Welcome To Malaysia
To know malaysia is to love Malaysia, A bubbling, bustling melting pot of races and religions where malays, indians, Chinese and many othes ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony.
Multiculturalism has not only made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise, it has also made Malaysia home to hundreds of colourful festivals. It's no wonder that we love celebrating and socialising. As a people, Malaysians are very laid back, warm and friendly.
Geographically, Malaysia is as diverse as its culture. There are two parts to the country, 11 states in the peninsula of Malaysia and two states on the northern part of Borneo. Cool hideaways are found in the highlands that roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves.
One of Malaysia's key attractions is its extreme contrasts. Towering skyscrapers look down upon wooden houses built on stilts, and five-star hotels sit several metres away from ancient reefs.For the perfect holiday full of surprises, eclectic cultures and natural wonders, the time is now, the place is Malaysia.
The Federation of Malaysia comprises Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Geographical Location Located between 2º and 7º north of the Equator, Peninsula Malaysia is separated from the states of Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. To the north of Peninsula Malaysia is Thailand while its southern neighbour is Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak are north of Indonesia in Borneo while Sarawak also shares a border with Brunei.
Area: 329,758 sq km Population: 26 million Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Malays who make up about 57% of the population are the predominant group with Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups making up the rest. Language Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the national language but English is widely spoken. The ethnic groups also speak various languages and dialects.
Islam is the official religion but all other religions are freely practised.
Malaysia is governed by a Parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislative system. The Head of State is the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, a position that is awarded to a different State Monarch every five years and the Head of Government is the Prime Minister. Climate
Tropical climate with warm weather all year round. Temperatures in the lowlands range from 21ºC (70ºF) to 32ºC (90ºF). The highlands are cooler, where temperatures range between 15°C (59° F) to 25°C (77°F). Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm. Major Holidays
New Year's Day Hari Raya Aidiladha* Federal Territory Day ** Chinese New Year* Awal Muharam* Birthday of Prophet Muhammad* Labour Day* Wesak Day* King's Birthday* National Day* Deepavali# Hari Raya Aidilfitri* Christmas* Note: (*) - National holidays (**) - Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur & Labuan only (#) - Except Labuan & Sarawak
Manufacturing constitutes the largest single component of Malaysia's economy. Tourism and primary commodities such as petroleum, palm oil, natural rubber and timber are other major contributors to the economy.
Distance to Malaysia
London, United Kingdom to Kuala Lumpur : 6,557 miles (10,552 km)
Paris, France to Kuala Lumpur 6,483 miles (10,432 km)
Rome, Italy to Kuala Lumpur : 6,038 miles (9,716 km)
Stockholm, Sweden to Kuala Lumpur : 5,812 miles (9,353 km)
Berlin, Germany to Kuala Lumpur : 5,979 miles (9,622 km)
Madrid, Spain to Kuala Lumpur : 6,885 miles (11,079 km)
New York, USA to Kuala Lumpur : 9,400 miles (15,126 km)
Los Angeles, USA to Kuala Lumpur : 8,790 miles (14,144 km)
Vancouver, Canada to Kuala Lumpur : 7,944 miles (12,783 km)
The unit of currency is Malaysian Ringgit indicated as RM. USD1 is roughly equivalent to RM3.20. Foreign currency can be converted at banks and money changers.
Most states: Mon - Fri: 9.30am to 4.30pm. Sat & Sun: Closed (Selected banks and branches are open on Sat). Kelantan & Terengganu: Sun - Wed :9.30am to 4.30pm. Thurs :9.30am to 4.00pm. Friday/Saturday*/Public Holiday: Closed
Open from 8.30am to 6.00pm daily except the first Saturday of each month, Sundays and public holidays. In Kelantan and Terengganu post offices operate during the same hours but are closed on Fridays and public holidays.
Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.
Voltage is 220 - 240 volts AC at 50 cycles per second.
Standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets.
Weights and Measures
Malaysia follows the metric system in weights and measures.
Local calls can be made from public phones using coins or pre-paid cards. International calls can be made from public phones with card phone facilities or at any Telekom office.
Malaysia has a wide range of accommodation at competitive rates. Six-star, medium range, budget hotels, youth hostels, beach chalets and timeshare apartments are just some of the types of accommodation available. Privately operated motor-homes are also available for rent.
Culture & Heritage : People
Having had an interesting past and being a part of the international spice route many hundreds of years ago, Malaysia has turned into a mosaic of cultures. Everything from its people to its architecture reflect a colourful heritage and an amalgamated culture. To understand Malaysian culture, you must first get to know its people.
