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Malaysia

Introduction

Official Name: Malaysia
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Official Language: Bahasa Malaysia
Currency: Ringgit (MYR)
Head of State:

His Majesty Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzamShah

Head of Government: H.E. Dato' Dri Mohd Najid Tun Abdul Razak
Foreign Minister: H.E. Dato' Sri Anifah Haji Aman
Government Website: www.kln.gov.my
Date of joining: 07 March 1997

 

 

General

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History

The voices calling for independence have long been heard. Unfortunately after Japanese surrender on 15 August 1945 after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, British colonialists came to the Malay Peninsular with the intention of turning it into a colony.

In the Malay Peninsular, the official power hand over from the Japanese to the British was sanctioned on 22 February 1946 in Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur. The British had
introduced the Malayan Union that offers equal rights in terms of citizenship issues to all residents without considering race and loyalty to the country. The election of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra in taking after Dato' Onn Jaafar who has resigned as the Yang Dipertua of Umno on 26 August 1951 clearly lead to a new era for the fight for independence.

It was soon clear that Malayan Union brought forth deprivation and ostracizing the rights of the Malays and indigenous bumiputra as the original settlers of the country, as well as affecting the institution and functions of the Malay rulers. Thus the British's initiation of the Malayan Union received great oppositions from the Malays as well as from the Council of Rulers. Datuk Onn gathered 200 Malay representatives from the Pan-Malayan Malay Congress on 1 - 4 March 1946 at the Sultan Sulaiman Club, Kuala Lumpur. A committee made of delegates such as Dato Onn Jaafar, Dato Panglima Bukit Gantang, Dato Nik Ahmad Kamil, Dato Hamzah Abdullah and En. Zainal Abidin (Za'ba) was created.

The congress soon agreed with the decision to form an organisation named United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) or Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu (PEKEMBAR) which will be presented in the future congress. In the 3rd Pan-Malayan Malay Congress held in Johor Bharu, Dato' Onn Jaafar soon announced the formation of UMNO on 11 May 1946. The purpose of the formation is to path the way for Malaya's independence and sovereignty, to develop and preserve the rights of the Malays and Malayans, to safeguard and defend the religion and traditions of the Malays as well as the position of the
sovereignty of the Malay rulers.

Their opposition succeeded in altering the Malayan Union to the Federal Agreement which was signed by the appointed Malay rulers on 21 January 1948 in returning the Malaya Peninsular to the Malays; the sovereignty of the rulers, preserved rights of the Malays as
well as citizenship. The struggle of the Malays succeeded in forming the Federation of Malaya which consisted of 9 Malay states which are Selangor, Perak, Kedah, Perlis, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, and the Straits Settlements of Pulau Pinang and Malacca. It is lead by a British High Commissioner who has executive power and is assisted and advised by the Majlis Mesyuarat Kerja Persekutuan and the Majlis Mesyuarat Undangan Persekutuan.   

The position of the Council of Rulers was given a better status including acting out the duty of advising the High Commissioner regarding the underlying principles of the Federation of
Malaya. The position of Resident was replaced by a Menteri Besar. While the prerequisites for citizenship was tightened through enforced laws and neutralized through application.

A step is closer for the Malays to move forward in full unity to achieve independence for Malaya. UMNO was guided by many great leaders such as Datuk Onn Jaafar, Tun Abdul Razak, Ghaffar Baba, Dr. Ismail, Aziz Ishak, Sardon Jubir and others who path the way
towards independence. The election of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra in taking after Dato' Onn Jaafar who has resigned as the Yang Dipertua of Umno on 26 August 1951 clearly lead to a new era for the fight for independence.

The struggle of the Malays which had begun for a century since the fall of the Malacca Sultanate saw the Malay people and the state monarchs or local leaders relentlessly trying to restore the dignity of their race and country.  Their oppositions first began in guerrilla warfare which were instigated by former members of the Malacca Sultanate (1511) and Johor Sultanate, Raja Haji (1782), Dol Said (1831), Datuk Maharaja Lela, Datuk Sagor (1875), Datuk Bahaman, Mat Kilau (1891), Tok Janggut (1914), Haji Abdul Rahman Limbong (1928), Datu Mat Salleh (1894), Sharif Mashahor (1860), Rentap (1853) and others.

Another form of resistance by the Malays in the pursuit of independence in the early 1900s were initiated by religious groups such as Syed Syeikh al-Hadi, Syeikh Tahir Jalaluddin,  Hizbul Muslimin movement, Gunung Semanggol religious centre, followed by Syeikh  Abdullah Fahim, a religious teacher in Kepala Batas in the 1930s as well as Malay teachers particularly from Sultan Idris Training College.

The struggle that follows took a new form through the pen and ink. Who comprises of Malay novelists, story writers, poets and reporters particularly from Utusan Melayu that gave much exposure regarding the fight for freedom from colonialists. Among its pioneers were Zainal Abidin Ahmad (Za'ba), A. Rahim Kajai, Ibrahim Yaakob, Ishak Haji Mohamad, Ahmad Boestamam, Usman Awang, Shahnon Ahmad and many more with some becoming fugitives from the British as well as thrown in jail. Indeed when we track over the roots of the fight for independence, it is apparent that it was path with sweat, blood and tears.

