-insurgency campaign by Commonwealth
troops in Malaya.
Although the insurgency quickly stopped there was still a presence
of Commonwealth troops, with the backdrop of the Cold War
. Against this backdrop, independence
for the Federation within the
Commonwealth was granted on 31 August 1957.
In 1963, Malaya along with the then-British crown colonies of Sabah
(British North Borneo), Sarawak and Singapore, formed Malaysia. The
Sultanate of Brunei, though initially expressing interest in
joining the Federation, withdrew from the planned merger due to
opposition from certain segments of its population as well as
arguments over the payment of oil royalties and the status of the
Sultan in the planned merger. The actual proposed date for the
formation of Malaysia was 31 August 1963, to coincide with the
independence day of Malaya and the British giving self-rule to
Sarawak and Sabah. However, the date was delayed by opposition
from the Indonesian government led by Sukarno
and also attempts by the Sarawak United People's Party
to delay the formation of Malaysia.
Due to these factors, an
8-member United Nations
team has to
be formed to re-ascertain whether Sabah and Sarawak truly wanted to
The early years of independence were marred by the conflict with Indonesia
) over the formation of Malaysia, Singapore's
eventual exit in 1965, and racial strife in the form of race riots
in 1969. The Philippines also made an active claim on Sabah in that period
based upon the Sultanate of Brunei's cession of its north-east
territories to the Sulu Sultanate in
The claim is still ongoing.After the 13 May race riots
of 1969, the controversial
—intended to increase proportionately the share of the
economic pie of the bumiputras
("indigenous people", which includes the majority Malays, but not
always the indigenous population) as compared to other ethnic
groups—was launched by Prime Minister Abdul
. Malaysia has since maintained a delicate ethno-political
balance, with a system of government that has attempted to combine
overall economic development with political and economic policies
that promote equitable participation of all races.
Between the 1980s and the mid-1990s, Malaysia experienced
significant economic growth under the premiership of Mahathir bin Mohamad
. The period saw a
shift from an agriculture-based economy to one based on
manufacturing and industry in areas such as computers and consumer
electronics. It was during this period, too, that the physical
landscape of Malaysia has changed with the emergence of numerous
mega-projects. The most notable of these projects are the
Twin Towers (at the time the tallest building in the world, and
still retains its status as the tallest twin building), KL
International Airport (KLIA), North-South Expressway, the
International Circuit, the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), the Bakun
hydroelectric dam and Putrajaya, the new federal administrative
In the late 1990s, Malaysia was shaken by the Asian financial crisis
as political unrest caused by the sacking of the deputy prime
minister Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim
2003, Dr Mahathir, Malaysia's longest serving prime minister,
retired in favour of his deputy, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
. On November
2007, Malaysia was rocked by two anti-government rallies. The 2007
Bersih Rally numbering 40,000 strong was held in Kuala Lumpur on 10
November campaigning for electoral reform. It was precipitated by
allegations of corruption and discrepancies in the Malaysian
election system that heavily favour the ruling political party,
, which has been in
power since Malaysia achieved its independence in 1957. Another
rally was held on 25 November in the Malaysian capital lead by
. The rally organiser, the Hindu
Rights Action Force, had called the protest over alleged
discriminatory policies that favour ethnic Malays. The crowd was
estimated to be between 5,000 and 30,000. In both cases the
government and police were heavy-handed and tried to prevent the
gatherings from taking place. In 16 October 2008, HINDRAF was
banned as the government labelled the organisation as "a threat to
Government and politics
Malaysia is a federal constitutional elective monarchy
. The federal head of state
of Malaysia is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
referred to as the King of Malaysia. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is
elected to a five-year term among the nine hereditary Sultans
of the Malay
; the other four states, which have titular Governors, do
not participate in the selection.
