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East Asia/Southeast Asia :: Malaysia Print
Page last updated on November 24, 2020
  • Introduction :: Malaysia
  • Background field listing

    The adoption of Islam in the 14th century saw the rise of a number of powerful sultanates on the Malay Peninsula and island of Borneo. The Portuguese in the 16th century and the Dutch in the 17th century were the first European colonial powers to establish themselves on the Malay Peninsula and Southeast Asia. However, it was the British who ultimately secured their hegemony across the territory and during the late 18th and 19th centuries established colonies and protectorates in the area that is now Malaysia. These holdings were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula except Singapore formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore, as well as Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo, joined the Federation. The first several years of the country's independence were marred by a communist insurgency, Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's withdrawal in 1965. During the 22-year term of Prime Minister MAHATHIR Mohamad (1981-2003), Malaysia was successful in diversifying its economy from dependence on exports of raw materials to the development of manufacturing, services, and tourism. Prime Minister MAHATHIR and a newly-formed coalition of opposition parties defeated Prime Minister Mohamed NAJIB bin Abdul Razak's United Malays National Organization (UMNO) in May 2018, ending over 60 years of uninterrupted rule by UMNO. MAHATHIR resigned in February 2020 amid a political dispute. King ABDULLAH then selected Tan Sri MUHYIDDIN Yassin as the new prime minister.

  • Geography :: Malaysia
  • Location field listing
    Southeastern 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 field listing
    2 30 N, 112 30 E
    Map references field listing
    Southeast Asia
    Area field listing
    total: 329,847 sq km
    land: 328,657 sq km
    water: 1,190 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 68
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly larger than New Mexico
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 2,742 km
    border countries (3): Brunei 266 km, Indonesia 1881 km, Thailand 595 km
    Coastline field listing
    4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km)
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation; specified boundary in the South China Sea
    Climate field listing
    tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons
    Terrain field listing
    coastal plains rising to hills and mountains
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 419 m
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Gunung Kinabalu 4,095 m
    Natural resources field listing
    tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 23.2% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 2.9% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 19.4% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0.9% (2011 est.)
    forest: 62% (2011 est.)
    other: 14.8% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    3,800 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    a highly uneven distribution with over 80% of the population residing on the Malay Peninsula
    Natural hazards field listing
    flooding; landslides; forest fires
    Environment - current issues field listing
    air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires; endangered species; coastal reclamation damaging mangroves and turtle nesting sites
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note field listing
    strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea
  • People and Society :: Malaysia
  • Population field listing
    32,652,083 (July 2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Malaysian(s)
    adjective: Malaysian
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Bumiputera 62% (Malays and indigenous peoples, including Orang Asli, Dayak, Anak Negeri), Chinese 20.6%, Indian 6.2%, other 0.9%, non-citizens 10.3% (2017 est.)
    Languages field listing
    Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai

    note: Malaysia has 134 living languages - 112 indigenous languages and 22 non-indigenous languages; in East Malaysia, there are several indigenous languages; the most widely spoken are Iban and Kadazan