Moving towards achieving independence

While the undercurrent of awareness in the fight for independence is strong, the British
became worried should the Malays shift their support to the left parties such as the National Malay Party of Malaya, Young Malays Union, Aware Youth Movement, Conscious Women Movement and Malayan Communist Party. Because of that, when the Alliance Party, UMNO and MCA began to place insurmountable amount of pressure upon the British to have a general election, they have no choice but to give in.

The first Federal Election was held on 27 July 1955. Several parties such as UMNO, MCA, MIC, Nation Party, PAS and Labour Party took part for the 52 chairs contested. At the same time, to show a commitment towards independence for all, UMNO cooperated with MCA (which was formed on 27 February 1949) and MIC (formed in August 1946) to establish the Alliance Party in dealing with the election.

The result of that they succeeded in winning 51 chairs from the 52 chairs contested. This became the foundation for an understanding in fulfilling the demands of the British that independence is only achievable when there is full cooperation and tolerance amongst the different races in Malaya. The Alliance's assurance is a promise for independence within four years.  

On 1 August 1955, Tunku Abdul Rahman formed the first Cabinet that was represented by 6 Malay, 3 Chinese and 2 Indian representatives. Tunku Abdul Rahman was appointed as the Chief Minister and Minister of Home Affairs. Among the line of members are Datuk Abdul Razak Hussain, Dr. Ismail Datuk Abdul Rahman, En. H.S. Lee, En. Abd. Aziz Ishak, En. Baba Leong Yew Koh, En. Sardon Haji Jubir, Tun V.T. Sambathan, En. Sulaiman Datuk Abd. Rahman and En. Bba Ong Yok Lin. They pledged duty on 9 August 1955.

Besides fulfilling the criteria of tolerance between races, Tunku Abdul Rahman is confronted with solving the issue of communist rebellion for freedom. The British had pledged that as long as communist threat is unresolved, independence will be delayed. In dealing with the challenge, Tunku decided on diplomacy by having the Baling Conference on 28-29 December 1956 with Chin Peng, the Chief Secretary of the Malayan Communist Party. The endeavour agitated the British who had been dealing with the MCP through force.

British's agitation quickened the process of granting independence, which revealed Tunku Abdul Rahman's astuteness. At the same time, MCP rejected vehemently Tunku's request
for its party to be disbanded and proceeded with an armed rebellion that brought forth more suffering to the rural community as well as threatening the nation's security and economy.

On 18 January - 6 February 1956, Tunku Abdul Rahman headed a group of people to negotiate independence for the Federation of Malaya.

The expedition was joined by several leaders of the Alliance Party; Dato' Abdul Razak Hussein, Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman, Kolonel H.S. Lee, Tuan T.H. Tan and Encik Bahaman Shamsudin and representatives from the Council of Rulers; Dato' Panglima Bukit Gantang, Dato' Nik Ahmad Kamil, Encik Abdul Aziz Majid and Dato Mohd. Seth. 
 
On 8 February1956, the promise of Independence was realised with the setting of the date 31 August 1957 as the Independence Day for the Federation of Malaya. Returning from London, Tengku Abdul Rahman made the Declaration of Independence at Padang Pahlawan, Bandar Hilir, Malacca on 20 February 1956 and was received joyously by the people.  

While preparations were being made to celebrate the birth of a newly independent nation, a
free-regulating official known as the Reid Policy Commissioner was formed on 21 March 1956 to examine and legislate laws for the Federation of Malaya. At 12.00 midnight on 30 August 1957, the Union Jack flag was brought down in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad building, Kuala Lumpur, and soon the new flag of the Federation of Malaya was raised in replace and waved proudly.

On the next day, the echoes of independence were heard seven times throughout every nook of Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, during the proclamation of independence ceremony by Tunku Abdul Rahman. The result of a struggle of the Malays and other races, at last on 31 August 1957, Federation of Malaya succeeded in breaking the chains
of colonization that has long plagued her lands.

The Formation of Malaysia

Tunku Abdul Rahman in a speech given before the Society of Foreign Press at a hotel in Singapore on 27 May 1961, suggested a plan to form Malaysia which will consist of the
Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Brunei, Sarawak and Sabah. Among other things, it is intended to impede the spread of communism, as well as to balance the ratio of populations, improve the country's economy, and hasten independence for Singapore, Brunei, Sarawak and Sabah. Singapore received the suggestion well, while Brunei declined the offer. Sarawak and Sabah declined at first but later agreed to join after given the assurance to be able to rule independently.

To give freedom and justice for all sides, on 17 January 1962 a commission was announced to observe the views of the people and was known as the Cobbold Commission. The commission consisted of 5 members, and was chaired by Lord Cobbold and joined by two
British Government representatives, Sir Anthony Abell and Sir David Watherston, while the two representatives from the Federal of Malaya were Datuk Wong Pow Nee and Encik Mohamed Ghazali Shafie and Mr. H. Haris acted as the Secretary.

Throughout February-April 1962, the Commission have gathered 4000 people and received 2200 memorandum from various parties which were made of political parties, members of government and guest assembly, religious leaders, workers union and the public for their opinions. On the whole, more than 80 percent of the assembly agreed with the idea and on 21 June 1962, the report was sent to the British government.

