Is Malaysia an unusual country
Malaysia at a glance
“Malaysia, truly Asia” - with this catchy slogan, the emerging Southeast Asian country is attracting visitors all over the world. And with great success, as the tourist numbers show. It is a country that is easy to travel to, that has a reputation for being safe and stable. Especially those who are on their own will appreciate the hospitality of the Malaysians.
The contrasts in the country are amazing: economic dynamism everywhere, Petronas` famous sky-storming twin towers, IT business, highways, noble seaside resorts - and the rainforest begins seamlessly, a biodiversity unfolds like hardly any other on the planet, attract dream beaches, giant trees, Animal worlds, puzzling sounds, numbing smells, fascinates a colorful, multilingual mixture of peoples with all its cultural peculiarities, religious messages, culinary preferences. It's no wonder to meet so many visitors from Singapore who are only too happy to escape their sterile glass palace canyons, the much-vaunted safety and cleanliness, in order to finally experience “truly Asia” in the neighboring country. More than half of Malaysia's visitors come from Singapore.
Market in Kelantan, Northern Malaysia
© Chee-Onn Leong - Fotolia.com
On the way to the west of Malaysia
Anyone who disembarked in Singapore and could not gain too much from the glittering palaces and frozen shopping malls, nor did they become conspicuous (no chewing gum spat out, no cigarette butt thrown away), will sooner rather than later find themselves in the rental car on the "Johor-Singapore Causeway" find again, the 1,056 m long roadway that connects Singapore's suburban town Woodlands with Malaysia's southernmost city, Johor Bahru. On the North-South Expressway it is now a brisk ride through endless oil palm forests and along well-tended rubber and pineapple plantations, which we call Malacca, the English call it Malacca. It is a historical place, located on the extremely important waterway named after him ("Straits of Malacca"), originally a pirate's nest, since the 15th century an important trading center in which the Dutch, Portuguese, English and Chinese have fierce competition when exchanging Goods delivered between the eastern and western world. The cultures of the Malay Peninsula, India and China met European worlds here. A multicultural coexistence began, which is still reflected in the cityscape today. Mosques, Buddhist temples, churches, Hindu temples, the Stadthuys built by the Dutch, a Portuguese fortress and many other buildings are stone witnesses to a great past. Melaka has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008.
The 870 km² Endau-Rompin National Park is located off the expressway, only to be reached on narrow roads and rutted slopes. It can only be explored in the company of a ranger who knows what the giant butterflies are called and where a herd of elephants is, the rare Sumatran rhinoceros or one of the few tigers left. He knows the locations of botanical rarities, the endemic, gigantic fan palm, for example, or the countless species of orchids, and he knows the language of the indigenous Orang Asli, the "original people", as the literal translation means, descendants of the indigenous people of the Malay peninsula who live in this lowland rainforest Earn a hidden, arduous life.
Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur
© iNNOCENt - Fotolia.com
Back to the 21st century, according to. The Twin Towers are already waving over from a great distance and when you get closer you get the uncomfortable feeling, like in Singapore, of seeing your way through boring, clinically clean shopping malls again, but things turn out differently. There are still shacks here, food stalls unabashedly spread their scents, sales carts and small transport trolleys scrape past BMWs, magnificent colonial buildings defend their traditional place against the advancing high-rise fronts. They have consciously retained their character and local color and resisted the trend of simply erasing the old, as in Singapore and other boomtowns. There is still a lively Chinatown with crouched, weather-tanned houses and cheap hotels and even cheaper restaurants. You can marvel at architecture in the English Tudor style or the Moorish style elements of the Sultan-Abdul-Samad Building, built in 1897 and once the seat of the British colonial administration. The main train station, which opened in 1910, combines western and eastern architectural styles and the Central Market is in Art Deco style. In 1928 the National Palace (Istana Negara) was built as the king's residence. Also worth seeing is the Malaysian national mosque (Masjid Negara) built in reinforced concrete in 1965, which offers space for 15,000 worshipers. Between parks, pagodas, mosques and temples, there is plenty of space for markets and cookshops, teahouses, boutiques and hawkers and those who want modern shopping centers will not have to look far.