    Religions field listing
    Muslim (official) 61.3%, Buddhist 19.8%, Christian 9.2%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 1.3%, other 0.4%, none 0.8%, unspecified 1% (2010 est.)
    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 26.8% (male 4,504,562/female 4,246,681)
    15-24 years: 16.63% (male 2,760,244/female 2,670,186)
    25-54 years: 40.86% (male 6,737,826/female 6,604,776)
    55-64 years: 8.81% (male 1,458,038/female 1,418,280)
    65 years and over: 6.9% (male 1,066,627/female 1,184,863) (2020 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 44.2
    youth dependency ratio: 33.8
    elderly dependency ratio: 10.4
    potential support ratio: 9.7 (2020 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 29.2 years
    male: 28.9 years
    female: 29.6 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    Population growth rate field listing
    1.29% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    Birth rate field listing
    18.3 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    Death rate field listing
    5.3 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    Net migration rate field listing
    -0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    Population distribution field listing
    a highly uneven distribution with over 80% of the population residing on the Malay Peninsula
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 77.2% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: 2.13% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030: PDF
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    7.997 million KUALA LUMPUR (capital), 1.024 million Johor Bahru, 814,000 Ipoh (2020)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate field listing
    29 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 11.4 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 13.2 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 9.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 75.9 years
    male: 73 years
    female: 78.9 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    Total fertility rate field listing
    2.43 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing
    52.2% (2014)
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 100% of population
    rural: 89.3% of population
    total: 96.7% of population
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population
    rural: 11.7% of population
    total: 3.3% of population (2017 est.)
    Current Health Expenditure field listing
    3.9% (2017)
    Physicians density field listing
    1.54 physicians/1,000 population (2015)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    1.9 beds/1,000 population (2017)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 100% of population
    rural: 98.7% of population
    total: 100% of population
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population
    rural: 1.3% of population
    total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    0.4% (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    88,000 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    2,700 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    Major infectious diseases field listing
    degree of risk: intermediate (2020)
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever
    water contact diseases: leptospirosis
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    15.6% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
    13.7% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    Education expenditures field listing
    4.7% of GDP (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    Literacy field listing
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 93.7%
    male: 96.3%
    female: 91.1% (2016)
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
    total: 14 years
    male: 13 years
    female: 14 years (2017)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 10.5%
    male: 9.8%
    female: 11.4% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
  • Government :: Malaysia
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Malaysia
    local long form: none
    local short form: Malaysia
    former: Federation of Malaya
    etymology: the name means "Land of the Malays"
    Government type field listing
    federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy

    note: all Peninsular Malaysian states have hereditary rulers (commonly referred to as sultans) except Melaka (Malacca) 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 the federal constitution; under terms of federation, Sabah and Sarawak retain certain constitutional prerogatives (e.g., right to maintain their own immigration controls)