A unified decision was reached between the Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman with Harold Macmillian, the Prime Minister of Britain to have a negotiation in London. The negotiation was held for two weeks. On 9 July 1963, an important agreement was signed at the Commonwealth Relation Office at Malborough House, London. The agreement for the formation of Federation of Malaya was signed by
representatives of the British government, Federal of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. The British was represented by Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Macmillian, Mr. Ducan Sandys and Lord Landsdowne.

The Federal of Malaya government was represented by Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak, Encik Tan Siew Sin, Datuk V.T. Sambathan, Datuk Ong Yoke Lin and Dr. Lim Swee Aun. Sabah was represented by Datuk Mustapha bin Datuk Harun, Mr. Donald A. Stephen, Mr. W.K.H. Jones, Encik Khoo Siak Chiew, Mr. W.S. Holley and Encik G.D. Sundang. Representatives from Sarawak were Encik P.E.H. Pike, Temenggung Jugah, Datuk Bandar Abang Haji Mustapha, Encik Ling Beng Siew and Datuk Abang Haji Openg. Whereas Singapore was represented by Encik Lee Kuan Yew and Encik Goh Keng Swee. Both countries agreed to return the sovereignty of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore to the
Malaysian government and Malaysia will be formed on 31 August 1963.

During the discussions of Malaysia's formation was to become a reality, Philippines and Indonesia gave great oppositions to such an idea. Philippines claimed that Sabah is a part of its territory while Indonesia had plans to include it in the formation of Indonesia Raya, and tried to hinder it through force by proclaiming a confrontation on 20 January 1963  with the 'Ganyang Malaysia' slogan. Indonesian army was dispatched to Malaysia's borders in Sabah, Sarawak and Johor.

This great challenge faced by the citizens of Federal of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak does not hamper their spirits in seeing a country unified. The plan for the declaration to be made on 31 August 1963 was forced to be postponed. Lawrence Michelmore of the United Nations once again carried out a gathering of opinions from the people of North Borneo and Sarawak. On 14 September 1963, reports were released and confirmed a majority of the people supported to join the Federal of Malaya. Thus, on 16
September 1963, the idea of a unified country became a reality with the birth
of nation called Malaysia.

The proclamation was made at Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur. The proclamation of Malaysia's formation was read in front of the Yang Di Pertuan Agong, the Council of Rulers, and Governors of Penang, Malacca, Singapore and Sabah. Leaders from three new states were also present, En. Lee Kuan Yew, Mr. Donald Stephens and Mr. Stephen Kalong Ningkan. However, Singapore's ties lasted only for two years before it had to separate in 1965.

The Meaning of Independence

The independence achieved does not only mean a physical freedom from colonization but also a freedom in spirituality and mentality. The meaning of independence is of being free from the hold of foreign forces and to thrive in creating a dignified nation. The strength of politics to achieve independence must be backed up by deep knowledge in order to hasten the nation's development. 
 
Looking back to the Malays' fight of freedom from 1511 to the World War II era 1941-1945, the country went through 3 stages of struggles. The first stage, through military or guerrilla, persuasion through religious groups and later by nationalists through the pen.  All three stages of battle went on separately until a suggestion to have the first Malay Congress on 1-4 March 1946, which combined all three stages in a more systematic and orderly manner. Hence formed UMNO during the council which strengthened the fight for nation's freedom. 
 
It is the responsibility of the new generation to remember and to appreciate the meaning of independence. Our duty today is to fill our minds with higher knowledge so that the independence achieved can be guarded and preserved. Without knowledge, the recent independence that we have will be weakened.

The people must ready themselves to face all challenges to fortify an independent race. Since the Malaysian people have faced great challenges, independence must be appreciated
and be occupied with preserving political strength, economy, social, religious, language, culture and artistic heritage. All the gaps of development, economically and socially among races must be drawn closer and made firm for each to enjoy the meaning of independence. The unity built since the efforts to attain independence must be carried on and inculcated for a stronger public. 
 
This fortunate land has given birth to many capable leaders while the nation struggled in handling troubles of every kind such as poverty, low education level, the unity of races and even communist threat during the proclamation of the Emergency state since 1948. By introducing the New Economic Policy 1970-1990, the Green Book and Red Book rogrammes, plans in elevating the understanding of bumiputra economical state with other races, must be harmonized. The education policy which began from Penyata Razak and Rahman Talib till now has succeeded in freeing the people from the sphere of ignorance to a modern society.
 
A few policies have been introduced such as Looking to the East policy, Industrial Policy, Company Policy and Wawasan 2020 have made Malaysia a developing nation.

Independence has made us free and self-governing to plan for our next direction. We are free in terms of economy, politic, peace, culture and religion. Free in the true meaning of creating our own mould and our own wishes to build the essence of sovereign Malaysia.

Delving into the meaning of independence by going through the tapestry of history will rouse the people that the fight for freedom never really ends. In truth the glory achieved is to be a reminder for the new generation to follow through with the excellence attained. The sacrifices of previous generations must be an inspiration to us all to work even harder in becoming a developed and modern race.

52 years of Independence

After 52 years of Independence, Malaysia has developed in style. A development that was attained so quickly and dynamically. The stability of the economy and unity of races is the key to the flawlessness of independence passed. The people benefited from the distribution of political stability, a wealthy economy and social justice that is the same and equal. Education continues to aim the people to become modern, civilized and respected. Malaysia is well recognised in the world as a progressing nation that is developing and stable.

