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General Information
The Federation of Malaysia comprises of Peninsular Malaysia, and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Geographic Location
Situated between 2º and 7º to the North of the Equator line, Peninsular Malaysia is separated from Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. In the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia lies Thailand, and in the south, neighbouring Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak are bounded by Indonesia while Sarawak also shares borders with Brunei.

329,758 square km

27.56 million

Capital City
Kuala Lumpur

Malays comprise 57% of the population, while the Chinese, Indian and Bumiputeras and other races make up the rest of the country's population.

(Bahasa Melayu)Malay is the national language in use, but English is widely spoken. The ethnic groups also converse in the various languages and dialects.

Islam is the official religion of the country, but other religions are widely practiced.

Malaysia follows the bicameral legislative system, adopting a democratic parliamentary. The head of the country is the King or the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, a position which is changed every five years among the Malay Sultanates. The head of government is the Prime Minister.

The country experiences tropical weather year-round. Temperatures are from 21ºC (70ºF) to 32ºC (90ºF). Higher elevations are much colder with temperatures between 15°C (59° F) to 25°C (77°F). Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm.

Post Offices
Open from 8.00am to 5.00pm daily except Sundays and public holidays. In Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu post offices are closed on Fridays and public holidays.

Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard

Voltage is 220 - 240 Volt AC at 50 cycles per second. Standard 3- pin square plugs and socket.

Weights and Measures
Malaysia follows the metric system in weights and measures.

Local calls can be made from public phones using coins or pre-paid cards. International calls can be made from public phones with card phone facilities or at any Telekom offices.

Getting There
The main gateway to Malaysia is through the new KL International Airport at Sepang located approximately 50 km south of Kuala Lumpur. The Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah in Subang serves a few domestic and regional airlines. Other major international airports which serve as entry points are Penang, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi The main entry point by sea to KL is at Port Klang about 50 km away from KL. Malaysia is also accessible by rail and road from Singapore and Thailand

Getting Around

Malaysia has excellent domestic airlinks and a well developed and effective public transportation system served by buses, taxis and trains Accommodation Malaysia has a wide range of accommodation at competitive rates. International standard hotels, medium and budget hotels, youth hostels and timeshare apartments are just some of the types of accommodation available. Privately operated motor-homes are also available for rental.

There is a strong interlink between the country's multi-racial and multicultural make-up with its history. Besides the local Malays and the native groups, immigrants from China, India, Indonesia and other parts of the world have all contributed to the multiracial composition of its population. Its interesting cultural diversity can be largely attributed to the country's long and on-going interaction with the outside world and colonial rule by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British. Consequently the evolution of the country into a cultural melting pot is evident in the unique blend of socio-cultural activities and traditions, dressing, languages and food. The country achieved independence on August 31,1957 as the Federation of Malaysia and subsequently with the entry of Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia was formed.

The unit of currency is the Malaysian Ringgit indicated as RM. Foreign currencies can be converted at banks and money changers. The country's regulation requires all travelers to declare the amount of local and foreign currencies in their possession on arrival into and departure from Malaysia. A Travelers Declaration Form (TDF) can be obtained from any Malaysian Embassy, High Commission, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Office and all entry/exit points in Malaysia.

Non-resident travelers entering Malaysia is permitted to import up to a maximum amount of RM 1,000 only and any amount of foreign currencies. Conversely, they are permitted to export an amount of RM 1,000 only and foreign currencies not more than what was originally brought into the country.

Resident travelers are permitted to import Ringgit notes up to RM 1,000 and any amount of foreign currencies. However, they are permitted to export an amount of RM1,000 and foreign currencies up to an equivalent of RM10,000 only. Prior approval is required for the import and export of Malaysian Ringgit and the export of foreign currency for an amount over and above what is permitted.

Banking Hours
Most states: Mon - Fri: 9.30am - 4.00pm. Sat: 9.30 am - 11.30 am .
Sun: closed . Kedah, Kelantan & Terengganu: Sat-Wed: 9.30am - 4.00pm & Thur: 9.30am 11.30am . Fri: closed.

When visiting Malaysia, the visitor should observe local customs and practices. Some common courtesies and customs are as follows.

Although handshakes generally suffice for both men and women, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge an introduction with a gentleman with a nod and a smile. A handshake is only to be reciprocated if the lady offers. The traditional greeting or 'salam' resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend's outstretched hands, then brings his hands to his chest to mean "I greet you from my heart". The visitor should reciprocate the 'salam'.

  • Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home
  • Tea/Coffee is generally offered to guests. It would be polite to accept.
  • The right hand is always used when eating with one's fingers or when giving and receiving objects.
  • The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Pointing with the thumb of the right hand with the four fingers, folded under is the preferred usage
  • Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such as mosques and temples.
  • Some mosques provide robes and scarves for female visitors. Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask for permission first
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