    Capital field listing
    name: Kuala Lumpur; note - nearby Putrajaya is referred to as a federal government administrative center but not the capital; Parliament meets in Kuala Lumpur
    geographic coordinates: 3 10 N, 101 42 E
    time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    etymology: the Malay word for "river junction or estuary" is "kuala" and "lumpur" means "mud"; together the words render the meaning of "muddy confluence"
    Administrative divisions field listing
    13 states (negeri-negeri, singular - negeri); Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu; and 1 federal territory (Wilayah Persekutuan) with 3 components, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, and Putrajaya
    Independence field listing
    31 August 1957 (from the UK)
    National holiday field listing
    Independence Day (or Merdeka Day), 31 August (1957) (independence of Malaya); Malaysia Day, 16 September (1963) (formation of Malaysia)
    Constitution field listing
    history: previous 1948; latest drafted 21 February 1957, effective 27 August 1957
    amendments: proposed as a bill by Parliament; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Parliament membership in the bill’s second and third readings; a number of constitutional sections are excluded from amendment or repeal; amended many times, last in 2010
    International law organization participation field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Malaysia
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 10 out 12 years preceding application
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal (2019)
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: King Sultan ABDULLAH Sultan Ahmad Shah (since 24 January 2019); note - King MUHAMMAD V (formerly known as Tuanku Muhammad Faris Petra) (selected on 14 October 2016; installed on 13 December 2016) resigned on 6 January 2019; the position of the king is primarily ceremonial, but he is the final arbiter on the appointment of the prime minister
    head of government: Prime Minister Tan Sri MUHYIDDIN Yassin (since 1 March 2020); note - Prime Minister MAHATHIR resigned on 24 February 2020 but King ABDULLAH asked that he stay on as interim prime minister until Malaysian's King ABDULLAH picked MUHYIDDIN to step in as Prime Minister; note - previous Deputy Prime Minister WAN AZIZAH Wan Ismail (21 May 2018 - 24 February 2020) was the first female in this position (2019)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among members of Parliament with the consent of the king; note - cabinet dissolved 24 February 2020 with Prime Minister MAHATHIR resignation
    elections/appointments: king elected by and from the hereditary rulers of 9 states for a 5-year term; election is on a rotational basis among rulers of the 9 states; election last held on 24 January 2019 (next to be held in 2024); prime minister designated from among members of the House of Representatives; following legislative elections, the leader who commands support of the majority of members in the House becomes prime minister
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: bicameral Parliament of Malaysia or Parlimen Malaysia consists of:
    Senate or Dewan Negara (70 seats; 44 members appointed by the king and 26 indirectly elected by 13 state legislatures; members serve 3-year terms)
    House of Representatives or Dewan Rakyat (222 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms) (2019)
    elections: Senate - appointed
    House of Representatives - last held on 9 May 2018 (next to be held no later than May 2023)
    election results:
    Senate - appointed; composition - men 54, women 14, percent of women 20.6%
    House of Representatives - percent of vote by party/coalition - PH 45.6%, BN 33.8%, PAS 16.9%, WARISAN 2.3%, other 1.4%; seats by party/coalition - PH 113, BN 79, PAS 18, WARISAN 8, USA 1, independent 3; composition - men 199, women 23, percent of women 10.4%; note - total Parliament percent of women 12.8%
    note: as of 16 November 2019, seats by party - PH 129, BN 41, GS 18, GPS 18, WARISAN 9, GBS 3, UPKO 1, PSB 1, independent 1, vacant 1
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Federal Court (consists of the chief justice, president of the Court of Appeal, chief justice of the High Court of Malaya, chief judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak, 8 judges, and 1 "additional" judge); note - Malaysia has a dual judicial hierarchy of civil and religious (sharia) courts
    judge selection and term of office: Federal Court justices appointed by the monarch on advice of the prime minister; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 66 with the possibility of a single 6-month extension
    subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; Sessions Court; Magistrates' Court
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    National Front (Barisan Nasional) or BN:
    Malaysian Chinese Association (Persatuan China Malaysia) or MCA [LIOW Tiong Lai]
    Malaysian Indian Congress (Kongres India Malaysia) or MIC [S. SUBRAMANIAM]
    United Malays National Organization or UMNO [MOHAMAD Hasan, acting]

    (Formerly - Coalition of Hope (Pakatan Harapan) or PH (formerly the People's Alliance, before former PM MAHATHIR resigns 24 February 2020): 
    Democratic Action Party (Parti Tindakan Demokratik) or DAP [TAN Kok Wai]
    Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia) or PPBM [Tan Sri MUHYIDDIN Yassin; note - former PM MAHATHIR steps down 24 Feb 2020]
    National Trust Party (Parti Amanah Negara) or AMANAH [Mohamad SABU]
    People's Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) or PKR [ANWAR Ibrahim]

    New - Fighters of the Nation Party (Parti Pejuang Tanah Air) or Pejuang [former PM MAHATHIR bin Mohamad; interim president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir note - started August 2020] 


    Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Parti Islam se Malaysia) or PAS [Abdul HADI Awang]
    Progressive Democratic Party or PDP [TIONG King Sing]
    Sabah Heritage Party (Parti Warisan Sabah) or WARISAN [SHAFIE Apdal]
    Sarawak Parties Alliance (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) or GPS [ABANG JOHARI Openg] (includes PBB, SUPP, PRS, PDP)
    Sarawak People's Party (Parti Rakyat Sarawak) or PRS [James MASING]
    Sarawak United People's Party (Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sarawak) or SUPP [Dr. SIM Kui Hian]
    United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organization (Pertubuhan Pasko Momogun Kadazan Dusun Bersatu) or UPKO [Wilfred Madius TANGAU]
    United Sabah Alliance or USA (Gabungan Sabah)
    United Sabah Party (Parti Bersatu Sabah) or PBS [Maximus ONGKILI]
    United Sabah People's (Party Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah) or PBRS [Joseph KURUP]
    United Traditional Bumiputera Party (Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersata) or PBB; note - PBB is listed under GPS above
    International organization participation field listing
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Dato' AZMIL Zabidi (since February 2019)
    chancery: 3516 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 572-9700
    FAX: [1] (202) 572-9882
    consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Kamala Shirin LAKHDHIR (since 21 February 2017)
    telephone: [60] (3) 2168-5000
    embassy: 376 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur
    mailing address: US Embassy Kuala Lumpur, APO AP 96535-8152
    FAX: [60] (3) 2142-2207
    Flag description field listing
    14 equal horizontal stripes of red (top) alternating with white (bottom); there is a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a yellow crescent and a yellow 14-pointed star; the flag is often referred to as Jalur Gemilang (Stripes of Glory); the 14 stripes stand for the equal status in the federation of the 13 member states and the federal government; the 14 points on the star represent the unity between these entities; the crescent is a traditional symbol of Islam; blue symbolizes the unity of the Malay people and yellow is the royal color of Malay rulers

    note: the design is based on the flag of the US

    National symbol(s) field listing
    tiger, hibiscus; national colors: gold, black
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Negaraku" (My Country)
    lyrics/music: collective, led by Tunku ABDUL RAHMAN/Pierre Jean DE BERANGER

    note: adopted 1957; full version only performed in the presence of the king; the tune, which was adopted from a popular French melody titled "La Rosalie," was originally the anthem of Perak, one of Malaysia's 13 states

  • Economy :: Malaysia
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Malaysia, an upper middle-income country, has transformed itself since the 1970s from a producer of raw materials into a multi-sector economy. Under current Prime Minister NAJIB, Malaysia is attempting to achieve high-income status by 2020 and to move further up the value-added production chain by attracting investments in high technology, knowledge-based industries and services. NAJIB's Economic Transformation Program is a series of projects and policy measures intended to accelerate the country's economic growth. The government has also taken steps to liberalize some services sub-sectors. Malaysia is vulnerable to a fall in world commodity prices or a general slowdown in global economic activity.

    The NAJIB administration is continuing efforts to boost domestic demand and reduce the economy's dependence on exports. Domestic demand continues to anchor economic growth, supported mainly by private consumption, which accounts for 53% of GDP. Nevertheless, exports - particularly of electronics, oil and gas, and palm oil - remain a significant driver of the economy. In 2015, gross exports of goods and services were equivalent to 73% of GDP. The oil and gas sector supplied about 22% of government revenue in 2015, down significantly from prior years amid a decline in commodity prices and diversification of government revenues. Malaysia has embarked on a fiscal reform program aimed at achieving a balanced budget by 2020, including rationalization of subsidies and the 2015 introduction of a 6% value added tax. Sustained low commodity prices throughout the period not only strained government finances, but also shrunk Malaysia’s current account surplus and weighed heavily on the Malaysian ringgit, which was among the region’s worst performing currencies during 2013-17. The ringgit hit new lows following the US presidential election amid a broader selloff of emerging market assets.

    Bank Negara Malaysia (the central bank) maintains adequate foreign exchange reserves; a well-developed regulatory regime has limited Malaysia's exposure to riskier financial instruments, although it remains vulnerable to volatile global capital flows. In order to increase Malaysia’s competitiveness, Prime Minister NAJIB raised possible revisions to the special economic and social preferences accorded to ethnic Malays under the New Economic Policy of 1970, but retreated in 2013 after he encountered significant opposition from Malay nationalists and other vested interests. In September 2013 NAJIB launched the new Bumiputra Economic Empowerment Program, policies that favor and advance the economic condition of ethnic Malays.

