The federation of Malaysia comprises of Peninsular Malaysia (which is made up of 11 states), the large states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo island and three Federal Territories namely Kuala Lumpur the capital , Putrajaya the federal administrative city and Labuan offshore financial centre.
329,758 sq km
Kuala Lumpur is the capital where the Parliament and the King’s palace are, while Putrajaya is the federal administrative centre.
Lying 2 to 7degrees north of the Equator, Peninsular Malaysia is separated from Sabah and Sarawak by Laut Bunguran or the South China Sea. The Peninsular is bordered with Thailand in the north, while its southern neighbour is Singapore. The states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo Island share a common border with Indonesia whle Sarawak also shares a border with Brunei Darusalam.
Malay and related Bumiputra groups make up about 65% of the population, with Chinese, Indian and other ethnic groups making up the rest.
Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language) is the national language but English is widely spoken. Malaysians also speak various ethnic languages and dialects.
Islam is the official religion but all major religions are practices freely and visitors will see mosques, churches and Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu or Sikh temples all over the country.
Malaysia practices parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The Head of State is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (the King or ‘Agong’ for short) and the Head of Government is the Prime Minister. The country has a bicameral legislative system, with general and state elections required every five years.
Malaysia has a tropical climate and the weather is warm and humid all year round. Daily temperature range is from 21°C in early morning to 32°C or more in urban area afternoons. The average annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm.
Visitors must be in possession of a valid passport or acknowledged travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended stay period. Citizens of more countries do not require visas for social or business meeting visits. For further information, please call or visit the nearest Malaysian diplomatic mission or Tourism Malaysia office.
The monetary currency unit is Malaysian Ringgit, which is domestically denoted as RM and in international banking as MYR. Foreign currencies can be freely changed at banks and money changers.
Standard Malaysia time is eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time.
Government and most offices in all states with the exception of Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu operate on a five-day week from Monday to Friday. Government offices in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu are open from Sunday to Thursday. They are closed on Fridays and Saturdays.
In most states, banking hours are from 9:30am to 4:00pm from Monday to Friday. Banks in the states of Kelantan and Terengganu operate from 9:30am to 4:00pm from Saturday to Thursday.
Most post offices are open from 8:00am to 5:00pm daily except on state weekends and public holidays.
The voltage used throughout Malaysia is 220-240 volts AC. at 50 cycles per second. Standard 3-pin sockets and square plugs are used.
Malaysia uses the international metric system.
Malaysia is openly linked nationally and internationally by telephone, fascimile, telegraph and via the internet. Most hoels provide International Direct Dial (IDD) telephone services as well as Internet Wi-Fi connection.
Getting to Malaysia
The most popular gateway to Malaysia is through the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang, located just over 50km south of Kuala Lumpur. Other major international airports that serve as entry points are at Penang, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and the island of Langkawi as well as a smaller airport at Subang near Kuala Lumpur. Around 50 international airlines fly into the country. The national carrier, Malaysia Airlines is complemented by budget airlines or other operations such as AirAsia, Malindo Air and Firefly.
The main entry point by sea is at Port Klang about 30km west of Kuala Lumpur, especially for cruise ships with other ports of call in Penang and Langkawi islands.
Peninsular Malaysia is also accessible by rail and road from Thailand and Singapore respectively.
Malaysia excellent domestic air links services by Malaysia Airlines and low-cost carriers such as AirAsia, Malindo Air and Firefly. The country has a relatively well-developed and efficient public transportation system served by buses and taxis, as well as trains on the Peninsular. E-hailing vehicle services are also available.
Malaysia has a wide range of accommodation at very competitive rates. International star-rated hotels, beach or forest resorts, chalets, budget hotels, hostels, services apartments and registered homestays or kampungstays are just some of the many accommodations available. Online booking is popular.