The system of government in Malaysia is closely modeled on that of
Westminster parliamentary system
, a legacy of
British colonial rule
independence in 1957, Malaysia has been governed by a multi-party
coalition known as the Barisan
(formerly known as the Alliance).
is divided between
federal and state legislatures. The bicameral parliament
consists of the lower house
, the House of Representatives or
"Chamber of the People") and the upper
, the Senate or Dewan
(literally the "Chamber of the Nation"). The
222-member House of Representatives are elected from single-member
constituencies that are drawn based on population for a maximum
term of five years. All 70 Senators sit for three-year terms; 26
are elected by the 13 state assemblies, two representing the
federal territory of Kuala
Lumpur, one each from federal territories of Labuan and Putrajaya, and 40 are appointed by the king.
the Parliament at the federal level, each state has a unicameral
state legislative chamber ( ) whose members are elected from
single-member constituencies. Parliamentary elections
are held at
least once every five years, with the last general election being
in March 2008. Registered voters of age 21 and above may vote for
the members of the House of Representatives and in most of the
states, the state legislative chamber as well. Voting is not
is vested in the
led by the prime minister
; the Malaysian
that the prime minister must be a member of the lower house of
who, in the
opinion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, commands a majority in
parliament. The cabinet is chosen from among members of both houses
of Parliament and is responsible to that body.
State governments are led by Chief Ministers (Menteri Besar
in Malay states or
in states without hereditary rulers), who is
a state assembly member from the majority party in the Dewan
Undangan Negeri. In each of the states with a hereditary ruler, the
Chief Minister is required to be a Malay Muslim
although this rule is subject to the rulers' discretions.
Malaysia is a founding member of the Association of Southeast
(ASEAN) and participates in many international
organisations such as the United
. As a former British colony, it is also a member of the
Commonwealth of Nations
is a member of the Developing 8
. Malaysia has diplomatic relations with many
countries but does not recognize the State of Israel. As such, no
traveller with a Malaysian passport can enter Israel.
Malaysia defence requirements are assigned to the Malaysian Armed
Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia-ATM). The armed forces has 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.
Administratively, Malaysia consists of 13 states
(11 in peninsular Malaysia and 2
in Malaysian Borneo) and 3 federal territories. Each state is further
divided into districts
(daerah or jajahan in Kelantan) and a subdivision of a district is called mukim.
As Malaysia is a federation
, the governance of the country is
divided between the federal and the state governments.
|Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur
|Federal Territory of Labuan
|Federal Territory of Putrajaya
Map of peninsular Malaysia and East
Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo).
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
respectively. It is comparable in
population to Saudi
Arabia and Venezuela, and is roughly similar in size to Norway and
Vietnam, along with the U.S.
state of New
distinct parts of Malaysia, separated from each other by the
Sea, share a largely similar landscape in that both
West and East Malaysia
feature coastal plains rising to often densely forested hills and
mountains, the highest of which is Mount Kinabalu at on the island of Borneo.
and characterised by the
annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to
Tanjung Piai, located in the southern state of Johor, is the
southernmost tip of continental Asia. The Strait of
Malacca, lying between Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia, is arguably the most
important shipping lane in the world.
Kuala Lumpur is the official capital and largest city of
Malaysia. Putrajaya is the federal administrative capital.
Although many executive and judicial branches of the federal
government have moved there (to ease growing congestion within
Kuala Lumpur), Kuala Lumpur is still recognised as the legislative
capital of Malaysia since it houses the seat of the Parliament of Malaysia
. It is also
the main commercial and financial centre of the country.
major cities include George Town, Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Kota
Kinabalu, Miri, Alor Star, Malacca
Bharu, Kuantan and Petaling
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
together with sawn logs and sawn timber, cocoa
dominate the growth of the sector. Palm oil
is also a major generator of foreign exchange.
Palm oil estate in Malaysia.
Rolling tea fields in Malaysia.
Regarding forestry resources, it is noted that logging only began
to make a substantial contribution to the economy during the 19th
century. Today, an estimated 59% of Malaysia remains forested. The
rapid expansion of the timber industry, particularly after the
1960s, has brought about a serious erosion problem in the country's
forest resources. However, in line with the Government's commitment
to protect the environment and the ecological system, forestry
resources are being managed on a sustainable basis and accordingly
the rate of tree felling has been on the decline.
