Malaysia | Facts & Information

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
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Facts & Figures

  • Head of State: Sultan Muhammad V (Since 2017)

    Prime Minister: Dr. Mahathir bin Muhamad (Since 2018)

    Land area: 126,853 sq mi (328,549 sq km); total area: 127,316 sq mi (329,750 sq km)

    Population (2014 est.): 30,073,353 (growth rate: 1.47%); birth rate: 20.06/1000; infant mortality rate: 13.69/1000; life expectancy: 74.52

    Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Kuala Lumpur, 1.556 million

    Other large cities: Klang 1.19 million; Johor Bahru 1.045 million (2011)

    Monetary unit: Ringgit

    Current government officials

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

    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.)

    National Holiday: Independence Day/Malaysia Day, August 31

    Literacy rate: 93.1% (2010 est.)

    Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2013 est.): $525 billion; per capita $17,500. Real growth rate: 4.7%. Inflation: 2.2%. Unemployment: 3.1%. Arable land: 5.44%. Agriculture: Peninsular Malaysia—rubber, palm oil, cocoa, rice; Sabah—subsistence crops, rubber, timber, coconuts, rice; Sarawak—rubber, pepper, timber. Labor force: 13.19 million (2013 est.); agriculture 11.1%, industry 36%, services 53.5%. 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: $230.7 billion (2013 est.): electronic equipment, petroleum and liquefied natural gas, wood and wood products, palm oil, rubber, textiles, chemicals. Imports: $192.9.4 billion (2013 est.): electronics, machinery, petroleum products, plastics, vehicles, iron and steel products, chemicals. Major trading partners: U.S., Singapore, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, India, Australia (2012).

    Member of Commonwealth of Nations

    Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 4.589 million (2012); mobile cellular: 41.325 million (2012). 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 Service Providers (ISPs): 422,470 (2012). Internet users: 15.355 million (2009).

    Transportation: Railways: total: 1,849 km (2010). Roadways: total: 144,403 km; paved: 116,169 km (including 1,821 km of expressways); unpaved: 28,234 km (2004). Waterways: 7,200 km (Peninsular Malaysia 3,200 km, Sabah 1,500 km, Sarawak 2,500 km). Ports and harbors: Bintulu, Johor Bahru, George Town (Penang), Port Kelang (Port Klang), Tanjung Pelepas. Airports: 114 (2013).

    International disputes: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.

    Major sources and definitions