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Overview

Malaysia is strategically positioned in the heart of South East Asia. Malaysia is a federation comprising the 13 states of Kedah, Perlis, Perak, Pulau Pinang (Penang), Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu, Selangor, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Sabah (formerly called British North Borneo), Sarawak, and the 3 Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya. Each state in Malaysia is either headed by a Sultan, or a Governor. The states which are headed by Royal families are Kedah, Perlis, Selangor, Kelantan, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Pahang and Terengganu. The states which are head by Governors are Melaka, Pulau Pinang, Sabah and Sarawak.

At the time of independence in 1957, there were only the 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia. Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation in 1963 with the formation of Malaysia (the name 'Malaysia' was adopted from that date), but Singapore broke away two years later.


Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Selangor, was turned into a Federal Territory on 1st February 1974. The island of Labuan in Sabah followed suit on 16th April 1984 and Putrajaya on 1st February, 2001.

Putrajaya is the new Administrative Centre of the Federal Government of Malaysia. Situated within the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), Putrajaya is set to become a model city with its sophisticated and up-to-date information network. Putrajaya will use multimedia technologies to become an electronic administrative centre. All interaction within government and the public will be conducted via electronic and multimedia channels.

Putrajaya is located along the South Growth Corridor which begins with the Kuala Lumpur City Centre in the north to the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport at Sepang. Putrajaya is just 25 kilometers away from Kuala Lumpur and 20 kilometers from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Today, Malaysia is a prominent member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

TOP 10 MALAYSIAN TRADE PARTNERS IN 2001

Ranking Country Imports (US$ mil) % Share

1 Japan 14,575 19.3

2 USA 11,991 15.9

3 Singapore 10,232 13.6

4 China 3,687 4.9

5 Korea 2,936 3.9

6 Thailand 2,907 3.9

7 Germany 2,717 3.6

8 Indonesia 2,260 3.0

9 Hong Kong 1,884 2.5

10 Philippines 1,831 2.4

11 UK 1,765 2.3

Ranking Country Exports (US$ mil) % Share

1 USA 18,055 20.2

2 Singapore 15,181 17.0

3 Japan 12,130 13.6

4 Hong Kong 4,077 4.6

5 Netherlands 4,029 4.5

6 China 3,758 4.2

7 Thailand 3,277 3.7

8 Korea 2,989 3.4

9 UK 2,304 2.6

10 Germany 2,130 2.4

Source: IMF Direction of Trade
DTI/ES Statistics

Standard of living

The standard of living in Malaysia is generally quite high. Local infrastructure is very good and property ownership almost universal.

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