A few landmarks such as producing the first national car Proton Saga that instigated the nation's automobile industry, the building of the Kuala Lumpur Twin Tower that has been
certified as the tallest building in the world, Sepang International Circuit which succeeded in bringing up the nation's name in the Formula One car racing sport as well as Petronas in developing automobile related expertise, as well as other achievement milestones that should make the Malaysian people proud.

The preparation to face the cyber space era has been made by building the Multimedia Super Corridor which is comparable to Silicon Valley in the United States.

The achievements of Malaysian citizens are also worth noting, when a group of mountain climbers succeeded in reaching the top of Mount Everest on 15 May 1997, swimming across
the English channel on 3 August 2003, diving expedition in the north pole in 2003 and a solo expedition in conquering the Antarctica continent in 2004. On October 10, 2007, the first Malaysian astronaut has been sent to the International Space Station (ISS). 

The voice of Malaysia was heard internationally once before, when Malaysia pioneered in opposing the Apartheid Policy in South Africa. The peace attained in our nation has instigated for the United Nations to bring forth such missions of peace to countries such as Congo (1960-1963), Somalia (1993-1994), Bosnia (1993-1998), Cambodia (1991-1994), Angola (1991) dan Timor Leste (2006). All the achievements of the country were instigated by the leaders and people's aspirations which were joined together in creating an excellent, glorious and indomitable Malaysia. Now all the efforts made by every level of society are a very valuable gift in celebrating 52 years of Malaysia's Independence. Facing a new challenging era, the citizens of Malaysia must be vigilant. When before, the citizens of the country are shaken by the a new colonization ideology through the influence of the mind, economy, social, tradition and culture, now, a new excuse has emerged in trying to colonize weak and underdeveloped nations which have been done in the past and to return in new form.

We are also surrounded by an explosion of communication technology and globalization era that demands the sacrifice and responsibility of the people to continue to defend the  independence that we already have. The world without borders was introduced to all  citizens that required us to be more aware with the surroundings. Therefore, The Islamic Hadhari concept was introduced as guide to the people to develop the nation with full faith in God, to be learned, to live harmoniously, for a fair distribution of wealth, to be civilized and ethical.      

Geography

Malaysia is located under the continental of Asia under the Southeast Asia region. The coordinates for Malaysia is 2º30'N 122º30'E and it covers an area of about 330,803 square
kilometers, consisting of states in Peninsular Malaysia, namely Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Selangor, Terengganu and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya; Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo and the Federal Territory of Labuan off Sabah. 99.63 percent for Malaysia consists of land and 0.37percent are covered with water. The highest point in Malaysia is Mount Kinabalu with 4,095m height and the lowest point is the Indian Ocean 0m. The longest river in Malaysia is Rajang river which located in Sibu, Sarawak with the length of 563 km.

The total land area of Malaysia is 329,847 square kilometres (127,350 sq mi), the 67th largest country in the world in terms of area. It is the only country to contain land on both mainland Asia and the Malay Archipelago. Peninsular Malaysia makes up 132,090 square kilometres (51,000 sq mi), or 39.7%, while East Malaysia covers 198,847 square kilometres (76,780 sq mi), or 60.3% of the total land of the country. From the total land area, 1,200 square kilometres (460 sq mi) or 0.37% is made up of water such as lakesrivers, or other internal waters. Malaysia has a total coastline of 4,675 kilometres (2,905 mi), whereby Peninsular Malaysia has 2,068 kilometres (1,285 mi), while East Malaysia has 2,607 kilometres (1,620 mi) of coastline. Malaysia has the 29th longest
coastline
 in the world. The two distinct parts of Malaysia, separated from each other by the South China Sea, share a largely similar landscape in that both West (Peninsular) and East Malaysia feature coastal plains rising to hills and mountains Peninsula Malaysia covers the southern half of the Malay Peninsula, and extends 740 kilometres (460 mi) from north to south, and its maximum width is 322 kilometres (200 mi). It is very mountainous, with more than half of it over 150 metres (492 ft) above sea level. About half of Peninsular Malaysia is covered by granite and other igneous rocks, a third more is covered by stratified rocks older than the granite, and the remainder is covered  by alluvium. Harbours are only available on the peninsula's western side, and the most fertile land occurs when river valleys flow out to the sea. The coastal plains bordering the straits of Malacca are the most densely populated areas of Malaysia, and contains Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur

East Malaysia, on the island of Borneo, has a coastline of 2,607 kilometres (1,620 mi). It is divided between coastal regions, hills and valleys, and a mountainous interior. There are only two major cities, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Much of southern Sarawak is coastal lowlands, which shifts to a series of plateaus going north, ending in the mountainous regions of Sabah. 

Between Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia is the South China Sea, the largest body of water around Malaysia. Facing the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia there is the Straits of Malacca towards the south, and the Andaman Sea towards the north. The Strait of Malacca, lying between Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia, is arguably the most important shipping lane in the world. These seas are marginal seas of the Indian Ocean. Off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia is the South China Sea, while a small part in the north lies within the Gulf of Thailand. These form part of the marginal seas of the Pacific Ocean.