The expressway takes us further north. Past rice fields and tropical rainforest and through seemingly endless oil palm plantations. The destination on this day is the Cameron Highlands, formerly a popular retreat for heat-plagued colonial men and women. Up here, around 1,500 m above sea level, they set up their "Hill Stations". Where today hotels have such flowery names as Casa de la Rosa, Rainbow Garden or Strawberry Park, it is still easy to live, celebrate, play a little tennis or golf, maybe even hike over rolling hills. Tea thrives particularly well at this altitude. This is how the center of Malaysian tea cultivation arose on the high plateaus. Many types of vegetables are also planted here in large quantities.
Tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands © Sam D'Cruz - Fotolia.com
The 4,343 km² Taman Negara National Park extends east of the Highlands. It is one of the oldest lowland and hill rainforests on earth, a lush, green tropical paradise, crossed by rivers, foamed by waterfalls and rapids, with an unimaginably diverse flora and fauna - a complex ecosystem that has become rare on the planet. Malaysia's oldest nature reserve is home to around 14,000 species of trees and plants. In the lowlands, the evergreen, species-rich dipterocarps form an almost impenetrable jungle, above, from around 750 m, oaks, conifers, rattan and dwarf palms combine to form light mountain forests, and above this zone, from around 1,500 m, only the dwarfed "cloud forests" thrive. Sumatran rhinos and Asian elephants live hidden, numerous primate species romp through the treetops, herds of water buffalo roam around, the ranger recognizes the tiger's tracks in the soft shore sand, porcupines rumble in the undergrowth. Several campsites have been set up, huts and simple bungalows are also available. Tours through the park are only possible with local guides. They accompany visitors to fishing spots or high seats and explore limestone caves with them. The canopy walkways are exciting and not for visitors with the faint of heart. These are swaying, tiny, narrow suspension bridges that are stretched over the terrain at a height of 40 m and allow unusual perspectives on animals and plants.
The ride goes down at breakneck speed to sea level. A short visit is made to the ecologically important and well-developed mangrove reserve of Kuala Sepetang and then the large tourist island of Penang is approached via the 14 km longest bridge in Southeast Asia. This “melting pot” of cultures was called the “Pearl of the Orient” soon after it was founded in the 18th century by the British East India Company to equip ships for the arduous onward journey and to handle spices as well as tea and cotton. A good part of the past is still alive here, especially in the main town, Georgetown, with its colonial houses in old streets. Bustling street life awaits the visitors, vegetable markets, food stalls, believers in front of temples and churches, playing pieces of the Mah-Jongg game clacking at every corner, you can hear hammering and sawing from handicraft businesses, plates rattling in tiny restaurants. The whole thing is framed by Victorian architecture, by Malay, Indian or Chinese shop facades, Buddhist shrines, mosques, Hindu temples, Anglican places of worship. This is historical diversity, well preserved like nowhere else in Southeast Asia and therefore put on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites together with the previously visited Melaka.
Penang's local patriots are indifferent to one point. Nowhere, they self-confidently claim, can one dine better in this country than on their home island, namely on Gurney Drive, where the open-air gourmet temples are lined up and promising scents waft around the noses of passers-by. Everything that Malaysia's cuisine has to offer can be found here and only in the best quality, from irresistibly aromatic to juicy and luscious, from hellishly hot to wonderfully spicy. For example the Malaysian cuisine. She prefers local ingredients such as coconut, chilli, lemongrass, lime greens, turmeric, prepared with fish or meat and vegetables. One of the favorites is “satay”, meat marinated in turmeric, put on skewers and roasted over the charcoal grill, accompanied by a peanut dip. Nyonya cuisine is something very special, namely a combination of Malay and Chinese cooking ideas that go back to the time of the Sultanate of Malacca, when Chinese traders married into Malay families. What is striking here is the care and expenditure of time and a preference for sharp roots such as galangal, turmeric and ginger, for aromatic leaves from pandanus and kaffir lime, for shallots, lemongrass and light nuts. Chinese cuisine occupies a weighty place among the country's culinary traditions. Everything has to be right here: color, fragrance, taste, presentation. And these ingredients are essential: soy, gluten, mushrooms, algae, ginger, garlic, chilli, rice wine, sesame oil, soy sauce and of course rice. Indian gastronomy is represented with several regional varieties. Her creations are characterized by delicious aromas and fiery flavors. These include rich, thick sauces and curries, rice, meat and fish, ennobled by unique spice mixtures (favorites: cinnamon, star anise, cumin, fenugreek) and a wide variety of cooking methods. One more word about Thai cuisine, which is widespread in the northern federal states bordering on the neighboring country. Flavors are sweet, sour, hot, spicy. The dishes are cooked by gently steaming or stirring them in pans and the flavors are provided by coriander and spring onions, tamarind and lime, lemongrass, coconut milk and kaffir lime.