In addition, substantial areas are being silviculturally
treated and reforestation of
degraded forestland is being carried out. The Malaysian government
provide plans for the enrichment of some 312.30 square kilometers
(120.5 sq mi
) of land with
under natural forest conditions and in
rubber plantations as an inter crop. To further enrich forest
resources, fast-growing timber species such as meranti
are also being
planted. At the same time, the cultivation of high-value trees like
and other trees for pulp and paper are
also encouraged. Rubber
, once the mainstay of
the Malaysian economy, has been largely replaced by oil palm
as Malaysia's leading agricultural
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
Sarawak and Terengganu have contributed much to the Malaysian
economy. Other minerals of some importance or significance include
together with industrial minerals like clay
and dimension stones such as
as well as marble blocks and slabs.
Small quantities of gold
In 2004, a minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Mustapa Mohamed
, revealed that Malaysia's
reserves stood at while natural gas reserves
increased to 89 trillion cubic feet
). This was an increase of 7.2%. As of 1
January 2007, Petronas
reported that oil
and gas reserves in Malaysia amounted to equivalent.
The government estimates that at current production rates Malaysia
will be able to produce oil up to 18 years and gas for 35 years. In
2004, Malaysia is ranked 24th in terms of world oil reserves and
13th for gas. 56% of the oil reserves exist in the Peninsula while
19% exist in East Malaysia. The government collects oil royalties
of which 5% are passed to the states and the rest retained by the
Malaysia was the world's largest producer of rubber.
has been a centre of
trade for centuries. Various items such as porcelain and spices were
actively traded even before Malacca 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
and palm oil
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.
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
As Malaya moved towards independence, the government began
implementing economic five-year plans, beginning with the First Malayan Five Year Plan
1955. Upon the establishment of Malaysia, the plans were re-titled
and renumbered, beginning with the First Malaysia Plan
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,
became the country's
primary growth engine . Malaysia consistently achieved more than 7%
growth along with low
in the 1980s and the 1990s.
Today, Malaysia is one of the world's largest computer hard disk
During the same period, the government tried to eradicate poverty
with the controversial New
(NEP), after the May
of racial rioting in 1969. Its main objective was
the elimination of the association of race with economic function,
and the first five-year plan to begin implementing the NEP was the
Second Malaysia Plan
success or failure of the NEP is the subject of much debate,
although it was officially retired in 1990 and replaced by the
(NDP). Recently much debate has surfaced once again
concerning the results and relevance of the NEP. Some have argued
that the NEP has indeed successfully created a Middle/Upper Class
of Malay businesspersons and professionals. Despite some
improvement in the economic power of Malays in general, the
Malaysian government maintains a policy of discrimination that
favours ethnic Malays over other races—including preferential
treatment in employment, education, scholarships, business, access
to cheaper housing and assisted savings. This special treatment has
sparked envy and resentment between non-Malays and Malays.
The ethinic Chinese
control of the
locally owned sector of the country's economy, meanwhile, has been
ceded largely in favour of the Bumiputras/Malays in many essential
or strategic industries such as petroleum retailing,
transportation, agriculture, automobile manufacturing, and other
industries.The rapid economic boom led to a variety of supply
problems, however. Labour shortages soon resulted in an influx of
millions of foreign workers, many illegal. Cash-rich PLCs
and consortia of banks eager to
benefit from increased and rapid development began large
infrastructure projects. This all ended when the Asian Financial Crisis
the fall of 1997, delivering a massive shock to Malaysia's
Since 1994, the Malaysian car company,
Proton, has owned Lotus, a previously British company that produces
the Lotus Europa S (pictured here) and other models.
As with other countries affected by the crisis, there was
speculative short-selling of the Malaysian currency, the ringgit
. Foreign direct investment
an alarming rate and, as capital flowed out of the country, the
value of the ringgit dropped from MYR 2.50 per USD to, at one
point, MYR 4.80 per USD. The Kuala Lumpur
's composite index plummeted from approximately
1300 points to around 400 points in a matter of weeks. After the
controversial sacking of finance minister Anwar Ibrahim
, a National Economic Action
Council was formed to deal with the monetary crisis. Bank Negara
imposed capital controls
the Malaysian ringgit at 3.80 to
the US dollar. Malaysia refused economic aid packages from
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, however, surprising
2005, the United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published
a paper on the sources and pace of Malaysia's recovery, written by
Jomo K.S. of the applied economics department, University
of Malaya, Kuala
The paper concluded that the controls
imposed by Malaysia's government neither hurt nor helped recovery.
