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About Malaysia

Malaysia has 13 states, 11 on the Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia) and 2, Sabah and Sarawak, on the island of Borneo (East Malaysia). The capital city is Kuala Lumpur. Putrajaya is the new administrative centre, which is approximately 30 minutes away from the capital. The Malaysian unit of currency is the Ringgit malaysia (RM).

Malaysia has an equatorial climate with general temperatures ranging from 21º to 32º Celcius. The climate is very strongly influenced by the Northeast and the Southwest Monsoon. The mean annual rainfall is approximately 267 cm.

The Malays and the indigenous groups make up approximately 60% of the total population while the Chinese and the Indians make up 30% and 8% respectively. The balance is a melting pot of other races and cultures. The official religion is Islam. However, one can practice one's religion freely. Bahasa Malaysia is the official language but English is widely spoken. Mandarin, Tamil and Punjabi, besides other languages, are also spoken in Malaysia.

FACTS & FIGURES OF MALAYSIA
Country 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 neighbor 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
People 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.
Religion Islam is the official religion but all other religions are freely practiced.
Government 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 15ºC (59º F) to 25ºC (77ºF). 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
Economic Profile 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.
Currency 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.
Banking Hours 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
Post Offices 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.
Time Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.
Telephones 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.
Accommodation 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.