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Malaysia, See : Flags, Maps

Malaysia (East & Southeast Asia)

Introduction ::Malaysia


During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia; these were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo joined the Federation. The first several years of the country's history were marred by a Communist insurgency, Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's secession from the Federation in 1965. During the 22-year term of Prime Minister MAHATHIR bin Mohamad (1981-2003), Malaysia was successful in diversifying its economy from dependence on exports of raw materials to expansion in manufacturing, services, and tourism.

Geography ::Malaysia


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:
2 30 N, 112 30 E

Map references:

Southeast Asia


total: 329,847 sq km country comparison to the world: 66 land: 328,657 sq km

water: 1,190 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries:

total: 2,669 km

border countries: Brunei 381 km, Indonesia 1,782 km, Thailand 506 km


4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km)

Maritime claims:

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


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


coastal plains rising to hills and mountains

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

highest point: Gunung Kinabalu 4,100 m

Natural resources:

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

Land use:

arable land: 5.46%

permanent crops: 17.54%

other: 77% (2005)

Irrigated land:

3,650 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

580 cu km (1999)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 9.02 cu km/yr (17%/21%/62%)

per capita: 356 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

flooding; landslides; forest fires

Environment - current issues:

air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires

Environment - international agreements:

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:

strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea

People ::Malaysia


28,274,729 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 43

Age structure:

0-14 years: 31.4% (male 4,153,621/female 3,914,962)

15-64 years: 63.6% (male 8,210,373/female 8,143,043)

65 years and over: 5% (male 569,245/female 724,575) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 26.5 years

male: 26.4 years

female: 26.7 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.609% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 76

Birth rate:

21.41 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 84

Death rate:

4.92 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 190

Net migration rate:

-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 139 note: does not reflect net flow of an unknown number of illegal immigrants from other countries in the region (2009 est.)


urban population: 70% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.069 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 15.5 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 121 male: 17.92 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 12.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 73.55 years country comparison to the world: 112 male: 70.81 years

female: 76.48 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.7 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 78

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.5% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 77

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

80,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 50

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

3,900 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 52

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)


noun: Malaysian(s)

adjective: Malaysian

Ethnic groups:

Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%, others 7.8% (2004 est.)


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% (2000 census)


Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin,
Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi,

note: in East Malaysia there are several indigenous languages; most widely spoken are Iban and Kadazan


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 88.7%

male: 92%

female: 85.4% (2000 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 13 years

male: 12 years

female: 13 years (2007)

Education expenditures:

4.5% of GDP (2007) country comparison to the world: 90

Government ::Malaysia

Country name:

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Malaysia

local long form: none

local short form: Malaysia

former: Federation of Malaya

Government type:

constitutional monarchy

note: nominally headed by paramount ruler (commonly referred to as the King) and a bicameral Parliament consisting of a nonelected upper house and an elected lower house; all Peninsular Malaysian states have hereditary rulers (commonly referred to as sultans) except Melaka 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 federal constitution; under terms of federation, Sabah and Sarawak retain certain constitutional prerogatives (e.g., right to maintain their own immigration controls)


name: Kuala Lumpur

geographic coordinates: 3 10 N, 101 42 E

time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

note: Putrajaya is referred to as administrative center not capital; Parliament meets in Kuala Lumpur

Administrative divisions:

13 states (negeri-negeri, singular - negeri) Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, and Terengganu; and 1 federal territory (Wilayah Persekutuan) with three components, city of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, and Putrajaya


31 August 1957 (from the UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day/Malaysia Day, 31 August (1957)


31 August 1957; amended many times the latest in 2007

Legal system:

based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court at request of supreme head of the federation; Islamic law is applied to Muslims in matters of family law and religion; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: King - Sultan MIZAN Zainal Abidin (since 13 December 2006); (the position of the king is primarily ceremonial)

head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed NAJIB bin Abdul Razak (since 3 April 2009); Deputy Prime Minister MUHYIDDIN bin Mohamed Yassin (since 9 April 2009)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among the members of Parliament with consent of the king (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: kings elected by and from the hereditary rulers of nine of the states for five-year terms; selection based on principle of rotation among rulers of states; election last held on 3 November 2006 (next to be held in 2011); prime minister designated from among the members of the House of Representatives; following legislative elections, the leader who commands the support of the majority of members in the House becomes prime minister (since independence this has been the leader of the UMNO party)