DISCOVER A LAND OF INTRIGUING DIVERSITY
Malays, Chinese, Indians and many other ethnic groups have lived together in Malaysia for generations. All these cultures have influenced each other, creating a truly Malaysian culture. The largest ethnic groups in Malaysia are the Malays, Chinese and Indians. In Sabah and Sarawak, there are a myriad of indigenous ethnic groups with their own unique culture and heritage.
Today, the Malays, Malaysia's largest ethnic group, make up more than 50% of the population. In Malaysia, the term Malay refers to a person who practices Islam and Malay traditions, speaks the Malay language and whose ancestors are Malays. Their conversion to Islam from Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism began in the 1400s, largely influenced by the decision of the royal court of Melaka. The Malays are known for their gentle mannerisms and rich arts heritage.
The second largest ethnic group, the Malaysian Chinese form about 25% of the population. Mostly descendents of Chinese immigrants during the 19th century, the Chinese are known for their diligence and keen business sense. The three sub-groups who speak a different dialect of the Chinese language are the Hokkien who live predominantly on the northern island of Penang; the Cantonese who live predominantly in the capital city Kuala Lumpur; and the Mandarin-speaking group who live predominantly in the southern state of Johor.
The smallest of three main ethnic groups, the Malaysian Indians form about 10% of the population. Most are descendants of Tamil-speaking South Indian immigrants who came to the country during the British colonial rule. Lured by the prospect of breaking out of the Indian caste system, they came to Malaysia to build a better life. Predominantly Hindus, they brought with them their colourful culture such as ornate temples, spicy cuisine and exquisite sarees.
INDIGENOUS ETHNIC GROUPS
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. The Negrito usually live in the north, the Senoi in the middle and the Proto-Malay in the south. Each group or sub-group has its own language and culture. Some are fishermen, some farmers and some are semi-nomadic.
Collectively known as the Dayaks, the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu are the major ethnic groups in the state of Sarawak. Dayak, which means upstream or inland, is used as a blanket term by the Islamic coastal population for over 200 tribal groups. Typically, they live in longhouses, traditional community homes that can house 20 to 100 families.
The largest of Sarawak's ethnic groups, the Ibans form 30% of the state's population. Sometimes erroneously referred to as the Sea Dayaks because of their skill with boats, they are actually an upriver tribe from the heart of Kalimantan. In the past, they were a fearsome warrior race renowned for headhunting and piracy. Traditionally, they worship a triumvirate of gods under the authority of Singalang Burung, the bird-god of war. Although now mostly Christians, many traditional customs are still practised.
Peace-loving and easy-going, the gentle Bidayuh of Sarawak are famous for their hospitality and tuak or rice wine. Making their homes in Sarawak's mountainous regions, they are mostly farmers and hunters. In their past headhunting days, their prized skulls were stored in a 'baruk' a roundhouse that rises about 1.5 metres above the ground. Originally animists, now most of them have converted to Christianity.
Also known as upriver tribes of Sarawak. Forming roughly 5.5% of Sarawak's population, there are over 100,000 different Orang Ulu tribes. Arguably Borneo's most artistic people, their large longhouses are ornately decorated with murals and superb woodcarvings; their utensils are embellished with intricate beadwork; and aristocratic ladies cover their bodies with finely detailed tattoos.
The largest indigenous ethnic groups of Sabah's population are the Kadazan Dusun, the Bajau and the Murut.
The largest ethnic group of Sabah, the Kadazan Dusuns form about 30% of the state's population. Actually consisting of two tribes; the Kadazan and the Dusun, they were grouped together as they both share the same language and culture. However, the Kadazan are mainly inhabitants of flat valley deltas, which are conducive to paddy field farming, while the Dusun traditionally lived in the hilly and mountainous regions of interior Sabah.
The second largest ethnic group in Sabah, the Bajaus make up about 15% of the state's population. Historically a nomadic sea-faring people that worshipped the Omboh Dilaut or God of the Sea, they are sometimes referred to as the Sea Gypsies. Those who chose to leave their sea-faring ways became farmers and cattle-breeders. These land Bajaus are nicknamed 'Cowboys of the East' in tribute to their impressive equestrian skills, which are publicly displayed in the annual Tamu Besar festival at Kota Belud.
The third largest ethnic group in Sabah the Muruts make up about 3% of the state's population. Traditionally inhabiting the northern inland regions of Borneo, they were the last of Sabah's ethnic groups to renounce headhunting. Now, they are mostly shifting cultivators of hill paddy and tapioca, supplementing their diet with blowpipe hunting and fishing. Like most indigenous tribes in Sabah, their traditional clothing is decorated with distinctive beadwork.