    Malaysia signed the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement in February 2016, although the future of the TPP remains unclear following the US withdrawal from the agreement. Along with nine other ASEAN members, Malaysia established the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, which aims to advance regional economic integration.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $933.3 billion (2017 est.)
    $881.3 billion (2016 est.)
    $845.6 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 26
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $312.4 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    4.31% (2019 est.)
    4.77% (2018 est.)
    5.81% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $29,100 (2017 est.)
    $27,900 (2016 est.)
    $27,100 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 71
    Gross national saving field listing
    28.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
    28.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
    28.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 55.3% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 12.2% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 25.3% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0.3% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 71.4% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -64.4% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 8.8% (2017 est.)
    industry: 37.6% (2017 est.)
    services: 53.6% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    Peninsular Malaysia - palm oil, rubber, cocoa, rice;Sabah - palm oil, subsistence crops; rubber, timber;Sarawak - palm oil, rubber, timber; pepper
    Industries field listing
    Peninsular Malaysia - rubber and oil palm processing and manufacturing, petroleum and natural gas, light manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, medical technology, electronics and semiconductors, timber processing;Sabah - logging, petroleum and natural gas production;Sarawak - agriculture processing, petroleum and natural gas production, logging
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    5% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    Labor force field listing
    15.139 million (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 11%
    industry: 36%
    services: 53% (2012 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    3.3% (2019 est.)
    3.33% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    Population below poverty line field listing
    3.8% (2009 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: 1.8%
    highest 10%: 34.7% (2009 est.)
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 51.25 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 60.63 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    16.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    Public debt field listing
    54.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
    56.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

    note: this figure is based on the amount of federal government debt, RM501.6 billion ($167.2 billion) in 2012; this includes Malaysian Treasury bills and other government securities, as well as loans raised externally and bonds and notes issued overseas; this figure excludes debt issued by non-financial public enterprises and guaranteed by the federal government, which was an additional $47.7 billion in 2012

    country comparison to the world: 86
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    3.8% (2017 est.)
    2.1% (2016 est.)