The Straits of Johor off the south of Peninsular acts as a maritime border. In East Malaysia, the western coasts of Sabah and Sarawak faces the South China Sea. The northeast coast of Sabah faces the Sulu Sea, while the southeast coast of Sabah faces the Celebes Sea.

Malaysia claims 12 nm (22 kilometres/14 mi) as its territorial waters, which extend into the Coral Triangle. It also claims 200 nm (370 kilometres/230 mi) of exclusive economic zone. In addition, Malaysia claims 200 metres (656 ft) in the depth of the continental
shelf
 or to the depth of exploration in within the area below the South China Sea known as Sundaland

Climate 

Located near the equator, Malaysia's climate is categorised as equatorial, being hot and
humid throughout the year. The average rainfall is 250 centimetres (98 in) a year and the average temperature is 27 °C (80.6 °F). The climates of the Peninsula and the East differ, as the climate on the peninsula is directly affected by wind from the mainland, as opposed to the more maritime weather of the East. Malaysia is exposed to the El Nino effect, which
reduces rainfall in the dry season. Climate change is likely to have a significant effect on Malaysia, increasing sea levels and rainfall, increasing flooding risks and leading to large
droughts 

Malaysia faces two monsoon winds seasons, the Southwest Monsoon from late May to September, and the Northeast Monsoon from November to March. The Northeast Monsoon brings in more rainfall compared to the Southwest Monsoon, originating in China and the north Pacific. The southwest monsoon originates from the deserts of Australia. March and October form transitions between the two monsoons.

Local climates are affected by the presence of mountain ranges throughout Malaysia, and climate can be divided into that of the highlands, the lowlands, and coastal regions. The coasts have a sunny climate, with temperatures ranging between 23 °C (73.4 °F) and 32 °C (89.6 °F), and rainfall ranging from 10 centimetres (4 in) to 30 centimetres (12 in) a month. The lowlands have a similar temperature, but follow a more distinctive rainfall pattern and show very high humidity levels. The highlands are cooler and wetter, and display a greater temperature variation. A large amount of cloud cover is present over the highlands, which have humidity levels that do not fall below (75%). 

The highest temperature was recorded at ChupingPerlis on 9 April 1998 at 40.1 °C (104.2 °F). The lowest temperature was recorded at Cameron Highlands on 1 February 1978 at 7.8 °C (46.0 °F). The highest rainfall recorded in a day was 608 mm (23.9 in) in Kota BharuKelantan on 6 January 1967. The highest rainfall recorded in a year was 5,687 mm (223.9 in) at SandakanSabah in 2006. Meanwhile, the lowest rainfall recorded in a year was 1,151 mm (45.3 in) at TawauSabah in 1997. The wettest place in Malaysia is Kuching, Sarawak with an average rainfall of 4,128 mm (162.5 in) with 247 days of rain a year. The driest place in Malaysia is in ChupingPerlis with average rainfall of only 1,746 mm (68.7 in) a year.

Government & Politics

Malaysia practises Parliamentary Democracy with Constitutional Monarchy and His Royal Highness is the Paramount Ruler. The Federal Constitution was legislated with the setting up of conditions for this system to exist. One of the conditions of Parliamentary Democracy is the division of the administrative power into three parts, which are Legislative, Judiciary,
and Administrative or Executive. 

Malaysia is also a country that practises a system of Democracy based on the Federation system. In accordance to this, Perlis, Kedah, Pulau Pinang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, Sarawak and Sabah have agreed to the concept of the formation of the country of Malaysia. 

Each state involved has surrendered part of its power, such as financial, defense, education, foreign affairs and others, as stated in the Malaysian Constitution, which is administered by the Central Government. There are matters that are under the power of the state and each state administers the power over those matters. 

As a country with a Constitutional Monarchy, it is therefore allocated by the Constitution the institutions of Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, the Paramount Ruler, the hereditary rulers of the nine states and the Council of Malay Rulers. His Royal Highness has the power to safeguard the customs and traditions of the Malay people and the Administration of the Islamic Religion in each state. Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is the Head of the
Islamic Religion for the states of Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal
Territories. 

Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is also the Paramount Ruler of the country and His Royal Highness is the Highest Commander of the Armed Forces. His Royal Highness carries out his duties under the Constitution under the advice of the Prime Minister and the cabinet ministers. Meanwhile, the hereditary rulers are Head of State of his own state and carry out their duties under the advice of their own Minister or Menteri Besar or Chief
Minister.

Administrative Authority 

The Federal Constitutions had decreed that the power of administration be divided into 3 parts: Executive Authority, Judicial Authority and Bylaw Authority. This distribution of power is made on both Federal Government and State Government Level to fulfill the requirement of federal democracy, which forms the basis of the ruling government in this
country. 

Executive Authority 

Executive Authority is the administration authority, allocated under Subject 39 of the Malaysian Constitution to the Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, but it is managed by the Cabinet of Ministers, led by the Prime Minister. The Cabinet Ministers are directly responsible to the Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Every executive
action by the Federal Government is channeled from the Royal Authority, be it directly or vice versa. However, according to the principals of a Parliamentary Democracy ruling, the Prime Minister is the Executive Leader. 