Kedah and Perlis, Malaysia's deep green and at harvest time golden “rice bowl provinces”, border Thailand. The 99 islands of the popular holiday destination of the Langkawi Archipelago lie off its coast. The Malaysians love this island world, which presents everything their heart desires in a manageable space. The water is crystal clear, the sandy beach with palm trees in the background couldn't be finer-grained and whiter, three golf clubs promise sophisticated sport life and first-class hotels line the beach, including one that belongs to the group of "Leading Hotels of the World" and is luxurious The numerous duty-free shopping centers are also tailored. On boat tours you can get to know the bizarre limestone formations, the river and jungle landscapes or stroll through caves with local people and diving enthusiasts can venture into exciting underwater areas.
A completely different world awaits visitors to Malaysia's pristine east coast. Terms such as “laid-back” and “life stands still” aptly describe the character of this remote region, where the old Malaysian culture is still very much alive and the day's work in the picturesque villages takes its course leisurely and embedded in traditions. There are beautiful beaches and at least three pearls in the South China Sea that are well worth a visit, small islands, true South Sea dreams (only not during the heavy monsoon rains between November and January!), Bordered by white powder-sand beaches and covered inside by a dense jungle, surrounded by coral reefs and a species-rich underwater world. Perhentian is the name of one island, about 20 km off the coast, Redang (25 km) the other. Tioman is the third and most famous. It is about 50 km from the mainland. Unlike the coastal region, the islands are now well developed for tourism and are popular holiday destinations. You can choose between simple and luxurious beach resorts. Diving and snorkeling are the most popular leisure activities in an intact marine world.
In Sarawak and Sabah on Borneo
The two parts of Malaysia are 650 km apart. Those who fly over from Kuala Lumpur will usually be able to gather their first impressions of Borneo in Sarawak's capital Kuching. On the streets and markets, in front of mosques and temples and in the shadow of British colonial architecture, one encounters a mixture of peoples that one does not see on the peninsula. In addition to Malays and relatively few Indians, but many Chinese as well as Arabs and Europeans, you will meet members of the indigenous Dayak peoples. Often there are Iban and Bidayuh, more rarely tribal members of the Melanau and Kelabit and these are only four of the at least 21 ethnic groups in Sarawak. This largest state in Malaysia, the "land of the hornbill" and the pristine rainforests still holds many secrets, as is shown again and again when previously unknown plants are discovered and animals are tracked down that no one has seen before. And it is the land of the “forest people”, the orangutans, our close relatives, for whom there are three protected areas and a “training camp” in which abandoned or injured animals are trained for life in the jungle. One of these protected areas is called Semenggoh and can be reached from Kuching. The highlight of an excursion through Sarawak is a visit to an Iban jungle village. There are tour operators for this, because on your own you would be lost in the jungle. The local guides are very familiar with the confusing terrain and maintain regular contact with the people in the distant jungle villages. And so the dugout canoe for many hours upstream through the rainforest until one of the traditional Iban longhouses built as stilts comes into view. The formerly notorious headhunters still live very originally, but are open and exceptionally hospitable and happy to give us fascinating insights into their strange life in the jungle.
In an Iban village on Borneo © Jj - Fotolia.com
Another highlight is in the very east of Sarawak. It is the Gunung Mulu National Park, which was placed on the World Heritage List in 2000, a terrain full of natural phenomena, which extends over 17 vegetation zones, includes lowland rainforest as well as mountain rainforest and is one of the richest areas in the world in palm species and genus. It is the most intensively explored tropical karst area in the world with 295 km long limestone cave systems, including the largest known cave chamber on earth, the Sarawak Chamber, which measures 80 m from floor to ceiling, is 600 m long and 415 m wide In the Deer Cave alone there are around three million bulldog bats and in a neighboring cave several million of the cave salangans, a small species of bird from the sailor family. The local cave fauna is estimated to be over 200 species. 270 species of birds, including 24 endemic, 55 reptile and 76 amphibian species were identified in this laboratory of nature. The so-called “pinnacles”, sharp and pointed rock needles, which with a height of 50 m and more tower above even the highest treetops, are a curiosity in the karst.
