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Malaysia country facts

East and Southeast Asia Kuala Lumpur 30,073,353 inhabitants 329,847 sq km 91.17 inhabitants/sq km ringgits (MYR) population evolution

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During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia; these were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula except Singapore formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore, as well as Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo, joined the Federation. The first several years of the country's independence were marred by a communist insurgency, Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's withdrawal in 1965. During the 22-year term of Prime Minister MAHATHIR bin Mohamad (1981-2003), Malaysia was successful in diversifying its economy from dependence on exports of raw materials to the development of manufacturing, services, and tourism. Prime Minister Mohamed NAJIB bin Abdul Razak (in office since April 2009) has continued these pro-business policies and has introduced some civil reforms.



Southeastern Asia, peninsula bordering Thailand and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia, Brunei, and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam

Geographic coordinates

2 30 N, 112 30 E

Area (sq km)

total: 329,847 sq km
land: 328,657 sq km
water: 1,190 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries (km)

total: 2,669 km
border countries: Brunei 381 km, Indonesia 1,782 km, Thailand 506 km

Coastline (km)

4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km)

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation; specified boundary in the South China Sea


tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons


coastal plains rising to hills and mountains

Elevation extremes (m)

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Gunung Kinabalu 4,100 m

Natural resources

tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite

Land use (%)

arable land: 5.44%
permanent crops: 17.49%
other: 77.07% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)

3,800 sq km (2009)

Total renewable water resources (cu km)

580 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural) ()

total: 11.2 cu km/yr (35%/43%/22%)
per capita: 414 cu m/yr (2005)

Natural hazards

flooding; landslides; forest fires

Environment - current issues

air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires

Environment - international agreements

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, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea

People and Society


noun: Malaysian(s)
adjective: Malaysian

Ethnic groups (%)

Malay 50.1%, Chinese 22.6%, indigenous 11.8%, Indian 6.7%, other 0.7%, non-citizens 8.2% (2010 est.)

Languages (%)

Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai
note: in East Malaysia there are several indigenous languages; most widely spoken are Iban and Kadazan

Religions (%)

Muslim (official) 61.3%, Buddhist 19.8%, Christian 9.2%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 1.3%, other 0.4%, none 0.8%, unspecified 1% (2010 est.)


30,073,353 (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 28.8% (male 4,456,033/female 4,206,727)
15-24 years: 16.9% (male 2,580,486/female 2,511,579)
25-54 years: 41.2% (male 6,277,694/female 6,114,312)
55-64 years: 7.6% (male 1,163,861/female 1,122,746)
65 years and over: 5.3% (male 777,338/female 862,577) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Malaysia

Median age (years)

total: 27.7 years
male: 27.4 years
female: 27.9 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

1.47% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

20.06 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

5 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

-0.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: does not reflect net flow of an unknown number of illegal immigrants from other countries in the region (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 72.8% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 2.49% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

KUALA LUMPUR (capital) 1.556 million; Klang 1.19 million; Johor Bahru 1.045 million (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

29 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 13.69 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 15.82 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 74.52 years
male: 71.74 years
female: 77.48 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

2.58 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

3.6% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

1.2 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

1.8 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 98.5% of population
total: 99.6% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 1.5% of population
total: 0.4% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 96.1% of population
rural: 94.6% of population
total: 95.7% of population
unimproved: urban: 3.9% of population
rural: 5.4% of population
total: 4.3% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

0.4% (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

82,000 (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

5,200 (2009 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2013)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

14% (2008)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight (%)

12.9% (2006)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

5.9% of GDP (2011)

Literacy (%)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.1%
male: 95.4%
female: 90.7% (2010 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2005)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 (%)

total: 10.3%
male: 9.8%
female: 11% (2012)


Country name

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Malaysia
local long form: none
local short form: Malaysia
former: Federation of Malaya

Government type

constitutional monarchy
note: 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 (Malacca) and Pulau Pinang (Penang); those 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)


name: Kuala Lumpur; note - Putrajaya is referred to as an administrative center not the capital; Parliament meets in Kuala Lumpur
geographic coordinates: 3 10 N, 101 42 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

13 states (negeri-negeri, singular - negeri); Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu; and 1 federal territory (Wilayah Persekutuan) with 3 components, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, and Putrajaya


31 August 1957 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day 31 August (1957) (independence of Malaya); Malaysia Day 16 September (1963) (formation of Malaysia)


previous 1948; latest drafted 21 February 1957, effective 27 August 1957; amended many times, last in 2007 (2010)

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court at request of supreme head of the federation

