Malaysia Flag Icon

Malaysia Country Guide

Explore Malaysia in Asia

Malaysia with the capital city Kuala Lumpur is located in Asia (Southeastern Asia, peninsula bordering Thailand and northern one-third of the island of Borneo). It covers some 329,751 square kilometres (slightly larger than New Mexico) with 25,259,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Malaysia

The landscape offers coastal plains rising to hills and mountains. The average density of population is approximately 77 per km². The notable climate conditions in Malaysia can be described as tropical with annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons. Potential threats by nature are flooding or landslides or forest fires.

To reach someone in Malaysia dial +60 prior to a number. There are 4,312,000 installed telephones. And there are 30,379,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900, 1800 MHz and 3G. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".my". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 240V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Malaysia

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.

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.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Asia
Neighbours: Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Size 329,750 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 127,317 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than New Mexico
Population 25,259,000
Currency Name: Ringgit, Currency Code: MYR
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .my
Telephone Country Prefix +60
Mobile Phone Connections 30,379,000
Landline Phone Connections 4,312,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 329,847 (sq km) 67

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 29,628,392 43
Population growth rate 1.51 (%) 79
Birth rate 20.41 (births/1,000 population) 83
Death rate 4.97 (deaths/1,000 population) 184
Net migration rate -0.35 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 129
Maternal mortality rate 29.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 125
Infant mortality rate 14.12 (deaths/1,000 live births) 118
Life expectancy at birth 74.28 (years) 112
Total fertility rate 2.61 (children born/woman) 78
Health expenditures 4.40 (% of GDP) 156
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.50 (%) 66
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 100,000 41
HIV/AIDS - deaths 5,800 36
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 14.00 (%) 123
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 12.90 (%) 58
Education expenditures 5.10 (% of GDP) 70
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 11.3 (%) 103


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 506,700,000,000 30
GDP - real growth rate 5.60 (%) 51
GDP - per capita (PPP) 17,200 78
Labor force 12,920,000 42
Unemployment rate 3.20 (%) 27
Distribution of family income - Gini index 46 33
Investment (gross fixed) 25.20 (% of GDP) 50
Taxes and other revenues 19.5 (% of GDP) 169
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -5.30 (% of GDP) 163
Public debt 53.50 (% of GDP) 54
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 1.90 (%) 30
Central bank discount rate 2.83 (%) 107
Commercial bank prime lending rate 4.83 (%) 160
Stock of narrow money 96,680,000,000 36
Stock of broad money 458,500,000,000 23
Stock of domestic credit 403,700,000,000 29
Market value of publicly traded shares 410,500,000,000 23
Industrial production growth rate 1.40 (%) 128
Current account balance 22,800,000,000 16
Exports 247,000,000,000 24
Imports 202,400,000,000 27
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 140,400,000,000 20
Debt - external 98,650,000,000 49
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 123,000,000,000 33
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 123,300,000,000 27


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 118,000,000,000 (kWh) 31
Electricity - consumption 112,000,000,000 (kWh) 29
Electricity - exports 88,000,000 (kWh) 73
Electricity - imports 33,000,000 (kWh) 103
Electricity - installed generating capacity 25240000 (kW) 32
Electricity - from fossil fuels 91.7 (% of total installed capacity) 73
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 8.3 (% of total installed capacity) 118
Crude oil - production 603,400 (bbl/day) 29
Crude oil - exports 269,000 (bbl/day) 27
Crude oil - imports 199,100 (bbl/day) 34
Crude oil - proved reserves 2900000000 (bbl) 30
Refined petroleum products - production 649,700 (bbl/day) 28
Refined petroleum products - consumption 542,900 (bbl/day) 34
Refined petroleum products - exports 213,800 (bbl/day) 30
Refined petroleum products - imports 178,200 (bbl/day) 29
Natural gas - production 66,500,000,000 (cu m) 14
Natural gas - consumption 35,700,000,000 (cu m) 27
Natural gas - exports 31,990,000,000 (cu m) 13
Natural gas - imports 2,940,000,000 (cu m) 44
Natural gas - proved reserves 2,350,000,000,000 (cu m) 16
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 181,900,000 (Mt) 30


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 4,243,000 40
Telephones - mobile cellular 36,661,000 30
Internet hosts 422,470 53
Internet users 15,355,000 26


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 117 49
Railways 1,849 (km) 75
Roadways 98,721 (km) 42
Waterways 7,200 (km) 20
Merchant marine 315 31


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 2.03 (% of GDP) 65

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley
Situated in the lush Lenggong Valley, the property includes four archaeological sites in two clusters which span close to 2 million years, one of the longest records of early man in a single locality, and the oldest outside the African continent. It ...
Gunung Mulu National Park
Important both for its high biodiversity and for its karst features, Gunung Mulu National Park, on the island of Borneo in the State of Sarawak, is the most studied tropical karst area in the world. The 52,864-ha park contains seventeen vegetation zo ...
Kinabalu Park
Kinabalu Park, in the State of Sabah on the northern end of the island of Borneo, is dominated by Mount Kinabalu (4,095 m), the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. It has a very wide range of habitats, from rich tropical lowland an ...
Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca
Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specifi ...