more about: World Heritage Sites in Malaysia
Sabah on the north-eastern tip of Borneo is known as the "Land under the Wind" because it lies south of the Pacific typhoon belt. In large parts of this Malaysian state is characterized by forested, grandiose landscapes, although here too the oil palm plantations seem to be advancing inexorably. But the rainforests and their abundance of animals are still the great attraction for the not very numerous visitors. The chances are good to see orangutans and huge butterflies, hundreds of species of orchids, carnivorous plants, the red rafflesia flower that reaches almost 1 m in diameter.
© Ulrike Akliros - Fotolia.com
Kota Kinabalu, a bustling, bustling city of half a million, is the country's metropolis.Destroyed in the war, then rebuilt carelessly, it has only been given a little flair in recent years through pretty pedestrian zones, markets and street cafes. The local Sabah Museum, which tells of everyday life and the eventful history and introduces the indigenous peoples, is well worth a visit. Thirty-two in total speak 80 different languages and dialects. The 4,095 m high granite walls of Mount Kinabalu tower over the city as an unmistakable landmark. Below the steep flanks of the giant mountain, the rainforest of the national park of the same name is green. Those who do not want to climb the highest peak between the Himalayas and New Guinea - it is climbed in two days and is considered an easy tour - can visit the terrain from many viewing platforms and "Canopy Walkways" and look for relaxation in the "Poring Springs", a thermal spring . The Mount Kinabalu National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000 thanks to its biodiversity and high endemism, its unusual topographical, climatic and geological conditions. Its habitats range from tropical lowlands to tropical mountain forests to subalpine forests and in the summit region it is wind-disheveled, evergreen dwarf shrubbery. Kinabalu is an important center of plant diversity with 5,000 to 6,000 vascular plants, including around 1,000 orchid species and over 600 fern species. The fauna is also unusually diverse, with 326 species of birds and 112 species of mammals counted.
From Kota Kinabalu, it's a 45-minute flight to Sandakan. Nearby is the release station for orangutans, Sepilok, a huge area of 42 km², on which orangutan orphans raised in captivity or young orphans are prepared for their future life in the wild. In Sandakan you can plan excursions to the small island of Siligan, a sanctuary for turtles, and to the dream island of Lankayan in the Sulu Sea with white beaches and casuarina trees that sway in the wind and have branches like horsetail. Corals, reefs, steep walls and a breathtaking abundance of exotic sea creatures make the hearts of divers and snorkelers beat faster - here as in many other diving areas around Sabah. Outstanding among them is Layang Layang, which rises to the surface as a coral atoll from the bottom of the South China Sea, which is 2,000 m deep here. It is said to be one of the “top ten dive locations in the world” with water temperatures of up to 30 degrees and underwater visibility of up to 60 m, and there are whole schools of barracudas and hammerhead sharks to be seen. Seahorses and their relatives, the pipefish, soar by. One encounters stingrays, manta rays and eagle rays and many species of shark such as the gray reef shark, the leopard shark and the silver tip shark.
More about Malaysia
A city called KL. Kuala Lumpur - Boomtown between the day before yesterday and the day after tomorrow
Impressions from a colorful land of contrasts
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General travel information and current Entry requirements as well as notes on security and medical care can be found on the following pages of the Foreign Office (Berlin): Foreign Office
From Frankfurt / Main, Lufthansa operates five times a week via Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Flight time approx. 15.5 hours. From Singapore, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines take over the passengers for the final stage in the Malaysian metropolis.