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


21 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King Tuanku ABDUL HALIM Mu'adzam Shah (selected on 13 December 2011; installed on 11 April 2012); the position of the king is primarily ceremonial
head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed NAJIB bin Abdul Najib Razak (since 3 April 2009); Deputy Prime Minister MUHYIDDIN bin Mohamed Yassin (since 9 April 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among the members of Parliament with consent of the king
elections: kings are elected by and from the hereditary rulers of nine of the states for five-year terms; selection is based on the principle of rotation among rulers of states; elections were last held on 14 October 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime ministers are 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 (since independence this has been the leader of the UMNO party)
election results: Tuanku ABDUL HALIM Mu'adzam Shah elected king by fellow hereditary rulers of nine states; Mohamed NAJIB bin Abdul Najib Razak was sworn in as prime minister the day after his National Front (BN) coalition won a majority of seats during the 5 May 2013 national election; NAJIB was re-elected uncontested as UMNO president on 19 October 2013

Legislative branch

bicameral Parliament or Parlimen consists of Senate or Dewan Negara (70 seats; 44 members appointed by the king, 26 elected by 13 state legislatures to serve three-year terms with a two term limit) and House of Representatives or Dewan Rakyat (222 seats; members elected in 222 constituencies in a first-pass-the-post system to serve up to five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held on 5 May 2013 (next to be held by May 2018)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote - BN coalition 47.4%, opposition parties 50.9%, others 1.7%; seats - BN coalition 133, opposition parties 89

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Federal Court (consists of the chief justice and 4 judges)
note - Malaysia has a dual judicial hierarchy of civil and religious (sharia) courts
judge selection and term of office: Federal Court justices appointed by the monarch on advice of the prime minister; judges serve till age 65
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; Sessions Court; Magistrates' Court

Political parties and leaders

National Front (Barisan Nasional) or BN (ruling coalition) consists of the following parties: Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia Party or GERAKAN [KOH Tsu Koon]
Liberal Democratic Party (Parti Liberal Demokratik - Sabah) or LDP [LIEW Vui Keong]
Malaysian Chinese Association (Persatuan China Malaysia) or MCA [CHUA Soi Lek]
Malaysian Indian Congress (Kongres India Malaysia) or MIC [Govindasamy PALANIVEL]
Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah or PBRS [Joseph KURUP]
Parti Bersatu Sabah or PBS [Joseph PAIRIN Kitingan]
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu or PBB [Abdul TAIB Mahmud]
Parti Rakyat Sarawak or PRS [James MASING]
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party or SPDP [Tan Sri William MAKAN Ikom]
Sarawak United People's Party (Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sarawak) or SUPP [Peter CHIN Fah Kui]
United Malays National Organization or UMNO [NAJIB bin Abdul Razak]
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organization (Pertubuhan Pasko Momogun Kadazan Dusun Bersatu) or UPKO [Bernard DOMPOK]
People's Progressive Party (Parti Progresif Penduduk Malaysia) or PPP [M.Kayveas]
People's Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) or PR (opposition coalition) consists of the following parties: Democratic Action Party (Parti Tindakan Demokratik) or DAP [KARPAL Singh]
Islamic Party of Malaysia (Parti Islam se Malaysia) or PAS [Abdul HADI Awang
People's Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) or PKR [WAN AZIZAH Wan Ismail]
Sarawak National Party or SNAP [Edwin DUNDANG]
notable independent parties: Sabah Progressive Party (Parti Progresif Sabah) or SAPP [YONG Teck Lee]
State Reform Pary (Parti Reformasi Negeri) or STAR [Jeffery KITINGAN]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Bar Council
BERSIH (electoral reform coalition)
PEMBELA (Muslim NGO coalition)
PERKASA (defense of Malay rights)
other: religious groups; women's groups; youth groups

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador AWANG ADEK Bin Hussin (since 21 May 2015)
chancery: 3516 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 572-9700
FAX: [1] (202) 572-9882
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph Y. YUN (since 12 September 2013)
embassy: 376 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur
mailing address: US Embassy Kuala Lumpur, APO AP 96535-8152
telephone: [60] (3) 2168-5000
FAX: [60] (3) 2142-2207

Flag description

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 flag is often referred to as Jalur Gemilang (Stripes of Glory); the 14 stripes stand for the equal status in the federation of the 13 member states and the federal government; the 14 points on the star represent the unity between these entities; the crescent is a traditional symbol of Islam; blue symbolizes the unity of the Malay people and yellow is the royal color of Malay rulers
note: the design is based on the flag of the US

National symbol(s)


