Malaysia occupies a central position in South East Asia, with a land area of 330,000 square kilometers (127,000 square miles) and is divided into 2 distinctive land masses - Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia is separated from East Malaysia by the South China Sea. There is a total of 13 states (Johor, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Pahang, Perak, Terengganu, Kelantan, Penang, Kedah, Perlis, Sarawak and Sabah), three federal local territories (Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya).
Peninsular Malaysia borders Thailand to the North and in the south, neighbouring Singapore separated by the Straits of Johore. East Malaysia is part of Borneo and shares its borders with Brunei and Indonesia.
Generally, Malaysia has two distinct seasons. The south-west monsoon generally lasts from May to September, during which time the north east of the country is dry. The north-east monsoon brings the rainy season to the beautiful islands and beaches of the east coast from mid-November to March.
Malaysia has a wet tropical climate with warm and humid weather all year round. Temperatures range from 24-37 degree Celsius.
Malaysia is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Photo credit: orangesmile.com
Malaysia Meteorological Department
Malaysia reflects a colourful heritage and mosaic of culture, thanks to the international spice route of century ago. The total population of Malaysia in 2023 is estimated at 33.2 million as compared to 32.6 million in 2022 with an annual population growth rate of 1.6 percent. The population of Malaysia comprises of many ethnic groups and to understand Malaysian culture, one must first get to know its people.
Photo credit: The AZB
Malay made up of Malaysia's largest ethnic group. In Malaysia, the term Malay refers to a person who practises Islam and Malay traditions, speaks the Malay language and whose ancestors are Malays. The Malays are known for their gentle mannerism and rich arts heritage.
The second largest ethnic group in Malaysia. The three sub-groups who speak a different dialect of the Chinese language are the Hokkien who live predominantly on the nothern island of Penang; the Cantonese who live predominantly in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur; and the Mandarin-speaking group who live predominantly in the southern state of Johor.
The smallest of three main ethnic groups. Most are descendants of Tamil-speaking South Indian. Other dialects are largely practised as well. Predominantly Hindus, they brought with them their colourful culture such as ornate temples, spicy cuisine, exquisite sarees and traditional outfits.
Orang Asli is a general term used for any indigenous groups that are found in Peninsular Malaysia. They are divided into three main tribal groups: Negrito, Senoi and Proto-Malay. Each group or sub-group has its own language and culture.
Located in East Malaysia, Sabah is located in the Borneo Island and the largest indigenous ethnic groups pf Sabah's population are the Kadazan Dusun, the Bajau and Murut.
Located in East Malaysia, Sarawak is located in the Borneo Island. Collectively known as the Dayaks, the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu are the major ethnic groups in the state of Sarawak.
Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, headed by the Yang di-pertuan Agong, customarily referred to as the king. The Yang di-pertuan Agong is elected for 5 year terms from among the nine Sultans of the Peninsular Malaysian states. The Yang di-pertuan Agong is also the leader of the Islamic faith in Malaysia. Malaysia practises parliamentary democracy and has a three-tier government structure: Federal, State and Local. Federal executive power is vested in the Cabinet led by the Prime Minister.