Country Summary

2023 population pyramid



The British secured and colonized the area that is now Malaysia during the late 18th and 19th centuries. 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. Singapore was expelled in 1965.



total: 329,847 sq km
land: 328,657 sq km
water: 1,190 sq km


tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons

Natural resources

tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite

People and Society


total: 34,564,810
male: 17,666,212
female: 16,898,598 (2024 est.)

Ethnic groups

Bumiputera 63.8% (Malay 52.8% and indigenous peoples, including Orang Asli, Dayak, Anak Negeri, 11%), Chinese 20.6%, Indian 6%, other 0.6%, non-citizens 9% (2023 est.)


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


Muslim (official) 63.5%, Buddhist 18.7%, Christian 9.1%, Hindu 6.1%, other (Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions) 0.9%, none/unspecified 1.8% (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

0.99% (2024 est.)


Government type

federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy


name: Kuala Lumpur; note - nearby Putrajaya is referred to as a federal government administrative center but not the capital; Parliament meets in Kuala Lumpur

Executive branch

chief of state: King Sultan IBRAHIM ibni al-Marhum Sultan Iskandar (since 31 January 2024); 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 ANWAR Ibrahim (since 25 November 2022)

Legislative branch

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) (2016)


Economic overview

upper middle-income Southeast Asian economy; implementing key anticorruption policies; major electronics, oil, and chemicals exporter; trade sector employs over 40% of jobs; key economic equity initiative; high labor productivity

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$963.29 billion (2022 est.)
$886.596 billion (2021 est.)
$858.293 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$28,400 (2022 est.)
$26,400 (2021 est.)
$25,900 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

oil palm fruit, rice, chicken, eggs, coconuts, tropical fruits, vegetables, rubber, bananas, pineapples (2022)


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


$312.857 billion (2022 est.)
$263.836 billion (2021 est.)
$208.217 billion (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

Singapore 14%, China 13%, US 12%, Japan 6%, Hong Kong 6% (2022)

Exports - commodities

integrated circuits, refined petroleum, natural gas, palm oil, crude petroleum (2022)


$283.601 billion (2022 est.)
$236.855 billion (2021 est.)
$186.613 billion (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

China 28%, Singapore 12%, US 6%, Taiwan 6%, Japan 5% (2022)

Imports - commodities

integrated circuits, refined petroleum, crude petroleum, coal, vehicle parts/accessories (2022)

Exchange rates

ringgits (MYR) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
4.401 (2022 est.)
4.143 (2021 est.)
4.203 (2020 est.)
4.142 (2019 est.)
4.035 (2018 est.)

Page last updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2024