Photo: Malaysia
National Day: August, 31. (1957)
National Flag:
 
History:
Malaysia as a unified state did not exist until 1963. Previously, a set of colonies were established by the United Kingdom from the late eighteenth century, and the western half of modern Malaysia was composed of several separate kingdoms. This group of colonies was known as British Malaya until its dissolution in 1946, when it was reorganized as the Federation of Malaya and later recognized as an independent nation in 1957.
Geography:
Malaysia is a country that consists of thirteen states and three federal territories in Southeast Asia with a total area of 329,847 square kilometres. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur. The country is separated into two regions: Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. Malaysia borders Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines.
Climate:
The country is located near the equator and experiences a tropical climate.
Population:
The population stands at over 25 million, in which Malays form the majority of the population.
Language:
The Malay language is the official language. Malay was originally written in Jawi, based on Arabic script, but nowadays, the Roman alphabet (Rumi) is more often used.
Religion:
Malaysia is a multi-religious society and Islam is the official religion. Meanwhile, there are many others who practice Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and traditional Chinese religions.
Politics:
Malaysia is a federal constitutional elective monarchy. The federal head of state of Malaysia is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, commonly referred to as the King of Malaysia. The system of government in Malaysia is closely modeled on that of Westminster parliamentary system.
Malaysia is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and participates in many international organizations such as the United Nations. It is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and a member of the Developing 8 Countries.
Natural Resources:
Malaysia is well-endowed with natural resources in areas such as agriculture, forestry and minerals. In terms of agriculture, Malaysia is one of the top exporters of natural rubber and palm oil, which together with sawn logs and sawn timber, cocoa, pepper, pineapple and tobacco dominate the growth of the sector. Palm oil is also a major generator of foreign exchange.
Economy:
International trade plays a large role in the economy of Malaysia. It was once the largest producer of tin, rubber and palm oil in the world. Manufacturing also has a large influence in the country's economy.
Education:
Education in Malaysia is monitored by the federal government Ministry of Education. There are two major types of government-operated or government-assisted primary schools. They are the national schools which use Malay as the medium of instruction, and the national-type schools which use either Chinese or Tamil as the medium of instruction.
Secondary education lasts for five years. Malaysia's secondary schools are grouped into a few types, namely national schools which include daily schools and religious schools, Chinese independent schools, technical schools, residential schools, Mara Junior Science College and private-funding schools such as religious schools, international schools and private schools.The oldest school in Malaysia is Penang Free School, it is also the oldest school in South East Asia.
Students who wish to enter public universities must complete one and a half more years of secondary schooling in Form Six and sit for the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM), Malaysian Higher School Certificate; equivalent to the British Advanced or 'A' levels.
As for tertiary education, there are public universities such as University of Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. In addition, five international reputable universities have set up their branch campuses in Malaysia since 1998. A branch campus can be seen as an ‘off-shore campus’ of the foreign university, which offers the same courses and awards as the main campus. Both local and international students can acquire these identical foreign qualifications in Malaysia for a cheaper price. The foreign university branch campuses in Malaysia are: Monash University Malaysia Campus, Curtin University of Technology Sarawak Campus, Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus and University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.
In addition to the National Curriculum, Malaysia has many international schools. International schools include: the Australian International School, Malaysia (Australian curriculum), The Alice Smith School (British Curriculum), elc International school (British Curriculum), The Garden International School (British Curriculum), Lodge International School (British Curriculum), The International School of Kuala Lumpur (International Baccalaureate and American Curriculum), The Japanese School of Kuala Lumpur (Japanese Curriculum), The International School of Penang (International Baccalaureate and British Curriculum), Lycée Français de Kuala Lumpur (French Curriculum) amongst others.
Culture:
Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multilingual society. The population as of February 2007 is 26.6 million consisting of 62% Malays, 24% Chinese, 8% Indians, with other minorities and indigenous peoples.
The Malays, who form the largest community, are defined as Muslims in the Constitution of Malaysia. Their native language is Malay (Bahasa Melayu). --the national language of the country.
Malaysian traditional music is heavily influenced by Chinese and Islamic forms. The music is based largely around the gendang (drum), but includes other percussion instruments (some made of shells); the rebab, a bowed string instrument; the serunai, a double-reed oboe-like instrument; flutes, and trumpets. The country has a strong tradition of dance and dance dramas, some of Thai, Indian and Portuguese origin. Other artistic forms include wayang kulit (shadow puppet theatre), silat (a stylised martial art) and crafts such as batik, weaving, including the ceremonial cloth pua kumbu, and silver and brasswork..
Holidays:
The most celebrated holiday is the "Hari Merdeka" (Independence Day) on August 31 commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya in 1957. People in Malaysia also celebrate Labour Day (May 1), the King's Birthday (first Saturday of June), Hari Raya Puasa (also called Hari Raya Aidilfitri), Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year), Maulidul Rasul (Birthday of the Prophet), Chinese New Year, the Qingming Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, Vesak and Diwali. Other festivals such as Good Friday (East Malaysia only), Christmas, Hari Gawai of the Ibans (Dayaks), Pesta Menuai (Pesta Kaamatan) of the Kadazan-Dusuns are also celebrated in Malaysia.
Despite most of the festivals being identified with a particular ethnic or religious group, all Malaysians celebrate the festivities together, regardless of their background.
 
Map of Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo)
Map of Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo)
Masjid Ubudiah is a well-known historical mosque in Kuala Kangsar.
Masjid Ubudiah is a well-known historical mosque in Kuala Kangsar.
Christ Church in Malacca Town was constructed in the 18th century by the Dutch.
Christ Church in Malacca Town was constructed in the 18th century by the Dutch.
Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) is one of the earliest boarding schools to be established in British Malaya.
Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) is one of the earliest boarding schools to be established in British Malaya.
University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus.
University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus.
Rubber latex.
Rubber latex.
The Kuala Lumpur Tower enhances communication quality within Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley.
The Kuala Lumpur Tower enhances communication quality within Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley.