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Languages: Bahasa Melayu (Malay, official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai; several indigenous languages (including Iban, Kadazan) in East Malaysia
Ethnicity/race: Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, Indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%, others 7.8% (2004 est.)
Religions: Muslim, Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, Christian, Sikh; Shamanism (East Malaysia)
National Holiday: Independence Day/Malaysia Day, August 31
Literacy rate: 89% (2003 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2009 est.): $381.1 billion; per capita $14,800. Real growth rate: –2.2%. Inflation: 0.4%. Unemployment: 5%. Arable land: 5%. Agriculture: Peninsular Malaysia—rubber, palm oil, cocoa, rice; Sabah—subsistence crops, rubber, timber, coconuts, rice; Sarawak—rubber, pepper, timber. Labor force: 10.67 million; agriculture 14.5%, industry 36%, services 49.5% (2000 est.). Industries: Peninsular Malaysia—rubber and oil-palm processing and manufacturing, light manufacturing industry, electronics, tin mining and smelting, logging, timber processing; Sabah—logging, petroleum production; Sarawak—agriculture processing, petroleum production and refining, logging. Natural resources: tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite. Exports: $156.4 billion (2009 est.): electronic equipment, petroleum and liquefied natural gas, wood and wood products, palm oil, rubber, textiles, chemicals. Imports: $119.5 billion (2009 est.): electronics, machinery, petroleum products, plastics, vehicles, iron and steel products, chemicals. Major trading partners: U.S., Singapore, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Indonesia (2004).
Member of Commonwealth of Nations
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 4.6 million (2000); mobile cellular: 5 million (2000). Radio broadcast stations: AM 35, FM 391, shortwave 15 (2001). Radios: 10.9 million (1999). Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus 15 high-power repeaters) (2001). Televisions: 10.8 million (1999). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 7 (2000). Internet users: 5.7 million (2002).
Transportation: Railways: total: 2,418 km (2002). Highways: total: 65,877 km; paved: 49,935 km (including 1,192 km of expressways); unpaved: 15,942 km (1999). Waterways: 7,296 km (Peninsular Malaysia 3,209 km, Sabah 1,569 km, Sarawak 2,518 km). Ports and harbors: Bintulu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuantan, Kuching, Kudat, Labuan, Lahad Datu, Lumut, Miri, Pasir Gudang, Penang, Port Dickson, Port Kelang, Sandakan, Sibu, Tanjung Berhala, Tanjung Kidurong, Tawau. Airports: 114 (2002).
International disputes:involved in complex dispute over Spratly Islands with China, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and possibly Brunei; claimants in November 2002 signed the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” a mechanism to ease tension but which fell short of a legally binding “code of conduct”; disputes over deliveries of fresh water to Singapore, Singapore's land reclamation on Johor, maritime boundaries, and Singapore-occupied Pedra Branca Island/Pulau Batu Putih persist—parties agree to ICJ arbitration on island dispute within three years; ICJ awarded Ligitan and Sipadan islands off the coast of Sabah, also claimed by Indonesia and Philippines, to Malaysia; a small section of the Malaysia-Thailand boundary in the Kolok River remains in dispute.