    note: approximately 30% of goods are price-controlled

    country comparison to the world: 151
    Current account balance field listing
    $12.295 billion (2019 est.)
    $8.027 billion (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    Exports field listing
    $187.9 billion (2017 est.)
    $165.3 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    Exports - partners field listing
    Singapore 15.1%, China 12.6%, US 9.4%, Japan 8.2%, Thailand 5.7%, Hong Kong 4.5% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    semiconductors and electronic equipment, palm oil, petroleum and liquefied natural gas, wood and wood products, palm oil, rubber, textiles, chemicals, solar panels
    Imports field listing
    $160.7 billion (2017 est.)
    $141 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    Imports - commodities field listing
    electronics, machinery, petroleum products, plastics, vehicles, iron and steel products, chemicals
    Imports - partners field listing
    China 19.9%, Singapore 10.8%, US 8.4%, Japan 7.6%, Thailand 5.8%, South Korea 4.5%, Indonesia 4.4% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $102.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $94.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    Debt - external field listing
    $217.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $195.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    Exchange rates field listing
    ringgits (MYR) per US dollar -
    4.343 (2017 est.)
    4.15 (2016 est.)
    4.15 (2015 est.)
    3.91 (2014 est.)
    3.27 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Malaysia
  • Electricity access field listing
    electrification - total population: 100% (2020)
    Electricity - production field listing
    148.3 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    136.9 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    Electricity - exports field listing
    3 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Electricity - imports field listing
    33 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    33 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    78% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    18% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    4% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    Crude oil - production field listing
    647,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    326,200 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    166,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    3.6 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    528,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    704,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    208,400 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    304,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    Natural gas - production field listing
    69.49 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    30.44 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    38.23 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    2.803 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    1.183 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    226.8 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
  • Communications :: Malaysia
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 6,530,410
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 20.26 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 44,997,299
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 139.6 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    Telecommunication systems field listing
    general assessment: one of the most advanced telecom networks in the developing world; strong commitment to developing a technological society; Malaysia is promoting itself as an information tech hub in the Asian region; closing the urban rural divide; 4G and 5G networks with strong competition, mobile dominance over fixed-broadband; roll-out of a national broadband network (2020)
    domestic: fixed-line 20 per 100 and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 140 per 100 persons; domestic satellite system with 2 earth stations (2019)
    international: country code - 60; landing points for BBG, FEA, SAFE, SeaMeWe-3 & 4 & 5, AAE-1, JASUKA, BDM, Dumai-Melaka Cable System, BRCS, ACE, AAG, East-West Submarine Cable System, SEAX-1, SKR1M, APCN-2, APG, BtoBe,  BaSICS, and Labuan-Brunei Submarine and MCT submarine cables providing connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Pacific Ocean); launch of Kacific-1 satellite in 2019 (2019)
    note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable, and satellite - has moderated
    Broadcast media field listing
    state-owned TV broadcaster operates 2 TV networks with relays throughout the country, and the leading private commercial media group operates 4 TV stations with numerous relays throughout the country; satellite TV subscription service is available; state-owned radio broadcaster operates multiple national networks, as well as regional and local stations; many private commercial radio broadcasters and some subscription satellite radio services are available; about 55 radio stations overall (2019)
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 25,829,444
    percent of population: 81.2% (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 2.696 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
  • Transportation :: Malaysia
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 13 (2020)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 270
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 60,481,772 (2018)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,404,410,000 mt-km (2018)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    9M (2016)
    Airports field listing
    114 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 39 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 8 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 8 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 7 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2017)
    under 914 m: 8 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 75 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2013)
    under 914 m: 69 (2013)
    Heliports field listing
    4 (2013)
    Pipelines field listing
    354 km condensate, 6439 km gas, 155 km liquid petroleum gas, 1937 km oil, 43 km oil/gas/water, 114 km refined products, 26 km water (2013)
    Railways field listing
    total: 1,851 km (2014)
    standard gauge: 59 km 1.435-m gauge (59 km electrified) (2014)
    narrow gauge: 1,792 km 1.000-m gauge (339 km electrified) (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Roadways field listing
    total: 144,403 km (excludes local roads) (2010)
    paved: 116,169 km (includes 1,821 km of expressways) (2010)
    unpaved: 28,234 km (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    Waterways field listing
    7,200 km (Peninsular Malaysia 3,200 km; Sabah 1,500 km; Sarawak 2,500 km) (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 1,748
    by type: bulk carrier 15, container ship 22, general cargo 176, oil tanker 140, other 1,395 (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Bintulu, Johor Bahru, George Town (Penang), Port Kelang (Port Klang), Tanjung Pelepas
    container port(s) (TEUs): Port Kelang (Port Klang) (11,978,000), Tanjung Pelepas (8,260,000) (2017)
    LNG terminal(s) (export): Bintulu (Sarawak)
    LNG terminal(s) (import): Sungei Udang
  • Military and Security :: Malaysia
  • Military and security forces field listing
    Malaysian Armed Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, ATM): Malaysian Army (Tentera Darat Malaysia), Royal Malaysian Navy (Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia, TLDM), Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia, TUDM); Ministry of Home Affairs: the Royal Malaysian Police (PRMD, includes the General Operations Force, a paramilitary force with a variety of roles, including patrolling borders, counter-terrorism, maritime security, and counterinsurgency) (2019)
    note: Malaysia created a National Special Operations Force in 2016 for combating terrorism threats; the force is comprised of personnel from the Armed Forces, the Royal Malaysian Police, and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (Malaysian Coast Guard, MMEA)
    Military expenditures field listing
    1% of GDP (2019)
    1% of GDP (2018)
    1.1% of GDP (2017)
    1.4% of GDP (2016)
    1.5% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    Military and security service personnel strengths field listing
    the Malaysian Armed Forces have approximately 115,000 active duty troops (80,000 Army; 18,000 Navy; 17,000 Air Force); approximately 18,000 General Operations Force (2019 est.)
    Military equipment inventories and acquisitions field listing
    the Malaysian Armed Forces field a diverse mix of imported weapons systems; the chief suppliers since 2010 are Germany, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey (2019)
    Military deployments field listing
    820 Lebanon (UNIFIL) (2020)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service (younger with parental consent and proof of age); mandatory retirement age 60; women serve in the Malaysian Armed Forces; no conscription (2017)
    Maritime threats field listing
    the International Maritime Bureau reports that the territorial and offshore waters in the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea remain high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; in the past, commercial vessels have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; hijacked vessels are often disguised and cargo diverted to ports in East Asia; crews have been murdered or cast adrift; 11 attacks were reported in 2018 including eight ships boarded and seven crew taken hostage
  • Terrorism :: Malaysia
  • Terrorist group(s) field listing
    Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS); Jemaah Islamiyah (2019)
    note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T
  • Transnational Issues :: Malaysia
  • Disputes - international field listing

