The Federation of Malaysia comprises Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Total area = 329,758 sq km. Population = 26 million Capital is Kuala Lumpur
Located between 2º and 7º north of the Equator, Peninsula Malaysia is separated from the states of Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. To the north of Peninsula Malaysia is Thailand while its southern neighbour is Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak are north of Indonesia in Borneo while Sarawak also shares a border with Brunei.
Malays who make up about 57% of the population are the predominant group with Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups making up the rest.
Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the national language but English is widely spoken. The ethnic groups also speak various languages and dialects.
The unit of currency is Malaysian Ringgit indicated as RM. USD1 is roughly equivalent to RM3.18. Foreign currency can be converted at banks and money changers.
Islam is the official religion but all other religions are freely practised.
Most states: Mon - Fri: 9.30am to 4.30pm. Sat & Sun: Closed (Selected banks and branches are open on Sat). Kelantan & Terengganu: Sun - Wed :9.30am to 4.30pm. Thurs :9.30am to 4.00pm. Friday/Saturday*/Public Holiday: Closed
Open from 8.30am to 6.00pm daily except the first Saturday of each month, Sundays and public holidays.
In Kelantan and Terengganu post offices operate during the same hours but are closed on Fridays and public holidays.
Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.
Voltage is 220 - 240 volts AC at 50 cycles per second.
Standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets.
Weights and Measures
Malaysia follows the metric system in weights and measures.
Local calls can be made from public phones using coins or pre-paid cards. International calls can be made from public phones with card phone facilities or at any Telekom office.
Most international airlines fly to Kuala Lumpur but some also call at Penang, Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. Kuala Lumpur International airport (KLIA) is about 1 hours drive into the city. You can travel by road or by the KLIA express. Malaysia Airlines & Airasia operates numerous national services providing east connections to destinations throughout the country. Peninsular Malaysia can be entered by road or rail from Singapore and Thailand. Driving is on the left.
Medical services are available in all towns at government run hospitals and private clinics. Non prescription drugs are available at pharmacies as well as supermarkets, hotels and shopping centres.
It is unnecessary in hotels and restaurants where there is already a 10% service charge, unless the services rendered is exceptionally good. If you are on a tour or a transfer, tipping is an expression of satisfaction
and is a welcome gratuity for the person(s) who have assisted you throughout.
Economics & Politics
Malaysia is governed by a Parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislative system. The Head of State is the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, a position that is awarded to a different State Monarch every five years and the Head of Government is the Prime Minister.
Manufacturing constitutes the largest single component of Malaysia's economy. Tourism and primary commodities such as petroleum, palm oil, natural rubber and timber are other major contributors to the economy.
Tropical climate with warm weather all year round. Temperatures in the lowlands range from 21ºC (70ºF) to 32ºC (90ºF). The highlands are cooler, where temperatures range between 15°C (59° F) to 25°C (77°F).
The main rainy season in the east (November to February) while August is the wettest period on the west coast. East Malaysia has heavy rains (November to February) in Sabah and in Sarawak.
Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm. See www.met.gov.my