The chief factor was an increase in electronics components exports,
which was caused by a large increase in the demand for components
in the United States, which was caused, in turn, by a fear of the
effects of the arrival of the year 2000 (Y2K
) upon older computers and other
However, the post Y2K slump of 2001 did not affect Malaysia as much
as other countries. This may have been clearer evidence that there
are other causes and effects that can be more properly attributable
for recovery. One possibility is that the currency speculators had
run out of finance after failing in their attack on the Hong Kong
dollar in August 1998 and after the Russian ruble
collapsed. (See George Soros
Regardless of cause and effect claims, rejuvenation of the economy
also coincided with massive government spending and budget deficits
in the years that followed the crisis. Later, Malaysia enjoyed
faster economic recovery compared to its neighbours. The country
has recovered to the levels of the pre-crisis era – as an example,
the KLCI Composite Index hit an all time high of 1,386 on 20 June
2007 which is approximately 100 points higher than the pre-crisis
record of 1,275 in 1993.
While the pace of development today is not as rapid, it is seen to
be more sustainable. Although the controls and economic
housekeeping may or may not have been the principal reasons for
recovery, there is no doubt that the banking sector has become more
resilient to external shocks. The current account has also settled
into a structural surplus, providing a cushion to capital flight.
Asset prices are generally back to their pre-crisis heights,
despite the effects of the global financial crisis. Malaysia is
also the world's largest Islamic banking and financial
The fixed exchange rate
abandoned in July 2005 in favour of a managed floating system
within an hour of
China's announcing of the same move. In the same week, the ringgit
strengthened a percent against various major currencies and was
expected to appreciate further. As of December 2005, however,
expectations of further appreciation were muted as capital flight
exceeded USD 10 billion.
According to Bank Negara's published figures, Malaysia's foreign
exchange reserves increased steadily since the initial capital
flight, from USD75.2 billion as at 15 July 2005 (just before the
peg was removed) to peak at USD125.7 billion as at 31 July 2008, a
few months before the global credit crisis that started in
September 2008. As at 29 May 2009, the reserves stood at USD88.3
In September 2005, Sir Howard J. Davies, director of the London
School of Economics, at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, cautioned Malaysian officials that if they want a
flexible capital market, they will have to lift the ban on
short-selling put into effect during the crisis.
2006, Malaysia removed the ban on short selling. It is however
interesting to note that in response to the global financial
crisis, some of the measures taken by the Malaysian government in
response to the Asian crisis, such as the ban on short selling,
were swiftly adopted by the very countries that had previously been
critical of the Malaysian response.
Malaysia is also one of the region's top education and healthcare
destinations. Malaysia is recognised as a newly industrialised country
GDP per capita of Malaysia stands
at US$14,215, ranking her 48th in the world,
and 2nd in Southeast Asia, lagging far behind neighbouring Singapore, the only developed
economy in Southeast Asia, with a GDP per capita (PPP) of
US$49,288, ranking 3rd in the
By comparison, Thailand has a per capita income of
US$7,703 (ranked 81st) and Indonesia with US$3,975 (ranked
Malaysia's population comprises many ethnic
groups, with the Malays at
50.4% making up the majority and other bumiputra/indigenous (Aborigine) groups in
Sabah and Sarawak at 11% of the population.
definition, Malays are Muslims
Malay customs (adat
) and culture. Therefore, technically,
a Muslim of any race who practices Malay customs and culture can be
considered a Malay and have equal rights when it comes to Malay
rights as stated in the constitution. Non-Malay bumiputra groups
make up more than half of the state of Sarawak's population (of
which 30% are Ibans
), and close to 60%
of Sabah's population (of which 18% are Kadazan-Dusuns
, and 17% are Bajaus
). There also exist aboriginal
groups in much smaller numbers
on the Peninsula, where they are collectively known as Orang Asli
23.7% of the population are Malaysians
of Chinese descent
, while Malaysians of Indian descent
of the population. Indians began migrating to Malaysia in the early
19th century. The majority of the Indian community are
Tamils but various other groups are
also present, including Telugus, Malayalis, Punjabis,Bengalis and Gujaratis. Other Malaysians also
include those whose origin, can be traced to the Middle East,
Thailand and Indonesia. Europeans and Eurasians include British who
settled in Malaysia since colonial times, and a strong Kristang community in Malacca.
