macrohistory & world report


Map of Malaysia

Malaysia (capital Kuala Lumpur), neighboring Thailand and to the east, in northern Borneo

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Malaysia, a middle-income country, has transformed itself since the 1970s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy. Under current Prime Minister Najib, Malaysia is attempting to achieve high-income status by 2020 and to move farther up the value-added production chain by attracting investments in Islamic finance, high technology industries, biotechnology, and services... The government has also taken steps to liberalize some services sub-sectors. The Najib administration also is continuing efforts to boost domestic demand and reduce the economy's dependence on exports. Nevertheless, exports – particularly of electronics, oil and gas, palm oil and rubber – remain a significant driver of the economy."

Economic growth rate
2013: 4.7%
2012: 5.6%
2011: 5.1%

2013; 3.1%
2012: 3.0%

Public debt
2011: 53.5
2010: 53.1%

2011: Exports in cash value are 126.6% of imports..

2013: Corruption has been anked as one of the most corrupt nations, a country "likely to take shortcuts to meet targets when economic times are tough," according to a 2013 survey by Ernst & Young. Malaysia has been described as having high levels of bribery.

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 33rd among 141 countries (lower rank number is less equal), with an index score of 46.2

Education expenditures
Ranks 97th among 163 nations

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2005: 2.03%


Population estimate
July 2014: 30,073,353

Population growth rate
2014: 1.47%

Births / deaths per 1,000 population
2014: 20.06 / 5.0

Infant mortality per 1,000 live births
2014: 13.69 deaths

Life expectancy at birth
2014: 74.52 years

Living in an urban area
2010: 72%
2008: 70%

Density for 2005: 73 persons per square kilometer.

Ethnic groups
2004: Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%, others 7.8%

2000 census: Muslim 60.4%, Buddhist 19.2%, Christian 9.1%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 2.6%, other or unknown 1.5%, none 0.8%


Southeastern Asia, bordering Thailand and Indonesia, plus one-third of the island of Borneo. Size equivalent to 574 by 574 kilometers or roughly 360 by 360 miles.


Constitutional monarchy, a sultan as the chief of state, a bicameral legislature: upper house with 70 seats, 44 appointed by monarch, 26 appointed by state legislatures; lower house 219 seats with members elected by popular vote to five-year terms.

Muslims are under Sharia laws that do not apply to non-Muslims – laws on adultery, for example.

Capital: Kuala Lumpur

Recent History

Nov 7, 2014, BBC News: A Court of Appeal declares a Sharia law criminalising cross-dressing as inconsistent with Malaysia's Federal Constitution. The court sressed that while the state is empowered to enact laws involving matters of Islam, it must not contravene the Federal Constitution that is the supreme law of the land..

Independence from Britain in 1957.

2005: "Piracy remains a problem in the Malacca Strait.

March 2005: Freedom of the press is threatened as a reporter, Fasli Ahmad, 31, for a privately owned broadcaster is question by police for a story that exposed environmental issues in the northern state of Kedah. (From the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, March 2005)

February 2010: In Malaysia, the majority ethnic group, the Malays, are subject to Islamic law, and other ethnic groups are not. The Malays are about 50 percent of the population. What happens to an offspring of a mixed Malay and another ethnicity is to this website unknown. Or what if the one of the three Malay women caned under Islamic law had claimed that they were not Muslim? Perhaps their punishment would have been harsher.

2011: Francis Fukuyama describes Malaysia's government as enjoying popular support, although it is not a liberal democracy, because of the country's economic growth in recent years.

The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.