Judicial Authority 

Judicial Authority is held by the Higher Courts (which covers Federal Court, Special Court, Appeal Court, High Court of Malaya, High Court of Sabah and Sarawak); and Lower Courts (Session Court, Magistrate Court, Syariah Court, Juvenile Court, Chief Court and Inner State Court) as allocated by the federal law. Head Judge of the country is the Judicial Leader. The Federal Court has the authority to approve law written by the Parliament, or by Badan Perundangan Negeri.    

By Law Authority 

The Bylaw Authority, the power to make the law on Federal Government level is placed in the Parliament, led by Yang di-Pertuan Agong and consisted of Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat. On State level, this authority is held by Badan Perundangan Negeri of each state, which is chosen every five years. Among the laws and allocations created by the Parliament include the functions of ministers, conventions with foreign countries, the rate of taxes and approval of the country's budget. 

The Structure of Parliament Malaysia 

The Parliament, which acts as the Supreme Law for Malaysia, serves to write up the commandments in which is to be implemented within the country. The parliament has the power to approve the law on Federal level, to make changes to current existing law, to review the government, to approve spending of national funds and new taxes. It is the grounds for debate and discussion, as well a channel for the public to voice themselves in current issues. 

The Malaysian Parliament is made up of these components: 

•Yang di-Pertuan Agong/The Paramount Ruler

 •Dewan Negara/ Senantes

 •Dewan Rakyat/ Representative 

Yang di - Pertuan Agong/The Paramount Ruler 

Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the institutional Leader of the Country as decreed by the Constitution. The official term would be Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The king would perform his tasks as provided under the Constitution, with advice from the Prime Minister or the Cabinet Ministers. 

Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the Leader of the Islamic religion for Pulau Pinang, Melaka,
Sabah, Sarawak, and the Federal Territories. As the Head of the Country, he is also the Head of the Army. Yang di-Pertuan Agong is appointed every 5 years by rotation set in advance by the Rulers' Council.  

History of Yang di - Pertuan Agong 

In August 1957, The Rulers' Council had decided to have the title Yang di-Pertuan Agong bequeathed on the Head of the Country for the Federation of Malay States. The selection of Yang di-Pertuan Agong would have to follow the order of the longest reigning King. According to this order, Sultan of Johor, Sultan Sir Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar, who came to the throne in 1895, is the longest reigning king, but he declined the title due to old age (he was 84 years old).
 
The second in line, Sultan Pahang Sultan Sir Abu Bakar Riayatuddin Al-Muadzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdullah Al-Mutassim Billah Shah, who came to the throne in 1932, had also declined the title. Therefore the third longest reigning king, Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad was unanimously chosen to become the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong for the Federation of Malay States. Before being crowned as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, he was the Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan since 1933. 

The Selection of Yang di - Pertuan Agong 

To be chosen as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, one would have to be a ruling King who reigns in one of 9 federated states, which are Johor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Perlis, Terengganu, Kedah, Perak and Kelantan. Yang di-Pertuan Agong was chosen by the Rulers' Council according to customs dictated by the Federal Constitution and orders of the
Rulers' Council. 

The King of Malaysia

THE THIRTEEN YANG DI-PERTUAN AGONG 

Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah D.K.T., D.K.R., D.M.N., S.S.M.Z., S.S.M.T., S.P.M.T., D.K. (Perlis), D.K.(Johor), D.K.M.B.(Brunei), D.K.(Perak), D.K.(Negeri Sembilan), D.K. (Kedah), D.K. (Kelantan), D.K. (Selangor), S.P.M.J., Commandeur De La Legion D'Honneur (France). Appointed as Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong on 13 December 2006. 

Dewan Negara/Senates

The Dewan Negara (Senate) consists of 70 members. 

The membership of the Senate is made up of two categories:-

26 members elected by the State Legislative Assembly to represent 13 states (each state represented by two members)

44 members appointed by His Majesty the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister, including two members from the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, and one member each from the Federal Territory of Labuan and Putra Jaya. 

To be eligible as a member, a person must:- 

  • be a Malaysian citizen; 
  • be not less than 30 years old; 
  • be of sound mind; 
  • not be an undischarged bankrupt; and 
  • not have a criminal record. 

The tenure of office is a three-year term for a maximum of two terms, applicable to both
federal and state appointments. The life of the Senate is not affected by the dissolution of Parliament. Senators are drawn from the ranks of persons who have rendered distinguished public services or have achieved distinction in the professions, commerce, industry, agriculture, cultural activities or social service or are representatives of a racial minority or are capable of representing the interests of aborigines. 

Every member, before taking his seat in the Senate, must take the prescribed oath before the President of the Senate. By the oath, the members swear or affirm that they will faithfully discharge their duty as members to the best of their ability, to bear true faith and allegiance to Malaysia and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. 

Dewan Rakyat/Representatives

Dewan Rakyat has 222 elected members. A General Election is held every five years to elect members of the Dewan Rakyat. Parties with the most votes can form a government
to rule the country.

Customarily, a Bill originates in the Dewan Rakyat. Once approved, it is tabled in the Dewan Negara for another debate. After that, the Bill has to be approved before being
presented to Yang Di-Pertuan Agong for his consent.

The Bill will then be gazetted in the form of 'Government Gazette', thus making the Bill a
law as stated in the Government Gazette. 

Constitution of the Federated States in Malaysia

Federal Constitution are the highest and absolute written law which is to be referred to in the administration of the country. This constitution divides the power of administration according to Democracy with Parliament Government system. This constitution may be altered with majority support of at least 2/3 of the Parliament. 