A small number of Cambodians
settled in Malaysia as Vietnam War
The population distribution is highly uneven, with some 20 million
residents concentrated on the Malay
, while East Malaysia
relatively less populated. Due to the rise in labour intensive
industries, Malaysia has 10 to 20% foreign workers with the
uncertainty due in part to the large number of illegal workers.
There are a million legal foreign workers and perhaps another
million unauthorised foreigners. The state of Sabah alone has
nearly 25% of its 2.7 million population listed as illegal foreign
workers in the last census. However, this figure of 25% is thought
to be less than half the figure speculated by NGOs.
Additionally, according to the World Refugee Survey 2008
published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants,
Malaysia hosts a population of refugees and asylum seekers
numbering approximately 155,700. Of this population, approximately 70,500
refugees and asylum seekers are from the Philippines, 69,700 from Burma, and
21,800 from Indonesia.
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and
Immigrants named Malaysia as one of the Ten Worst Places for
Refugees on account of the country's discriminatory practices
toward refugees. Malaysian officials are reported to have turned
deportees directly over to human smugglers in 2007, and Malaysia
employs the RELA
, a volunteer militia, to
enforce its immigration law.
is the largest and the 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
; 19.2 percent Buddhism
; 9.1 percent Christianity
; 6.3 percent Hinduism
; and 2.6 percent practice Confucianism
other traditional Chinese
. The remaining was accounted for by other faiths,
, Folk religion
and other faiths while 0.9% either reported as having no religion
or did not provide any information.
All ethnic Malays
considered Muslim (100%) as defined by Article 160 of the
Constitution of Malaysia
. Additional statistics from the 2000
Census indicate that ethnic Chinese
are predominantly Buddhist
(75.9%), with significant numbers of adherents following Taoism
(10.6%) and Christianity (9.6%). The majority
of ethnic Indians
(84.5%), with a significant minority identifying as Christians
(7.7%) and Muslims (3.8%). Christianity is the predominant religion
of the non-Malay Bumiputra
(50.1%) with an additional 36.3% identifying as Muslims and 7.3%
follow folk religion
The Malaysian constitution guarantees religious freedom
are obliged to follow the decisions of
courts when it comes to
matters concerning their religion
Islamic judges are expected to follow the Shafi`i
legal school of Islam, which is the main
of Malaysia. The jurisdiction of
court is limited only to Muslims over
matters such as marriage
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.
Education in Malaysia is monitored by the federal government
Ministry of Education.
Most Malaysian children start schooling between the ages of three
to six, in kindergarten
kindergartens are run privately, but there are a few government-run
- Primary education
Children begin primary schooling at the age of seven for a period
of six years. There are two major types of government-operated or
government-assisted primary schools. The vernacular schools
(Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan
) use either Chinese or Tamil as
the medium of teaching. Before progressing to the secondary level
of education, pupils in Year 6 are required to sit for the Primary
School Achievement Test (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah
, UPSR). A programme called First Level Assessment
(Penilaian Tahap Satu
, PTS) was used to measure the
ability of bright pupils, and to allow them to move from Year 3 to
5, skipping Year 4. However, this programme was abolished in
- Secondary education
Secondary education in Malaysia is conducted in secondary schools
(Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan
) for five years. National
secondary schools use Malay as the main medium of instruction. The
only exceptions are the Mathematics and Science subjects as well as
languages other than Malay, however this was only implemented in
the year 2003, and before that all non-language subjects were
taught in Malay. At the end of Form Three, which is the third year,
students are evaluated in the Lower Secondary Assessment
, PMR). In the final year of secondary education
(Form Five), students sit for the Malaysian Certificate of
Education (Sijil Pelajaran
, SPM) examination, which is equivalent to the
former British Ordinary or 'O' Levels. The oldest school in
Malaysia is Penang Free School
also the oldest school in South East Asia. The government has
decided to abandon the use of English in teaching Math
and revert to
, starting in
Malaysian national secondary schools are sub-divided into several
types, namely National Secondary School (Sekolah Menengah
), Religious Secondary School (Sekolah Menengah
), National-Type Secondary School (Sekolah Menengah Jenis
Kebangsaan) which is also referred as Mission Schools, Technical
Schools (Sekolah Menengah Teknik), Residential Schools
and MARA Junior Science College
(Maktab Rendah Sains MARA).
