Malaysia Malaysia Like many other countries, Malaysia has much history. The country’s ancestors came to Malaysian area between 2500 and 1500 B.C. The earliest inhabitants are the Orang Asli of the Peninsula, Penan of Sarawak and the Rungus of Sabah. These people did and still live as nomads. The ancestors migrated from China and India. The next group of people to arrive to the country were the Malays. Many of these people were traders who later settled in Malaysia.

Along with the immigrants, the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam also settled into the inhabitants. As years past, Europeans, including the Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, and British, conquered Malaysia, which ended up with Malaysia having its present-day states. The United Kingdom finally took control of Malaysia, colonizing it. Finally, on September 16, 1963, Malaysia became independent as a federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawalk. Later on, Singapore left the federation, becoming a separate nation.

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Malaysia has unique physical features. The Malaysia’s area is 320,758 sq. km (127,320 sq. miles) and its land area is 328,550 sq. km; it is a little bit larger than New Mexico.

About four-fifths of Malaysia are covered by tropical rain forest. Malaysia’s highest peak is the Gunung Tahan, standing 2,187 meters tall (7,175ft) in Peninsular Malaysia. This peak is in one of Malaysia’s most mountainous regions. The configuration of the country’s land and heavy rainfall formed its many rivers. The longest rivers in Malaya are the Sungai Pahang and the Sungai Perak.

The rivers of Sarawak and Sabah are longer than the ones in Malaya or Peninsula. The Rajang of Sarawak is the longest. Malaysia’s Crocker Range lies in Sabah, having an average of 457 to 914 meters, dividing the lowland of the northwest coast from West Malaysia’s interior. This mountain range ends on Malaysia’s and Southeast Asia’s highest mountain, Gunung Kinabalu (4,101 m). Sarawak’s highest peak is the Gunung Murud. Climate here is tropical.

This country has monsoons in the northeast (October to February) and southwest (April to October), which controls its climate. The average temperature throughout the year is 26 degrees Celsius, usually high since Malaysia lies in the equatorial zone. The basis of the country’s economy was first based on its natural resources: tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, and bauxite. Malaysia’s economy industry includes its natural resources, along with electronics, textiles, and transportation equipment. The country’s export crops include rubber, palm oil, timber, cocoa, and its food crops are rice, cassava, fish, corn, and sweet potatoes.

Malaysia makes $72 billion out of its exports, and $72.2 billion from imports. Its partners in exports are Singapore (21%), USA (20%), Japan (12%), UK (4%), and Germany (3%). Its partners in imports are Japan (26%), USA (17%), Singapore (14%), Taiwan (5%), Germany (4%), UK (3%), and South Korea (3%). The Malaysian population is made up of the Malay and other natives (59%), Chinese (32%), and Indians (9%). The population of Malaysia is an estimate of 21,793,293 and has a population density of 170. The ethnic diversity governs the languages that are spoken in Malaysia and what its religions are. In Peninsular Malaysia, Malay, English, Tamil, and Chinese dialects are spoken. In Sabah, English, Malay, many tribal dialects, and Chinese (Mandarin and Hakka dialects) are spoken.

English, Malay, Mandarin, and numerous tribal languages are spoken in Sarawak. Bahasa Melayu is the National Language, but is used only for official purposes. The Peninsular Malaysia’s religions consist of Muslim (Malays), Buddhist (Chinese), and Hindu (Indians) beliefs. Sabah’s religions include Muslim (38%), Christian (17%), and other religions (45%). Tribal religion (35%), Buddhist and Confucianist (24%), Muslim (20%), Christian (16%), and other religions (5%) make up Sarawak’s religions. The type of government is constitutional monarchy and is headed by the paramount ruler (king) and a bicameral Parliament. The Malaysian culture is different from others. Malaysian holds religious festivals.

There are the Islamic Festivals, which are the Hari Raya Haji and Hari Taya Puasa. For the Chinese, there is Chinese New Year. A Buddhist festival is a holiday celebrating the birth of Buddha and is known as Wesak Day. The Hindu festivals are Deepavali, Thaipusam, and Thai Ponggal. The Christian Festival is Christmas.

One last festival, the Sikh, include the birthday of Guru Nanak (the religions founder) and Vasakhi (Sikh New Year). The customs of the Malaysians differ, due to the ethnic diversity. However, there are main differences in each custom. Malays dress clothes consist of a loose shirt and a pair of long trousers. A sarong is wrapped around the waist and hangs halfway over the trousers. Headdress is a black songkok.

Malay women wear loose fitting blouses and a sarong. Staple food for Malays is rice with meat, fish, and vegetables. The Chinese Malaysians do not really have dress clothes; some women do wear the Samfoo (jacket and trousers combination). Staple food for the Chinese is rice with sides. Main type of Chinese food is Cantonese, Hokkiean, and Szechuan.

Indians traditional wear is still common among the people, with the women wearing the Sarim (layer clothing material, draped around the body). The Indian’s foods are hot and spicy. Staple diet is rice of bread that is eaten with curries. The Hindus do not eat beef though. Christianity in Malaysia exists.

However, it is not the main religion among the inhabitants. One could say that Christianity’s existence in the country should grow. Missionaries may be needed in Malaysia, specifically in the Peninsular. One could say that Christianity was brought to Malaysia from the Europeans that came to the land. Christianity could be spread more throughout Malaysia.

Bibliography Malaysia. [Online] Available, May 20, 2000. Map Machine: Atlas @ [Online] Available ps/atlas/asia/malays.html Malaysia Travel. [Online] Available Geography.