Malaysia is a state in Southeast Asia. West Malaysia covers the southern part of the Malay Peninsula, East Malaysia consists of the states of Sarawak and Sabah, which occupy the north of the island of Borneo. Around 60% of the area of ​​Malaysia is mountainous, extensive swamp and river plains cover large parts of the country. Malaysia is located in the tropical climate area. It is determined by warm, humid air masses all year round. The winter northeast monsoon affects the northeast of the Malay Peninsula in particular. The amount of precipitation in the mountains reaches values ​​of 6000 mm per year. Tropical rainforest covers around 60% of the country’s area.

The population consists of around 60% Malays, while the Chinese are the largest minority in the country with 30%. Around 80% of the population of Malaysia lives in the western part of the country on almost 40% of the national territory. Malaysia is one of the fastest developing countries in Asia. It is counted among the tiger states, ie the emerging countries on the way to industrialized countries. Around 35% of the agricultural area is mainly used to grow rubber, palm oil and pepper for export, as well as coconut palms, cocoa and pineapple. The own requirement for food has to be covered by importing rice. Important mineral resources are tin ore, oil and natural gas. Tourism is gaining in importance.

Malaysia 2

Short for MY on ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG, the state of Malaysia consists of the two parts West Malaysia and East Malaysia. The South China Sea divides them into two parts that are more than 600 km apart.

West Malaysia (Malacca) comprises the southern part of the Malay Peninsula with the offshore islands. It borders Thailand in the north and Singapore in the south. East Malaysia consists of the states of Sarawak and Sabah, which occupy the north of the island of Borneo (Kalimantan). It shares borders with Indonesia and Brunei. Malaysia is a little smaller than Germany. The capital is Kuala Lumpur. It is located on the Malay Peninsula (Fig. 1).

Important data about the country

Surface: 329 758 km²
Residents: 24.9 million
Population density: 76 residents / km²
Growth of population: 1.9% / year
Life expectancy: 73 years
State capital: Kuala Lumpur
Form of government: Elective monarchy
Languages: Malay, numerous Austronesian languages, Asli languages, Chinese, Tamil and languages ​​of India and Pakistan, English
Religions: Sunnis (53%), Buddhists (17%), Chinese religions (12%)
Climate: tropical climate
Land use: Arable land 13.2%, pasture land 0%, forest 66%
Economic sectors:
(share of employees)
Agriculture 15.2%, industry 37%, services 47.8%
Export goods: Electrical products, electr. Machines, mineral products, palm oil, wood, textiles, rubber products
Gross domestic product: US $ 103,737 million (2003)
Gross National Product: US $ 3,880 / residents (2003)

Surface shape

About 60% of the country’s area is mountainous. West Malaysia is traversed from north to south by a foothill of the rear Indian mountains. The highest mountain is the Talan at 2190 m. The mountains merge to the west and east into extensive hilly lands, which are followed by largely marshy coastal plains.

In Sarawak, East Malaysia is characterized by plateaus overlooked by individual mountains. The highest mountain in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, the Kinabalu, is in Sabah at 4101 m. The coasts are shaped by swampy alluvial landscapes.


The longest rivers in Malaysia are the Rajang with a length of 560 km in Sarawak and the Pahang in West Malaysia. Numerous rivers originate in the mountains of Malaysia and flow into the sea in wide deltas.

Climate and vegetation

Malaysia has a tropical climate. The climate is always humid and the average temperature is 27 °C. In the mountains the temperatures are more moderate.

The annual rainfall reaches values ​​of 6000 mm in the mountains and between 2500 mm and 3000 mm in the lowlands. The northeast of the country is influenced by the monsoon winds. In winter, at the time of the northwest monsoon, it is relatively dry. Otherwise the humidity is extremely high everywhere in the country. It fluctuates between 98% in the morning hours and around 67% in the early afternoon (Fig. 3).

About 60% of the country’s area is forested. Tropical rainforest prevails. Above 800 m it turns into mountain rainforest and finally into cloud forest. This extends to heights of up to 3500 m. Mangroves stretch out along the coast. The forests of Malaysia are among the oldest and, with around 2500 tree species, one of the most species-rich plant communities in the world. The forest stock has declined by more than 20% since 1970 due to the extraction of precious wood and slash-and- burn agriculture, especially in Borneo.



Malaysia has developed into a major economic power in Asia over the past few decades. Despite the Asian crisis of 1997/98, it is one of the fastest developing countries in Asia and is counted among the tiger states. These are Asian emerging countries that have made the leap from agrarian to industrialized countries. As early as 1987, the manufacturing industry, ahead of agriculture and mining, became the most important industry in Malaysia. Electronics, chemistry, wood and construction industries as well as vehicle construction are the most important branches of the processing industry.

The main industrial base is the area around Kuala Lumpur and George Town on Pinang. The government consistently promotes the nationwide establishment of industrial zones. The willingness to settle in the private sector was promoted by creating favorable economic conditions. Malaysia has the best road network in Southeast Asia alongside Singapore.

The steel mill in Prai is one of the largest industrial companies. With the help of foreign participation such as For example, Japan’s automobile manufacturing industry should be supported in order to be able to produce export-oriented.


Only about 15% of the area of ​​Malaysia can be used for agriculture. 35% of the cultivated area is plantations. Malaysia occupies a leading position among the global suppliers with the production of rubber, palm oil and pepper. In addition, tea, coffee, pineapple and coconut palms are important cultivation products of the export-oriented plantations. The domestic demand for food cannot be met in the country, rice must be imported.

The logging of logs for processing purposes has multiplied in recent years. In order to protect the rainforest areas, the government has severely restricted or completely banned the export of precious woods.

Natural resources

The most important mineral resources are tin ore as well as natural gas and oil deposits on Borneo and in the offshore area. The country has large reserves of bauxite, copper and iron ores. The main trading partners for petroleum, electrical products, wood, rubber, palm oil, tin and natural gas are Japan, Singapore and the USA. Tourism is becoming increasingly important.


Western Malaysia is well served by road and rail. River navigation is of great importance on Borneo. Malaysia has a number of important ocean ports and several international airports.


Stone Age: early settlement of Malacca and Borneo

in the 2nd and 3rd centuries: wave of Indian immigration. Establishment of Indian kingdoms

until 1403: pre-Islamic period

1414–1515: Sultanate of Malacca

Middle of the 15th century: Portuguese sailors arrive in Malacca. Center of the spice trade between Asia and Europe

17th century: Conquest by the Netherlands

1786: The British open their first base on the island of Pinang. Conflict of interest between the Netherlands and Great Britain

1824: British rule by treaty of 1824. Crown colony

1906: Great Britain merges the possessions on Borneo and the areas on the Malacca peninsula to form the Federation of Malaya

1946: Establishment of the Malay Union

1948: Conversion into the Federation of the Malay Confederation. It includes the nine sultanates as well as Pinang and Malacca

1957: Independence of the Malay Confederation

1964: Singapore leaves the federal government. The head of state in the Independent State of Malaysia is a king who is elected by hereditary princes for five years.