There are also 60 Chinese Independent High
in Malaysia, where most subjects are taught in Chinese.
Chinese Independent High Schools are monitored and standardised by
the United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia
(UCSCAM, more commonly referred to by its Chinese name, Dong Zong
董总), however, unlike government schools, every independent school
is free to make its own decisions. Studying in independent schools
takes 6 years to complete, divided into Junior Level (3 years) and
Senior Level (3 years). Students will sit for a standardised test
conducted by UCSCAM, which is known as the Unified Examination
Certificate (UEC) in Junior Middle 3 (equivalent to PMR) and Senior
Middle 3 (equivalent to A level
). A number
of independent schools conduct classes in Malay and English in
addition to Chinese, enabling the students to sit for the PMR and
SPM as well.
As an interesting side note, the Pavilion shopping mall in Kuala
Lumpur was built where a Malaysian National Girls' School once
- Tertiary education
Before the introduction of the matriculation system, students
aiming to enter public universities had to complete an additional
18 months of secondary schooling in Form Six and sit for the
Malaysian Higher School Certificate (Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan
, STPM); equivalent to the British Advanced or
. Since the introduction of the
matriculation programme as an alternative to STPM in 1999, students
who completed the 12-month programme in matriculation colleges
(kolej matrikulasi in Malay) can enrol in local universities.
However, in the matriculation system, only 10% of the places are
open to non-Bumiputra students while the rest are reserved for
public universities such as University of Malaya, Universiti
Sains Malaysia, Universiti
Putra Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia,
Islamic University Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Mara,
Universiti Utara Malaysia,
Malaysia Melaka,Universiti Tun Hussein Onn
Malaysia, and Universiti Kebangsaan
Private universities are also gaining enough
reputation for international quality education and many students
from all over the world are attracted to these universities.
Petronas, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman etc. In addition, four international reputable
universities have set up their branch campuses in Malaysia since
A branch campus can be seen as an ‘offshore campus’ of
the foreign university, which offers the same courses and awards as
the main campus. Both local and international students can acquire
these identical foreign qualifications in Malaysia at a lower fee.
foreign university branch campuses in Malaysia are: Monash University Malaysia
Campus, Curtin University
of Technology Sarawak Campus, Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak
Campus and University of Nottingham Malaysia
Students also have the option of enrolling in private tertiary
institutions after secondary studies. Most institutions have
educational links with overseas universities especially in the
United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, allowing students
to spend a portion of their course duration abroad as well as
getting overseas qualifications. One such example is SEGi College
which partnered with University of Abertay Dundee
Malaysian students abroad study mostly in East
, Middle East, Oceania
, Northern America
and Western Europe
- International schools
In addition to the Malaysian National Curriculum, Malaysia has many
international schools. International schools offer students the
opportunity to study the curriculum of another country. These
schools mainly cater to the growing expatriate population in the
country. International schools include: the Australian
International School, Malaysia (Australian curriculum), The
Alice Smith School (British
Curriculum), elc International
school (British Curriculum), The Garden
International School (British Curriculum), Lodge International School (British
Curriculum), The International School of
Kuala Lumpur (International Baccalaureate and American
Curriculum), The Japanese School of Kuala Lumpur (Japanese
Curriculum), The Chinese Taipei School, Kuala Lumpur and The
Chinese Taipei School, Penang (Taiwanese Curriculum), The
International School of Penang (International Baccalaureate and
British Curriculum), Lycée
Français de Kuala Lumpur (French Curriculum),Horizon
International Turkish School amongst others.
The Malaysian government places importance on the expansion and
development of health care
, putting 5%
of the government social sector development budget into public
health care—an increase of more than 47% over the previous figure.
This has meant an overall increase of more than RM 2 billion. With
a rising and aging population, the Government wishes to improve in
many areas including the refurbishment of existing hospitals,
building and equipping new hospitals, expansion of the number of
polyclinics, and improvements in training and expansion of telehealth
. Over the last couple of years, the
Malaysian Health Ministry has increased its efforts to overhaul the
systems and attract more foreign investment.