Malaysia Airlines serve dozens of airports on the domestic mainland and the islands from Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia is also giving it fierce competition on international routes. Berjaya Air, a regional company, has established itself on the market as a sophisticated charter company. Malaysia has a lot to offer railroad fans. It runs a continuous connection from Singapore via Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok in Thailand. The rolling stock is good, including the dining and sleeping cars. Railway freaks should definitely take the "Rainforest Railway" from the main town of Kota Kinabalu to Tenom in the state of Sabah in northern Borneo and those who have a lot of money in their pockets and a dinner jacket, tie and cocktail dress in their suitcase will take a trip on board the famous Eastern & Oriental Express can hardly turn down. You will get on in Singapore or in Kuala Lumpur, cross Malaysia from south to north, interrupt the tour for a sightseeing in the Malaysian colonial city of Georgetown, visit the Thai River Kwai and reach Bangkok on the afternoon of the third day. Express buses - they run between all federal states - offer comfortable travel options, quick, clean, inexpensive, on time. The collective taxes are inexpensive and quick. Rental cars are available in almost all cities and at airports. In Malaysia people drive on the left! The road network is good, the North-South Expressway, which crosses the entire peninsula, is outstanding, with rest areas, restaurants, shops and prayer rooms for Muslims.
Malaysia Time (MYT) is seven hours ahead of Central European Time and Central European Summer Time by six hours.
The Malaysian national currency is called ringgit. 1 ringgit = 100 sen (cents). There are ATMs in almost all cities, much less often in rural areas. Withdrawing money with credit cards is possible without any problems, more and more often with the EC card (Maestro, Cirrus) at appropriately marked machines. Common credit cards are generally accepted for cashless payments in hotels, better restaurants and shopping malls.
220 V, 50 Hz. An adapter is necessary as three-pin sockets are common.
The state of Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia. It includes the southern part of the Malay Peninsula and the north of the island of Borneo. The west of the Malay Peninsula borders the busy Malacca waterway, opposite is the large Indonesian island of Sumatra, and the east of the peninsula overlooks the South China Sea. In the south there is a common maritime border with Singapore. The other part of the country, consisting of the two federal states of Sarawak and Sabah in northern Borneo, is washed around by the South China Sea, by the Sulu and Celebes Seas and bordered in the south by the land masses of the larger, Indonesian part of Kalimantan, such as the Indonesian Borneo call. The state of Sarawak encloses the small sultanate of Brunei Darussalam.
Malaysia covers 329,758 km². Vietnam is of comparable size in Asia and Finland in Europe. For comparison: The Federal Republic of Germany has an area of 357,020 km². 40% of the area is on the peninsula (= West Malaysia), 60% on East Malaysia in northern Borneo, of which 38% on Sarawak and 22% on Sabah.
Wide alluvial basins, partly overgrown with mangroves, partly used for agriculture, accompany the western coasts. Sandy beaches are mainly found on the east coast of the peninsula. Wooded mountain ranges running in a north-south direction characterize the landscape in the inland. With the Gunung Tahan (2,187 m) they reach their highest point. In East Malaysia, too, there are extensive alluvial plains in front of the coastal fringe, which merge into hill country, plateaus and valleys. In the east the mountainous country towers up to the Banjaran Crocker, a mountain range that reaches to heights of 4,095 m (Gunung Kinabalu), the highest peak in Malaysia and all of Southeast Asia.
Malaysia is located near the equator. The climate is correspondingly hot and rainy. With only insignificant seasonal fluctuations, the temperatures reach 30 - 32, sometimes 34 degrees and do not fall below 22 - 20 degrees at night. The humidity is high. It is usually over 80%. The precipitation, which is controlled by the northeast and southwest monsoons, is abundant. Malaysia's east coast and the offshore islands shouldn't be visited because of the heavy monsoon rains in the period from November to February, but the west of the peninsula is easy to travel to at any time of the year with only a moderate tendency to showers. Rain showers are a part of Borneo - sometimes more, sometimes less. The local tour operators provide reliable information about the regional characteristics of the climate. As a rule of thumb: in the lowlands of both parts of the country up to 3,000 mm of rain can fall, in the mountainous highlands up to 6,000 mm.