In Malaysia, part of a person's rights is written within the Federal Constitution. Among others, this constitution ensures the freedom to live, the freedom to move, voice out, assemble and form organizations, to have religion as well as the rights to education. Each
citizen would have to know their own rights as is written in the Federal Constitution.

People

The demographics of Malaysia are represented by the multiple ethnic groups that exist in this country. Malaysia's population, as of July 2010, is estimated to be 28,250,500, which makes it the 44th most populated country in the world. Of these, 5.72 million Malaysians live in East Malaysia and 22.5 million live in Peninsular Malaysia. The Malaysian population continues to grow at a rate of 2.4% per annum; about 34% of the population is under the age of 15. 

The age structure in Malaysia shows that the median age of both genders is 26.8 years. The median age for male is 26.7 years and female is 27 years. The percentage of the population age between 0-14 years is 29.6 percent s consist of 4,374,495 (male) and 4,132,009 (female). Besides, the age range between 15-64 years is 65.4 percent where 9,539,972 is male and 9,253,574 is female. Finally, the age group above 64 years consist of 5 percent from the overall populations where 672,581 is male and 755,976 is female.

As for the birth rate it is 21.08 births per 1000 population. The death rate of Malaysia is 4.93 deaths per 1000 populations. The life expectancy at birth for Malaysia is 74.2 years which it ranks 66th  in the world while the total fertility of Malaysia is 2.98 children born per
woman where it ranked 79th in the world. The sex ratio at birth is 1.07 male/female while the age category below 15 is 1.06 males/female.  The sex ratio for age category between
15-64years and above 64 years are 1.01males/female and 0.79 males/female. Finally, the sex ration from the total population is 1.01 males/female.  

According to latest 2010 census from Statistical Deparment of Malaysia, among the three largest Malaysian groups Malays and Bumiputera Fertility rates are at 2.8 children per  woman, Chinese 1.8 children per woman, and Indians 2.0 children per woman. Malay fertility rates are 40% higher than Malay Indians and 56% higher than Malay Chinese. In 2010, the Malays were 60.3%, Chinese 22.9%, and the Indians 6.8% of the total population. The Chinese population has shrunk to half of its peak share from 1957 when it was 45% of Malaysia, although in absolute numbers they have multiplied more than threefold. The population distribution is uneven, with some 20 million of 28 million citizens concentrated in Peninsular Malaysia, which has an area of 131,598 square kilometres
(50,810.27 sq mi). 

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country. The principal ethnic groups are Malay, Chinese and Indian. Other significant groups are the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak, including
Kadazandusun, Bajau, Murut, Iban, Bidayuh and Melanau. The twenty largest
ethnolinguistic groups in Malaysia are as follows: 

                                                                                        
Group
  

Total


  

 

MalayPeninsular


 

 

9,041,091


 

 

Han ChineseHokkien


 

 

1,848,211


 

 

Tamil


 

 

1,743,922


 

 

Han Chinese, Hakka


 

 

1,679,027


 

 

Han Chinese, Cantonese


 

 

1,355,541


 

 

Banjar Malay


 

 

1,237,615


 

 

Han Chinese, Teochew


 

 

974,573


 

 

Han Chinese, Mandarin


 

 

958,467


 

 

Minangkabau


 

 

874,536


 

 

Indonesian


 

 

772,558


 

 

Iban


 

 

666,034


 

 

Filipino


 

 

442,933


 

 

Han Chinese, Hainanese


 

 

380,781


 

 

Han Chinese, Min Bei


 

 

373,337


 

 

Malay, East Malaysia


 

 

271,979


 

 

Han Chinese, Min Dong


 

 

249,413


 

 

Straits Chinese


 

 

236,918


 

 

Nepalese


 

 

217,587


 

 

Tausug


 

 

201,797


 
Dusun, Central
  

 

191,146


 

 *Source from Statistical Department of Malaysia 2009 

Religion
  
Islam is the largest and official religion of Malaysia, although Malaysia is a multi-religious society and the Malaysian constitution guarantees religious freedom. Despite the  recognition of Islam as the state religion, the first 4 prime ministers have stressed that Malaysia could function as a secular state. According to the Population and Housing Census
2000 figures, approximately 60.4 percent of the population practised Islam; 19.2 percent Buddhism; 9.1 percent Christianity; 6.3 percent Hinduism; and 2.6 percent practise Confucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinese religions. The remainder was accounted for by other faiths, including animism, folk eligion, and Sikhism while 0.9% either reported having no eligion or did not provide any information

The majority of Malaysian Indians follow Hinduism (84.5%), with a significant minority identifying as Christians (7.7%), Muslims (3.8%), over 150,000 Sikhs, and 1,000 Jains. Most  Malaysian Chinese follow a combination of BuddhismTaoismConfucianism  and ancestor-worship but, when pressed to specify their religion, will identify themselves as Buddhists. Statistics from the 2000 Census indicate that 75.9% of Malaysia's ethnic Chinese identify as Buddhist, with significant numbers of adherents following Taoism (10.6%) and Christianity (9.6%), along with small Hui-Muslim populations in areas like Penang. Christianity is the predominant religion of the non-malay  Bumiputra  community (50.1%) with an additional 36.3% identifying as Muslims and 7.3% follow folk
religion
 

Literacy: 

Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) is the official language of Malaysia and is spoken in all areas of the country. The ethnic Chinese also speak one of various Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien, Mandarin, or Min); Tamil is spoken by the Indians. English is taught in the schools and is widely spoken. 