The country generally has an efficient and widespread system of
health care. It implements a universal healthcare
co-exists with private healthcare system. Infant mortality rate – a
standard in determining the overall efficiency of healthcare – in
2005 was 10, comparing favourably with the United States and
western Europe. Life expectancy at birth in 2005 was 74
The Malaysian health care system requires doctors to perform a
compulsory three years service with public hospitals
to ensure the manpower of
these hospitals is maintained. Recently foreign doctors have also
been encouraged to take up employment here. There is still,
however, a compound shortage of medical workforce, especially that
of highly trained specialists
resulting in certain medical care and treatment only available in
large cities. Recent efforts to bring many facilities to other
towns have been hampered by lack of expertise to run the available
equipment made ready by investments.
The majority of private hospitals
are in urban areas and, are very dense, unlike many of the public
hospitals, are equipped with the latest diagnostic and imaging
facilities. Private hospitals have not generally been seen as an
ideal investment—it has often taken up to ten years before
companies have seen any profits. However, the situation has now
changed and companies are now looking into this area again,
particularly in view of the increasing interest by foreigners in
coming to Malaysia for medical care and the recent government focus
to develop the health tourism
Most Malaysians are granted citizenship by lex soli
. Citizenship in the states of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo
are distinct from citizenship in Peninsular Malaysia for immigration purposes.
Every citizen is
issued a biometric smart chip identity
, known as MyKad
, at the age
of 12, and must carry the card at all times.
Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multilingual
society. The population is 28 million. Figures from 2007 show the
population consisting of 62% Bumiputeras (including Indigenous
people), 24% Chinese, 8% Indians, with other minorities along with
foreigners (mostly semi-skilled workers) (Dept of Stats. Malaysia).
Ethnic tensions have been volatile in recent months in tandem with
the rising temperature of the political scenario in the
The Malays, who form the largest community, are defined as Muslims
in the Constitution of
. The Malays play a dominant role politically and are
included in a grouping identified as bumiputra
. Their native language is Malay
), which is
the national language of the country. However, English is also
widely spoken in major towns and cities across the country.
In the past, Malays wrote in Sanskrit
using Sanskrit-based alphabets . After the 15th century, Jawi
(a script based on Arabic) became popular.
Over time, romanised
Sanskrit and Jawi as the dominant script. This was largely due to
the influence of the colonial education system, which taught
children in roman writing rather than in Arabic script.
The largest non-Malay indigenous tribe is the Iban
of Sarawak, who number over 600,000. Some
Iban still live in traditional jungle villages in long houses
along the Rajang and Lupar rivers and
their tributaries, although many have moved to the cities. The
, numbering around 170,000, are
concentrated in the southwestern part of Sarawak. The largest
indigenous tribe in Sabah is the Kadazan
They are largely Christian
farmers. The 140,000 Orang Asli
aboriginal peoples, comprise a number of different ethnic
communities living in peninsular Malaysia. Traditionally nomadic
hunter/gatherers and agriculturalists, many have been sedentarised
and partially absorbed into modern Malaysia.
The Chinese population in Malaysia are mostly Buddhist
, although some of the younger
generations are choosing Christianity
as their religion. The Chinese community in Malaysia speak a
variety of Chinese dialects including Mandarin Chinese
, and Teochew
. A large majority of Chinese in Malaysia,
especially those from the larger cities such as Kuala Lumpur,
Jaya, Ipoh, Klang and
Penang speak decent
English as well.
There has also been an increasing number of
the present generation Chinese who consider English as their first
language. The Chinese have historically been dominant in the
Malaysian business and commerce community.
The Indians in Malaysia are mainly Hindu Tamils
from southern India whose native
language is Tamil
. There are also
other Indian communities which are Telugu-
-speaking, living mainly in the larger towns on
the west coast of the peninsula. Many middle- to upper-middle class
Indians in Malaysia speak English as a first language. A
200,000-strong Tamil Muslim
also thrives as an independent subcultural group. There are also
Tamil Christian communities in major cities and towns. Most Indians
originally migrated from India as traders, teachers or other
skilled workers. A larger number were also part of the forced
migrations from India by the British during colonial times to work
in the plantation industry.There is also a sizable Punjabi
Malaysia of over 100,000. The Sikhs
to Malaya to work as police, soldiers and jagas
Vietnamese, Thais, Bugis, Javanese and indigenous tribes make up
the remaining population. A small number of Eurasians, of mixed
Portuguese and Malay descent, speak a Portuguese-based creole
, called Papiá Kristang
. There are also
Eurasians of mixed Filipino and Spanish descent, mostly in Sabah.