Malaysia has a wide range of very different ecosystems and it surprises with an overwhelming biodiversity. Almost 20% of the world's animal species are native to this area, although Malaysia only comprises 0.002% of the land mass. And the diversity of plants (more than 50,000 species) even exceeds that of animals! Not only local scientists consider the Gunung Kinabalu National Park to be the most biodiverse area on our planet. One explanation for the biodiversity is the old age of the rainforests. Since they existed, i.e. for around 130 million years, Malaysia's plants and animals have been able to develop without any dramatic collapse. The rainforests here and in neighboring Indonesia are the oldest on earth. When the sea level fell by 120-130 meters, the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra and Java were united into one land mass during the last Ice Age. So there was a land bridge to the Asian mainland, which allowed animals and plants to migrate far. Significant ecosystems in Malaysia are the lowland rainforest (up to an altitude of around 1,000 m), the mangrove forest and swamp (at sea level), heather vegetation, mountain oak forest, mountain forest and cloud forest with their own life forms. The lowland rainforest has the greatest biodiversity, where the family of 70 species of evergreen wing fruit trees (Dipterocarpaceae) dominates the vegetation. Characteristic: their mighty buttress roots that increase stability. A giant, the Tualang tree, is native here. It spreads its crowns at a height of more than 50 m, in which the Asiatic rock bee's combs are often up to 2 m long. The Malaysian nature produces 850 species of orchids alone, the carnivorous pitcher plants, the red rafflesia, whose flowers with a diameter of 1 m are unsurpassed in the vegetable kingdom. 280 species of butterflies were counted, 150 species of amphibians and around 300 species of reptiles, including cobra, viper and python. Many beaches are used by sea turtles to lay their eggs. The green turtle, the hawksbill turtle and the olive ridged turtle are regular visitors to the coastal fringe, whereas the giant leather-backed turtle has become rare in recent years. The Asian elephant has become rare and there are probably only a few dozen animals left of the comparatively small, two-horned Sumatran rhinoceros. In order to ensure their survival and that of other endangered animal species, national parks, protection zones and “nursing stations” were created across the board, which enjoy a good reputation worldwide as professional animal welfare institutions. The largest living representative of the cattle family, the Gaur, more precisely: the Malaia-Gaur, which the locals call Seladang and the Malay tapir, which can weigh up to 450 kg, is not at risk. Pangolin and bearded pig, giant rat and the world's largest cockroach rummage through the rotting undergrowth and where it is a little lighter, you come across tiny stag piglets, muntjac and samabar deer, wrapped bears and sun bears. And a whole armada of carnivorous hunters is watching what is going on in the thicket: tigers (maybe 100 more) and panthers, the clouded leopard with striking fur, the bengal cat (on the ground) and its relative, the marble cat, in the branches of the trees, the flat-headed cat ( it has webbed toes!), the Asiatic golden cat, civet cat and mongoose. In the tops of the giant trees, white-handed gibbons shimmy from branch to branch. Their big relatives, the Siamang, cavort nearby, and crab macaques, pig-tailed macaques and the crested langurs, which are related to monkeys, are noisy foraging. Only in Borneo do the endangered orangutans swing on the branches in their safe protected areas or rearing stations and only here are the bizarre proboscis monkeys, which the Malays formerly called "orang belanda" (Dutch) because of its spherical belly and drooping nose. Colugos are tree-dwelling mammals of 35 - 40 cm in length that are capable of gliding and are somewhat reminiscent of bats. And dozens of species of them are represented with millions of specimens each. The number of bird species in Malaysia is estimated at 740. Among them, the hornbill is one of the most striking. It is represented with nine subspecies, including the double hornbill, which reaches 1.50 m, and the rhinoceros hornbill, which only occurs in Borneo. Drongos and bulbüls, honey suckers and birds of paradise, bearded birds and weaver birds are other exotic species that are often seen and with a little luck you will even see the extremely rare humped stork and the oriental darter.
The federal state of Malaysia is a constitutional (i.e. constitutionally bound) parliamentary-democratic electoral monarchy. The head of state, the king, is elected for a term of five years by the nine regional hereditary rulers (sultans) from their ranks. This happened in autumn 2016, when Muhammad V, Sultan of Kelantan, was elected and sworn in as King of Malaysia. The bicameral parliament (House of Representatives with 222 members elected by majority vote) and the Senate (70 members, 40 of which are appointed by the King) try to shape political events under difficult conditions. The country's democratic structures are underdeveloped and therefore functionally weak. There is a lack of transparency, control and independence. An example is the case of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has been in power since 2009 and is apparently involved in the financial scandals surrounding the state development fund "1MDB". The enormous sum of 681 million dollars was discovered in his private account, "a gift from the Saudi Arabian royal family", as Razak claimed, but from Riyadh it was said that there was "no knowledge of such a gift". It was clear to Transparency International that “Malaysia has a corruption problem,” said its chairman, José Ugaz. According to Human Rights Watch, Malaysia has "a culture of fear," with political activists, lawyers, journalists "arrested using vaguely worded laws," and Reporters Without Borders ranked Malaysia 145th out of 180 in the 2017 press freedom ranking Countries. The harmonious coexistence that is often claimed in the multi-ethnic state of Malaysia is becoming increasingly unbalanced and tensions are increasing. Contrary to previous habits, taboo topics such as the role of Islam in public life are now being discussed, especially among the strong Chinese and Indian minorities. You and other people affected complain that the Islamic traditions and codes of conduct that have been promoted by the government for years "are leading to a progressive Islamization of society, the state and the judiciary". The social "balance of power" that has been maintained over the years, according to which the Muslim Malays dominate politics, while the Chinese and Indians dominate the economic sector, is no longer a tacit future model.