Literacy rates for Malaysia is the (percentage of people over 15 who can read and write) are high in Malaysia, with an overall Literacy rate of 88.7%. Literacy rates are higher among males (92%) than females (85.4%). 

Education in Malaysia is monitored by the federal government Ministry of Education. The education system of Malaysia features a non-compulsive kindergarten education, followed by six years of compulsory primary education and five years of non-compulsive secondary education. Most Malaysian children start schooling between the ages of three to six, in kindergarten.

Economy

Malaysia, a middle-income country, transformed itself from 1971 through the late 1990s
from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy. Growth was almost exclusively driven by exports - particularly of electronics. As a result Malaysia was hard hit by the global economic downturn and the slump in the information technology (IT) sector in 2001 and 2002. GDP in 2001 grew only 0.5% due to an estimated 11% contraction in exports, but a substantial fiscal stimulus package equal to US $1.9 billion mitigated the worst of the recession and the economy rebounded in 2002 with a 4.1% increase.  

The economy grew 4.9% in 2003, notwithstanding a difficult first half, when external pressures from SARS and the Iraq War led to caution in the business community. Healthy foreign exchange reserves and a relatively small external debt make it unlikely that Malaysia will experience a crisis similar to the one in 1997, but the economy remains vulnerable to a more protracted slowdown in Japan and the US, top export destinations and key sources of foreign investment. Below are the latest table related to Malaysia's economic
development in 2011.

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Educational Opportunities

Primary education 

Children begin primary schooling at the age of seven for a period of six years. Primary schools are divided into two categories, the national primary school and the vernacular school. Vernacular schools (Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan) use either Chinese or Tamil as the medium of instruction, whereas national primary school (Sekolah Kebangsaan) uses Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction for subjects except English, Science and Mathematics. 

Before progressing to the secondary level of education, pupils in Year 6 are required to sit for the Primary School Achievement Test (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah, UPSR). A programme called First Level Assessment (Penilaian Tahap Satu, PTS) taken during Primary Year 3 was abolished in 2001. 

Secondary education

Secondary education in Malaysia is conducted in secondary schools (Sekolah Menengah kebangsaan) for five years. National secondary schools use Malay as the main language of instruction. The only exceptions are Mathematics and Science and languages other than Malay, however this was only implemented in 2003,prior to which all non-language subjects were  taught in Malay. At the end of Form Three, which is the third year, students are evaluated in the Lower Secondary Assessment (Penilaian Menengah Rendah,PMR). However, PMR is to be abolished by 2016. Secondary students no longer sit for PMR in Form Three but to directly sit for SPM in Form Five. In the final year of secondary education (Form Five), students sit the Malaysian Certificate of Education (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, SPM) examination, which is equivalent to the former British Ordinary or 'O' Levels. The government has decided to abandon the use of English in teaching maths and science
and revert to Bahasa Malaysia, starting in 2012

Malaysian national secondary schools are sub-divided into several types: National Secondary School (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan), Religious Secondary School (Sekolah Menengah Agama), National-Type Secondary School (Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan) (also referred to as Mission Schools), Technical Schools (Sekolah Menengah Teknik), Residential Schools and MARA Junior Science College (Maktab Rendah Sains MARA). 

There are also 60 Chinese Independent High Schools in Malaysia, where most subjects are
taught in Chinese. Chinese Independent High Schools are monitored and standardised by the United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia (UCSCAM). However, unlike government schools, independent schools are autonomous. It takes six years to complete secondary education in Chinese independent schools. Students will sit a standardised test conducted by UCSCAM, which is known as the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) in Junior Middle 3 (equivalent to PMR) and Senior Middle 3 (equivalent to A level). A number of independent schools conduct classes in Malay and English in addition to Chinese, enabling the students to sit the PMR and SPM additionally.  

Tertiary Education

Before the introduction of the matriculation system, students aiming to enter public
universities had to complete an additional 18 months of secondary schooling in Form Six and sit the Malaysian Higher School Certificate (Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia, STPM); equivalent to the British Advanced or 'A' levels. Since the introduction of the matriculation programme as an alternative to STPM in 1999, students who completed the 12-month programme in matriculation colleges (kolej matrikulasi in Malay) can enrol in local universities. However, in the matriculation system, only 10% of the places are open to non-Bumiputra students.

There are a number of public universities established in Malaysia. Private universities are also gaining a reputation for international quality education and students from all over the world attend these universities. In addition, four reputable international universities have set up their branch campuses in Malaysia since 1998. A branch campus can be seen as an 'offshore campus' of the foreign university, which offers the same courses and awards as the main campus. Both local and international students can acquire these identical foreign qualifications in Malaysia at a lower fee. The foreign university branch campuses in Malaysia are: Monash University Malaysia CampusCurtin University of Technology Sarawak CampusSwinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus and University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.

Students also have the option of enrolling in private tertiary institutions after secondary
studies. Most institutions have educational links with overseas universities especially in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, allowing students to spend a portion of their course duration abroad as well as getting overseas qualifications.

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