National anthem

name: "Negaraku" (My Country)
lyrics/music: collective, led by Tunku ABDUL RAHMAN/Pierre Jean DE BERANGER
note: adopted 1957; the full version is only performed in the presence of the king; the tune, which was adopted from a popular French melody titled "La Rosalie," was originally the anthem of the state of Perak


Economy - overview

Malaysia, a middle-income country, has transformed itself since the 1970s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy. Under current Prime Minister NAJIB, Malaysia is attempting to achieve high-income status by 2020 and to move farther up the value-added production chain by attracting investments in Islamic finance, high technology industries, biotechnology, and services. NAJIB's Economic Transformation Program (ETP) is a series of projects and policy measures intended to accelerate the country's economic growth. The government has also taken steps to liberalize some services sub-sectors. The NAJIB administration also is continuing efforts to boost domestic demand and reduce the economy's dependence on exports. Nevertheless, exports - particularly of electronics, oil and gas, palm oil and rubber - remain a significant driver of the economy. As an oil and gas exporter, Malaysia has profited from higher world energy prices, although the rising cost of domestic gasoline and diesel fuel, combined with sustained budget deficits, has forced Kuala Lumpur to begin to address fiscal shortfalls, through initial reductions in energy and sugar subsidies and the announcement of the 2015 implementation of a 6% goods and services tax. The government is also trying to lessen its dependence on state oil producer Petronas. The oil and gas sector supplies about 32% of government revenue in 2013. Bank Negara Malaysia (central bank) maintains healthy foreign exchange reserves, and a well-developed regulatory regime has limited Malaysia's exposure to riskier financial instruments and the global financial crisis. Nevertheless, Malaysia could be vulnerable to a fall in commodity prices or a general slowdown in global economic activity because exports are a major component of GDP. In order to attract increased investment, NAJIB earlier raised possible revisions to the special economic and social preferences accorded to ethnic Malays under the New Economic Policy of 1970, but retreated in 2013 after he encountered significant opposition from Malay nationalists and other vested interests. In September 2013 NAJIB launched the new Bumiputra Economic Empowerment Program (BEEP), policies that favor and advance the economic condition of ethnic Malays.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$525 billion (2013 est.)
$501.5 billion (2012 est.)
$474.7 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$312.4 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

4.7% (2013 est.)
5.6% (2012 est.)
5.1% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$17,500 (2013 est.)
$17,000 (2012 est.)
$16,400 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 11.2%
industry: 40.6%
services: 48.1% (2013 est.)

Labor force

13.19 million (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: 11.1%
industry: 36%
services: 53.5% (2012 est.)

Unemployment rate (%)

3.1% (2013 est.)
3% (2012 est.)

Population below poverty line (%)

3.8% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 34.7% (2009 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

46.2 (2009)
49.2 (1997)


revenues: $65.72 billion
expenditures: $79.4 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

21% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

-4.4% of GDP (2013 est.)

Public debt (% of GDP)

54.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
53.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
note: this figure is based on the amount of federal government debt, RM501.6 billion ($167.2 billion) in 2012; this includes Malaysian Treasury bills and other government securities, as well as loans raised externally and bonds and notes issued overseas; this figure excludes debt issued by non-financial public enterprises and guaranteed by the federal government, which was an additional $47.7 billion in 2012

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

2.2% (2013 est.)
1.7% (2012 est.)
note: approximately 30% of goods are price-controlled

Central bank discount rate (%)

3% (31 December 2011)
2.83% (31 December 2010)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

4.5% (31 December 2013 est.)
4.7% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$97.03 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$93.89 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$439.7 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$435.2 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$421 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$412.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$476.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$395.1 billion (31 December 2011)
$NA (31 December 2010 est.)

Agriculture - products

Peninsular Malaysia - palm oil, rubber, cocoa, rice; Sabah - palm oil, subsistence crops; rubber, timber; Sarawak - palm oil, rubber, timber; pepper


Peninsular Malaysia - rubber and oil palm processing and manufacturing, petroleum and natural gas, light manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, medical technology, electronics and semi-conductors, timber processing; Sabah - logging, petroleum and natural gas production; Sarawak - agriculture processing, petroleum and natural gas production, logging

Industrial production growth rate (%)

5% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

$16.67 billion (2013 est.)
$18.64 billion (2012 est.)