The Department of Information of the Ministry of Communication and Multimedia put the population of Kuala Lumpur at 1,768,000 in 2015. According to the ministry, 7.2 million people lived in the metropolitan area of Kuala Lumpur that year.
In 2015, the same authority determined that Malaysia had a total population of 30.5 million, 15.5 million of whom are Malays, 3.6 million are so-called Bumiputera (this term comprises ethnic groups that are considered to be native to the country), 6 .6 million Chinese, 2.0 million Indians and 2.4 million non-Malaysian citizens. The annual population growth is between 1.3 and 1.5%.
Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) is the national and official language. English is widely used as a lingua franca and education. Chinese, Indian and Thai dialects as well as various indigenous languages are also spoken.
Sunni Islam as the religion of the majority of the population (59.08% / 2015) enjoys the special protection of the state. According to international observers, Malaysia has all the characteristics of an Islamic state. Human rights organizations criticize the discrimination against atheists. Malaysian cabinet members said: "The freedom of religion is not the freedom from religion". Buddhists make up 19.71% of the total population, Christians 9.03%, Hindus 6.88%, traditional Chinese religions 3.10%.
When Malaysia was part of the British Empire, its tin and rubber resources were considered gold mines by the British. After gaining independence, the company successfully converted from a raw material supplier to an industrial location and rose to become an emerging country with high development potential. In 2016, the country was ranked 59th out of 188 countries according to the criteria of the UN Human Development Index (HDI), making it one of the “highly developed countries”. The self-imposed goal is the rapid ascent into the ranks of the "high income countries".Due to considerable increases in income and pensions, private demand has increased significantly. The unemployment rate is around 3%. The growth sectors include the food and luxury food industry, the textile sector, and information and communication. Other growth areas are the construction industry due to numerous public construction contracts (roads, power plants, bridges, railways), the wood industry and the manufacture of electronic goods with a high export share (solar cells, microchips). Only 12% of the workforce is employed in agriculture, compared with 18% in manufacturing. 9% work in the construction sector, but around 60% work in the service sector. Malaysia remains one of the world's largest producers of palm oil and rubber. Pre-processed palm oil products are mainly exported, while the rubber harvests are mainly used in the country for the company's own tire industry and as latex products for medical care. Tourism is specifically promoted under the slogan “Malaysia Truely Asia”. From 2012 to 2016, the number of overnight visitors (tourists) ranged between 25.0 and 27.4 million, most of them from neighboring Asian countries. Between 1.1 and 1.4 million visitors came to the country from Europe during this period, and between 320,000 and 400,000 from the American continent.
Why the orangutan doesn't speak
Islands? White sand beach? Palm trees? Turquoise blue sea? Snorkeling like in an aquarium? The whole tourist range? - Everything available in Malaysia! But our author Judith Weibrecht mainly looked around at the people. Read her impressions from a colorful land of contrasts here. More...
Kuala Lumpur - boom town between the day before yesterday and the day after tomorrow
The streets and sidewalks are like leaks. No trash, no chewing gum lying around here. On every corner, men and women with straw hats act as brisk sweeps and swing the brush. While the main axes of Kuala Lumpur, the pulsating capital of Malaysia, threaten to succumb to a traffic gridlock almost around the clock, motorcyclists whiz along between the barely moving cars. Three or four people on a two-wheeler are not uncommon. Many bikers wear jackets the wrong way round. The zipper or buttons point to the back to divert the warm wind. More...
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