election results: Sultan MIZAN Zainal Abidin elected king

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament or Parlimen consists of Senate or Dewan Negara (70 seats; 44 members appointed by the king, 26 elected by 13 state legislatures to serve three-year terms with a two term limit) and House of Representatives or Dewan Rakyat (222 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve up to five-year terms)

elections: House of Representatives - last held on 8 March 2008 (next to be held by June 2013)

election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote - BN coalition 50.3%, opposition parties 46.8%, others 2.9%; seats - BN coalition 140, opposition parties 82

Judicial branch:

civil courts include Federal Court, Court of Appeal, High Court of Malaya on peninsula Malaysia, and High Court of Sabah and Sarawak in states of Borneo (judges are appointed by the king on the advice of the prime minister); sharia courts include Sharia Appeal Court, Sharia High Court, and Sharia Subordinate Courts at state-level and deal with religious and family matters such as custody, divorce, and inheritance only for Muslims; decisions of sharia courts cannot be appealed to civil courts

Political parties and leaders:

National Front (Barisan Nasional) or BN (ruling coalition) consists
of the following parties: Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia Party or PGRM [KOH
Tsu Koon]; Liberal Democratic Party (Parti Liberal Demokratik -
Sabah) or LDP [LIEW Vui Keong]; Malaysian Chinese Association
(Persatuan China Malaysia) or MCA [CHUA Soi Lek]; Malaysian Indian
Congress (Kongres India Malaysia) or MIC [Govindasamy PALANIVEL];
Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah or PBRS [Joseph KURUP]; Parti Bersatu
Sabah or PBS [Joseph PAIRIN Kitingan]; Parti Pesaka Bumiputera
Bersatu or PBB [Abdul TAIB Mahmud]; Parti Rakyat Sarawak or PRS
[James MASING]; Sarawak United People's Party (Parti Bersatu Rakyat
Sarawak) or SUPP [George CHAN Hong Nam]; United Malays National
Organization or UMNO [NAJIB bin Abdul Razak]; United Pasokmomogun
Kadazandusun Murut Organization (Pertubuhan Pasko Momogun Kadazan
Dusun Bersatu) or UPKO [Bernard DOMPOK]; People's Progressive Party
(Parti Progresif Penduduk Malaysia) or PPP [M.Kayveas]; Sarawak
Progressive Democratic Party or SPDP [William MAWAN])

People's Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) or PR (opposition coalition)
consists of the following parties: Democratic Action Party (Parti
Tindakan Demokratik) or DAP [KARPAL Singh]; Islamic Party of
Malaysia (Parti Islam se Malaysia) or PAS [Abdul HADI Awang];
People's Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) or PKR [WAN AZIZAH
Wan Ismail]; Sarawak National Party or SNAP [Edwin DUNDANG]

independent party: Sabah Progressive Party (Parti Progresif Saban) or SAPP [YONG Teck Lee]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Bar Council; BERSIH (electoral reform coalition); PEMBELA (Muslim
NGO coalition)

other: religious groups; women's groups; youth groups

International organization participation:

ADB, APEC, ARF, ASEAN, BIS, C, CICA (observer), CP, D-8, EAS, FAO,

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador JAMALUDDIN Jarjis

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:

chief of mission: Ambassador Paul W. JONES

embassy: 376 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur

mailing address: US Embassy Kuala Lumpur, APO AP 96535-8152

telephone: [60] (3) 2168-5000
FAX: [60] (3) 2142-2207

Flag description:

14 equal horizontal stripes of red (top) alternating with white (bottom); there is a 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 anthem:

name: "Negaraku" (My Country)

lyrics/music: collective, led by Tunku ABDUL RAHMAN/Pierre Jean DE BERANGER

note: adopted 1957; the full version is 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 the state of Perak

Economy ::Malaysia

Economy - overview:

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, medical technology, and pharmaceuticals. The NAJIB administration also is continuing efforts to boost domestic demand and to wean the economy off of its dependence on exports. Nevertheless, exports - particularly of electronics - remain a significant driver of the economy. As an oil and gas exporter, Malaysia has profited from higher world energy prices, although the rising cost of domestic gasoline and diesel fuel, combined with strained government finances, has forced Kuala Lumpur to reduce government subsidies. The government is also trying to lessen its dependence on state oil producer Petronas, which supplies at least 40% of government revenue. The central bank maintains healthy foreign exchange reserves and its well-developed regulatory regime has limited Malaysia's exposure to riskier financial instruments and the global financial crisis. Nevertheless, decreasing worldwide demand for consumer goods hurt Malaysia's exports and economic growth in 2009, although both showed signs of recovery in 2010. In order to attract increased investment, NAJIB has also sought to revise the special economic and social preferences accorded to ethnic Malays under the New Economic Policy of 1970, but he has encountered significant opposition, especially from Malay nationalists.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$416.4 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 30 $388.8 billion (2009 est.)

$395.5 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$219 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

7.1% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 18 -1.7% (2009 est.)

4.7% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$14,700 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 77 $14,000 (2009 est.)

$14,500 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 9.1%

industry: 41.6%

services: 49.3% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

11.62 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 45

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 13%

industry: 36%

services: 51% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate:

3.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 28 3.7% (2009 est.)

Population below poverty line:

5.1% (2002 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 28.5% (2005 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

46.1 (2002) country comparison to the world: 36 49.2 (1997)

Investment (gross fixed):

20.1% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 85

Public debt:

52.6% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 48 53.3% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.8% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 50 0.6% (2009 est.)

note: approximately 30% of goods are price-controlled

Central bank discount rate:

1% (31 December 2009)

NA% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

5.08% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 135 6.08% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$69.03 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 38 $57 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$337.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 25 $280.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$314.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 33 $265.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$256 billion (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 25 $187.1 billion (31 December 2008)

$325.7 billion (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:

Peninsular Malaysia - rubber, palm oil, cocoa, rice; Sabah - subsistence crops, coconuts, rice; rubber, timber; Sarawak - rubber, timber; pepper


Peninsular Malaysia - rubber and oil palm processing and manufacturing, light manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, medical technology, electronics, tin mining and smelting, logging, timber processing; Sabah - logging, petroleum production; Sarawak - agriculture processing, petroleum production and refining, logging

Industrial production growth rate:

8.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 22

Electricity - production:

103.2 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 32

Electricity - consumption:

99.25 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 30

Electricity - exports:

2.268 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

693,700 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 27

Oil - consumption:

536,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 31

Oil - exports:

511,900 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 30

Oil - imports:

314,600 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 35

Oil - proved reserves:

2.9 billion bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 32

Natural gas - production:

57.3 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 17

Natural gas - consumption:

26.27 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 30

Natural gas - exports:

31.03 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 8

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 98

Natural gas - proved reserves:

2.35 trillion cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 16

Current account balance:

$34.83 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 13 $34.08 billion (2009 est.)


$192.8 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 25 $157.5 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

electronic equipment, petroleum and liquefied natural gas, wood and wood products, palm oil, rubber, textiles, chemicals

Exports - partners:

Singapore 13.9%, China 12.2%, US 10.9%, Japan 9.8%, Thailand 5.4%,
Hong Kong 5.2% (2009)


$149.2 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 29 $117.3 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

electronics, machinery, petroleum products, plastics, vehicles, iron and steel products, chemicals

Imports - partners:

China 13.9%, Japan 12.5%, US 11.2%, Singapore 11.1%, Thailand 6%,
Indonesia 5.3% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$104.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 14 $96.71 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$62.82 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 47 $58.79 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$77.44 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 43 $74.64 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$82.65 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 27 $75.62 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange rates:

ringgits (MYR) per US dollar - 3.2182 (2010), 3.5246 (2009), 3.33 (2008), 3.46 (2007), 3.6683 (2006)

Communications ::Malaysia

Telephones - main lines in use:

4.312 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 34

Telephones - mobile cellular:

30.379 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 31

Telephone system:

general assessment: modern system featuring good intercity service on Peninsular Malaysia provided mainly by microwave radio relay and an adequate intercity microwave radio relay network between Sabah and Sarawak via Brunei; international service excellent

domestic: domestic satellite system with 2 earth stations; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity 135 per 100 persons

international: country code - 60; landing point for several major international submarine cable networks that provide connectivity to Asia, Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Pacific Ocean) (2008)

Broadcast media:

state-owned television 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; large number of private commercial radio broadcasters and some subscription satellite radio services are available; about 400 radio stations overall (2008)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

344,452 (2010) country comparison to the world: 56

Internet users:

15.355 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 26

Transportation ::Malaysia


118 (2010) country comparison to the world: 51

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 38

over 3,047 m: 7

2,438 to 3,047 m: 10

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 8

under 914 m: 7 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 80

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 73 (2010)


3 (2010)


condensate 3 km; gas 1,965 km; oil 31 km; refined products 114 km (2009)


total: 1,849 km country comparison to the world: 75 standard gauge: 57 km 1.435-m gauge (57 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 1,792 km 1.000-m gauge (150 km electrified) (2008)


total: 98,721 km country comparison to the world: 44 paved: 80,280 km (includes 1,821 km of expressways)

unpaved: 18,441 km (2004)


7,200 km country comparison to the world: 20 note: Peninsular Malaysia 3,200 km; Sabah 1,500 km; Sarawak 2,500 km (2011)

Merchant marine:

total: 321 country comparison to the world: 30 by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 97, carrier 2, chemical tanker 45, container 44, liquefied gas 35, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 79, roll on/roll off 2, vehicle carrier 4

foreign-owned: 35 (Denmark 1, Hong Kong 8, Japan 4, Nigeria 1, Russia 2, Singapore 19)

registered in other countries: 79 (Bahamas 13, India 1, Indonesia 1, Malta 1, Marshall Islands 11, Panama 12, Papua New Guinea 1, Philippines 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 27, Thailand 3, Tuvalu 1, US 2, unknown 3) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Bintulu, Johor Bahru, George Town (Penang), Port Kelang (Port
Klang), Tanjung Pelepas

Transportation - note:

the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea as high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous 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; increased naval patrols in 2009 resulted in significantly reduced numbers of incidents

Military ::Malaysia

Military branches:

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) (2010)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service (2005)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 6,692,438

females age 16-49: 6,494,413 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 5,612,642

females age 16-49: 5,501,129 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 267,646

female: 253,529 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

2.03% of GDP (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 70

Transnational Issues ::Malaysia

Disputes - international:

Malaysia is involved in a complex dispute with Brunei, China, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam over claims to part or all of the Spratly Islands; 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; 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 awards sovereignty of Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh/Horsburgh Island) to Singapore, and Middle Rocks to Malaysia, but does not rule on maritime regimes, boundaries, or disposition of South Ledge; ICJ awarded Ligitan and Sipadan islands, also claimed by Indonesia and Philippines, to Malaysia but left maritime boundary and sovereignty of Unarang rock in the hydrocarbon-rich Celebes Sea in dispute; 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; Brunei and Malaysia agreed in September 2008 to resolve their offshore and deepwater seabed dispute, resume hydrocarbon exploration, and renounce any territorial claims along their land boundary; piracy remains a problem in the Malacca Strait

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 15,174 (Indonesia); 21,544 (Burma) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Malaysia is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, and men, women, and children for forced labor; Malaysia is mainly a destination country for men, women, and children who migrate willingly from South and Southeast Asia to work, some of whom are subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude by Malaysian employers in the domestic, agricultural, construction, plantation, and industrial sectors; to a lesser extent, some Malaysian women, primarily of Chinese ethnicity, are trafficked abroad for commercial sexual exploitation

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the Government of Malaysia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, despite some progress in enforcing the 2007 comprehensive anti-trafficking law; it has yet to fully address labor trafficking in Malaysia; there are credible allegations of involvement of Malaysian immigration officials in trafficking and extorting Burmese refugees; the government did not develop mechanisms to effectively screen victims of trafficking in vulnerable groups and condones the confiscation of passports of migrant workers by employers (2009)

Illicit drugs:

drug trafficking prosecuted vigorously and carries severe penalties; 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


Hellenica World