Malaysia

 

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 formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo joined the Federation. The first several years of the country’s history were marred by a Communist insurgency, Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore’s secession from the Federation 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 expansion in manufacturing, services, and tourism.

 

Geography:
location: South-eastern Asia, peninsula bordering Thailand and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia, Brunei, and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates: 2 30 N, 112 30 E
People:
Population: 29,179,952 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 29.6% (male 4,374,495/female 4,132,009)

15-64 years: 65.4% (male 9,539,972/female 9,253,574)

65 years and over: 5% (male 672,581/female 755,976) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Malaysia

local long form: none

local short form: Malaysia

former: Federation of Malaya

Government type: constitutional monarchy

note: nominally headed by paramount ruler and a bicameral Parliament consisting of a nonelected upper house and an elected lower house; all Peninsular Malaysian states have hereditary rulers except Melaka and Pulau Pinang (Penang); those two states along with Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia have governors appointed by government; powers of state governments are limited by federal constitution; under terms of federation, Sabah and Sarawak retain certain constitutional prerogatives (e.g., right to maintain their own immigration controls); Sabah holds 25 seats in House of Representatives; Sarawak has 31 seats

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use:  4.573 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 34.456 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 117 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 39

over 3,047 m: 8

2,438 to 3,047 m: 9

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 8

under 914 m: 8 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Malaysian Armed Forces (AngkatanTentera Malaysia, ATM): Malaysian Army (TenteraDarat Malaysia), Royal Malaysian Navy (TenteraLautDiraja Malaysia, TLDM), Royal Malaysian Air Force (TenteraUdaraDiraja Malaysia, TUDM) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2005)

Economy:

Malaysia, a middle-income country, has transformed itself since the 1970s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy. Since coming to office in 2003, Prime Minister ABDULLAH has tried to move the economy farther up the value-added production chain by attracting investments in high technology industries, medical technology, and pharmaceuticals. The Government of Malaysia is continuing efforts to boost domestic demand to wean the economy off of its dependence on exports. Nevertheless, exports – particularly of electronics – remain a significant driver of the economy. As an oil and gas exporter, Malaysia has profited from higher world energy prices, although the rising cost of domestic gasoline and diesel fuel forced Kuala Lumpur to reduce government subsidies. Malaysia “unpegged” the ringgit from the US dollar in 2005 and the currency appreciated 6% per year against the dollar in 2006-07.

Transnational Issues:

Malaysia has asserted sovereignty over the Spratly Islands together with China, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei; while the 2002 “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea” has eased tensions over the Spratly Islands, it is not the legally binding “code of conduct” sought by some parties; Malaysia was not party to the March 2005 joint accord among the national oil companies of China, the Philippines, and Vietnam on conducting marine seismic activities in the Spratly Islands; disputes continue over deliveries of fresh water to Singapore, Singapore’s land reclamation, bridge construction, and maritime boundaries in the Johor and Singapore Straits; in November 2007, the ICJ will hold public hearings in response to the Memorials and Counter memorials filed by the parties in 2003 and 2005 over sovereignty of PedraBranca Island/PulauBatuPuteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge; ICJ awarded Ligitan and Sipadan islands, also claimed by Indonesia and Philippines, to Malaysia but left maritime boundary and sovereignty of Unarang rock in the hydrocarbon-rich Celebes Sea in dispute; separatist violence in Thailand’s predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompts measures to close and monitor border with Malaysia to stem terrorist activities; Philippines retains a dormant claim to Malaysia’s Sabah State in northern Borneo; Brunei and Malaysia are still considering international adjudication over their disputed offshore and deepwaterseabeds, where hydrocarbon exploration was terminated in 2003; Malaysia’s land boundary with Brunei around Limbang is in dispute; piracy remains a problem in the Malacca Strait.