from immigrants from the Philippines, some speak Chavacano, the only Spanish-based creole language
in Asia. Cambodians and Vietnamese are mostly Buddhists (Cambodians of
Theravada sect and Vietnamese, Mahayana
sect). Thai Malaysians
been populating a big part of the northern peninsular states of
Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Kelantan and Terengganu. Besides
speaking Thai, most of them are Buddhists, celebrate Songkran
(Water festival) and can speak Hokkien, but some of them are Muslim
and speak the Kelantanese Malay Dialect. Bugis and Javanese make up
a part of the population in Johore. In addition, there have been
many foreigners and expatriates
made Malaysia their second home, also contributing to Malaysia's
Chinese and Islamic forms heavily influence Malaysian traditional
music. The music is based largely around the gendang (drum), but
includes other percussion instruments (some made of shells); the
rebab, a bowed string instrument; the serunai, a double-reed
oboe-like instrument; flutes, and trumpets. The country has a
strong tradition of dance and dance dramas, some of Thai, Indian
and Portuguese origin. In recent years, dikir barat
has grown in popularity, and the
government has begun to promote it as a national cultural
encompasses certain art forms with neighbouring Indonesia, including wayang kulit
(shadow puppet theatre), silat (a stylised
martial art) and craft techniques such as weaving and metallurgy.
Malaysians observe a number of holidays and festivities throughout
the year. Some holidays are federal gazetted public holidays and
some are public holidays observed by individual states. Other
festivals are observed by particular ethnic or religion groups, but
are not public holidays.
celebrated holiday is the "Hari
Kebangsaan" (Independence Day), otherwise known as "Merdeka"
(Freedom), on 31 August commemorating the independence of the
of Malaya in 1957, while Malaysia
Day is only celebrated in the state of Sabah on 16
September to commemorate the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
Hari Merdeka, as well as Labour Day
May), the King's birthday (first Saturday of June) and some other
festivals are federal gazetted public holidays.
Muslims in Malaysia celebrate Muslim
. The most celebrated festival, Hari Raya Puasa
(also called Hari Raya
) is the Malay translation of Eid al-Fitr
. It is generally a festival honoured
by the Muslims worldwide marking the end of Ramadan
, the fasting month. The sight of the new
moon determines the end of Ramadan. This determines the new month,
therefore the end of the fasting month. In addition to Hari Raya
Puasa, they also celebrate Hari Raya
(also called Hari Raya Aidiladha
, the translation
of Eid ul-Adha
), Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year
) and Maulidur Rasul
(Birthday of the Prophet).
in Malaysia typically
celebrate festivals that are observed by Chinese around the world.
Chinese New Year
is the most
celebrated among the festivals which lasts for fifteen days and
ends with Chap Goh Mei
. Other festivals celebrated by Chinese are the Qingming Festival
, the Dragon Boat Festival
and the Mid-Autumn Festival
. In addition to
traditional Chinese festivals, Buddhists
Chinese also celebrate Vesak
majority of Indians in Malaysia are Hindus and
they celebrate Diwali/Deepavali, the festival of light, while Thaipusam is a celebration which pilgrims from all over the country flock to Batu Caves.
Apart from the Hindus, Sikhs
celebrate the Vaisakhi
the Sikh New Year.
Other festivals such as Good Friday
(East Malaysia only), Christmas
, Hari Gawai
of the Ibans
Pesta Menuai (Pesta Kaamatan
) of the
are also celebrated in
Despite most of the festivals being identified with a particular
ethnic or religious group, all Malaysians celebrate the festivities
together, regardless of their background. For years when the Hari
Raya Puasa and Chinese New Year coincided, a portmanteau Kongsi Raya
which is a combination of Gong Xi Fa Cai (a greeting used on the
Chinese New Year) and Hari Raya (which could also mean "celebrating
together" in Malay
. Similarly, the
portmanteau Deepa Raya
was coined when Hari Raya Puasa and
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