    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, which is currently being negotiated between China and ASEAN; 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 2008, ICJ awarded sovereignty of Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh/Horsburgh Island) to Singapore, and Middle Rocks to Malaysia, but did not rule on maritime regimes, boundaries, or disposition of South Ledge; land and maritime negotiations with Indonesia are ongoing, and disputed areas include the controversial Tanjung Datu and Camar Wulan border area in Borneo and the maritime boundary in the Ambalat oil block in the Celebes Sea; 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; per Letters of Exchange signed in 2009, Malaysia in 2010 ceded two hydrocarbon concession blocks to Brunei in exchange for Brunei's sultan dropping claims to the Limbang corridor, which divides Brunei; piracy remains a problem in the Malacca Strait

    Refugees and internally displaced persons field listing
    refugees (country of origin): 119,230 (Burma) (2019)
    stateless persons: 108,332 (2019); note - Malaysia's stateless population consists of Rohingya refugees from Burma, ethnic Indians, and the children of Filipino and Indonesian illegal migrants; Burma stripped the Rohingya of their nationality in 1982; Filipino and Indonesian children who have not been registered for birth certificates by their parents or who received birth certificates stamped "foreigner" are not eligible to attend government schools; these children are vulnerable to statelessness should they not be able to apply to their parents' country of origin for passports
    Trafficking in persons field listing
    current situation: Malaysia is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking; Malaysia is mainly a destination country for foreign workers who migrate willingly from countries, including Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Nepal, Burma, and other Southeast Asian countries, but subsequently encounter forced labor or debt bondage in agriculture, construction, factories, and domestic service at the hands of employers, employment agents, and labor recruiters; women from Southeast Asia and, to a much lesser extent, Africa, are recruited for legal work in restaurants, hotels, and salons but are forced into prostitution; refugees, including Rohingya adults and children, are not legally permitted to work and are vulnerable to trafficking; a small number of Malaysians are trafficked internally and subjected to sex trafficking abroad
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch list - Malaysia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, amendments to strengthen existing anti-trafficking laws, including enabling victims to move freely and to work and for NGOs to run protective facilities, were drafted by the government and are pending approval from Parliament; authorities more than doubled investigations and prosecutions but convicted only three traffickers for forced labor and none for sex trafficking, a decline from 2013 and a disproportionately small number compared to the scale of the country’s trafficking problem; NGOs provided the majority of victim rehabilitation and counseling services with no financial support from the government (2015)
    Illicit drugs field listing
    drug trafficking prosecuted vigorously, including enforcement of the death penalty; heroin still primary drug of abuse, but synthetic drug demand remains strong; continued ecstasy and methamphetamine producer for domestic users and, to a lesser extent, the regional drug market