$230.7 billion (2013 est.)
$227.7 billion (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

semiconductors and electronic equipment, palm oil, petroleum and liquefied natural gas, wood and wood products, palm oil, rubber, textiles, chemicals, solar panels

Exports - partners (%)

Singapore 13.6%, China 12.6%, Japan 11.8%, US 8.7%, Thailand 5.4%, Hong Kong 4.3%, India 4.2%, Australia 4.1% (2012)


$192.9 billion (2013 est.)
$186.9 billion (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

electronics, machinery, petroleum products, plastics, vehicles, iron and steel products, chemicals

Imports - partners (%)

China 15.1%, Singapore 13.3%, Japan 10.3%, US 8.1%, Thailand 6%, Indonesia 5.1%, South Korea 4.1% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$139.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$139.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

External debt ($)

$100.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$98.82 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$143.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$132.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$133.5 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$120.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
ringgits (MYR) per US dollar -
3.174 (2013 est.)
3.09 (2012 est.)
3.22 (2010 est.)
3.52 (2009)
3.33 (2008)

Fiscal year

calendar year


Electricity - production (kWh)

118 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

112 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

151 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

33 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

25.39 million kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

91.7% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

8.3% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

642,700 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

269,000 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

160,500 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

4 billion bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

568,800 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

542,900 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

176,500 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

175,100 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

61.73 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

32.62 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

33.1 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

1.99 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

2.35 trillion cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

191.4 million Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

4.589 million (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

41.325 million (2012)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern system featuring good intercity service on Peninsular Malaysia provided mainly by microwave radio relay and an adequate intercity microwave radio relay network between Sabah and Sarawak via Brunei; international service excellent
domestic: domestic satellite system with 2 earth stations; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 140 per 100 persons
international: country code - 60; landing point for several major international submarine cable networks that provide connectivity to Asia, Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Pacific Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media

state-owned TV broadcaster operates 2 TV networks with relays throughout the country, and the leading private commercial media group operates 4 TV stations with numerous relays throughout the country; satellite TV subscription service is available; state-owned radio broadcaster operates multiple national networks as well as regional and local stations; many private commercial radio broadcasters and some subscription satellite radio services are available; about 55 radio stations overall (2012)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

422,470 (2012)

Internet users

15.355 million (2009)



114 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 39
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 8 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 75
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 69 (2013)


4 (2013)

Pipelines (km)

condensate 354 km; gas 6,439 km; liquid petroleum gas 155 km; oil 1,937 km; oil/gas/water 43 km; refined products 114 km; water 26 km (2013)

Railways (km)

total: 1,849 km
standard gauge: 57 km 1.435-m gauge (57 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,792 km 1.000-m gauge (150 km electrified) (2010)

Roadways (km)

total: 144,403 km (does not include local roads)
paved: 116,169 km (includes 1,821 km of expressways)
unpaved: 28,234 km (2010)

Waterways (km)

7,200 km (Peninsular Malaysia 3,200 km; Sabah 1,500 km; Sarawak 2,500 km) (2011)

Merchant marine

total: 315
by type: bulk carrier 11, cargo 83, carrier 2, chemical tanker 47, container 41, liquefied gas 34, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 86, roll on/roll off 2, vehicle carrier 5
foreign-owned: 26 (Denmark 1, Hong Kong 8, Japan 2, Russia 2, Singapore 13)
registered in other countries: 82 (Bahamas 13, India 1, Indonesia 1, Isle of Man 6, Malta 1, Marshall Islands 11, Panama 12, Papua New Guinea 1, Philippines 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Singapore 27, Thailand 3, US 2, unknown 2) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Bintulu, Johor Bahru, George Town (Penang), Port Kelang (Port Klang), Tanjung Pelepas
container port(s) (TEUs): George Town (Penang)(1,202,180), Port Kelang (Port Klang)(9,435,403), Tanjung Pelepas (7,302,461)

Transportation - note

the International Maritime Bureau reports that the territorial and offshore waters in the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea remain high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; in the past, commercial vessels have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; hijacked vessels are often disguised and cargo diverted to ports in East Asia; crews have been murdered or cast adrift; increased naval patrols since 2005 in the Strait of Malacca resulted in no reported incidents in 2010


Military branches

Malaysian Armed Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, ATM): Malaysian Army (Tentera Darat Malaysia), Royal Malaysian Navy (Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia, TLDM), Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia, TUDM) (2013)

Military service age and obligation (years of age)

17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service (younger with parental consent and proof of age); mandatory retirement age 60; women serve in the Malaysian Armed Forces; no conscription (2013)

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 7,501,518
females age 16-49: 7,315,999 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 6,247,306
females age 16-49: 6,175,274 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 265,008
female: 254,812 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures (% of GDP)

1.55% of GDP (2012)
1.67% of GDP (2011)
1.55% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

while the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions over the Spratly Islands, it is not the legally binding "code of conduct" sought by some parties; Malaysia was not party to the March 2005 joint accord among the national oil companies of China, the Philippines, and Vietnam on conducting marine seismic activities in the Spratly Islands; disputes continue over deliveries of fresh water to Singapore, Singapore's land reclamation, bridge construction, and maritime boundaries in the Johor and Singapore Straits; in 2008, ICJ awarded sovereignty of Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh/Horsburgh Island) to Singapore, and Middle Rocks to Malaysia, but did not rule on maritime regimes, boundaries, or disposition of South Ledge; land and maritime negotiations with Indonesia are ongoing, and disputed areas include the controversial Tanjung Datu and Camar Wulan border area in Borneo and the maritime boundary in the Ambalat oil block in the Celebes Sea; separatist violence in Thailand's predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompts measures to close and monitor border with Malaysia to stem terrorist activities; Philippines retains a dormant claim to Malaysia's Sabah State in northern Borneo; per Letters of Exchange signed in 2009, Malaysia in 2010 ceded two hydrocarbon concession blocks to Brunei in exchange for Brunei's sultan dropping claims to the Limbang corridor, which divides Brunei; piracy remains a problem in the Malacca Strait

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 92,287 (Burma) (2013)
stateless persons: 40,001 (2012); note - Malaysia's stateless population consists of Rohingya refugees from Burma, ethnic Indians, and the children of Filipino and Indonesian illegal migrants; Burma stripped the Rohingya of their nationality in 1982; Filipino and Indonesian children who have not have been registered for birth certificates by their parents or who received birth certificates stamped "foreigner" are not eligible to go to government schools; these children are vulnerable to statelessness should they not be able to apply to their parents' country of origin for a passport

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Malaysia is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for women and children subjected to conditions of forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking; Malaysia is mainly a destination country for foreign workers who migrate willingly from countries including Indonesia, Nepal, India, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam but subsequently encounter forced labor or debt bondage at the hands of their employers in the domestic, agricultural, construction, plantation, and industrial sectors; a small number of Malaysian citizens were reportedly trafficked internally and abroad to Singapore, China, and Japan for commercial sexual exploitation; refugees are also vulnerable to trafficking; some officials are reportedly complicit in facilitating trafficking
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Malaysia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government has made no tangible improvements to its inadequate system for identifying and protecting trafficking victims, such as amending its laws to allow victims to reside in NGO shelters; trafficking victims identified by Malaysian authorities are forcibly detained in government facilities, where they are provided with limited, if any, access to legal or psychological assistance by the government or NGOs; increasing efforts are being made to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenders, notably in the area of labor trafficking, though convictions of sex trafficking offenders has decreased; many front-line officials continue to lack the ability to recognize indicators of human trafficking, hindering the investigation of cases and the identification of victims; although the confiscation of passports by employers is illegal, the government has not prosecuted any employers who confiscated migrants' passports or travel documents or confined them to the workplace (2013)

Illicit drugs

drug trafficking prosecuted vigorously and carries severe penalties; heroin still primary drug of abuse, but synthetic drug demand remains strong; continued ecstasy and methamphetamine producer for domestic users and, to a lesser extent, the regional drug market

Largest cities of Malaysia

These are the 50 largest cities of Malaysia ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Kuala Lumpur 1,453,978
2 Klang 879,887
3 Johor Bahru 802,525
4 Ipoh 673,346
5 Kuching 570,579
6 Petaling Jaya 520,712
7 Shah Alam 481,670
8 Kota Kinabalu 457,375
9 Sandakan 392,332
10 Seremban 372,931
11 Kuantan 366,253
12 Tawau 306,497
13 Kuala Terengganu 285,091
14 Kota Bahru 279,343
15 Sungai Petani 228,898
16 Miri 228,227
17 Taiping 217,658
18 Alor Setar 217,378
19 Bukit Mertajam 212,387
20 Sibu 198,252
21 Melaka 180,675
22 Kulim 170,931
23 Kluang 169,838
24 Sekudai 159,864
25 Bandar Penggaram 156,245
26 Bintulu 151,718
27 Pasir Gudang 145,739
28 Bandar Maharani 127,905
29 Rawang 120,484
30 Ayer Itam 115,276
31 Butterworth 107,597
32 Lahad Datu 105,635
33 Port Dickson 89,203
34 Cukai 82,434
35 Semenyih 80,576
36 Putatan 78,340
37 Keningau 77,703
38 Banting 75,467
39 Ulu Tiram 75,396
40 Labuan 73,664
41 Senai 73,201
42 Segamat 69,821
43 Perai 65,322
44 Kangar 63,894
45 Kulai 63,765
46 Jitra 63,492
47 Teluk Intan 63,357
48 Semporna 62,686
49 Temerloh 59,942
50 Simpang Empat 58,037