Malaysia Facts for Kids
Here are some interesting Malaysia facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.
- Population: 32 million people (2018)
- Capital: Kuala Lumpur with more than 7 million inhabitants, the administrative capital, however, is Putrajaya with less than 100,000 inhabitants!
- Name: Malaysia
- Motto: 'Unity is Strength'
- Government: Constitutional monarchy. Federation of 13 states and three territories. The country also has a king who is elected every five years.
- Language: Malay (Bahasa Malaysia)
- Religion: mainly Islam (60%). There are also Buddhists (20%), Christians (9%) and Hindu (6%)
- Currency: 1 Ringgit = 100 sen
- History: Signs of human settlements on the Malay Peninsula date back more than 40,000 years. The first settlers arrived from China and India around the first century AD. In the 15th century Portuguese conquered port towns such as Melaka, after this the Dutch established their rule. In the late 17th century the British ruled in the area with main settlements in Melaka, Penang and Singapore. During the second world war the Japanese invaded the country and occupied the area for three years. Malaysia gained independence in 1963.
- National Day: 31 August
- National Symbols: Malayan tiger (national animal), hibiscus (national flower)
- National Anthem: 'My Country'
To see the location of Malaysia, look for the name on the map and zoom in (click on the + sign to the left) to see the huge country centrally located in southeastern Asia.
Malaysia Geography: Overview
The country is located on the Asian continent and consists of two regions, the Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia which is Malaysian part of the island of Borneo.
Malaysia has six neighbouring countries. These are:
- Thailand to the north,
- Singapore to the south
- Indonesia on the island of Borneo and maritime border
- Brunei on the island or Borneo
Kuala Lumpur is a 7 hours flight from Dubai and 14 hours flight from Johannesburg/South Africa, 13 hours flight from London/UK and 21 hours from New York/USA.
More Geo Facts
- Malaysia covers roughly the same size in land area as the US state of New Mexico!
- Peninsular Malaysia is linked to Singapore by a causeway and a bridge.
- East Malaysia is on the island of Borneo and consists of two states: Sabah and Sarawak.
- Malaysia has hundreds of islands along the coastline. Pulau Langkawi is the biggest island of the country. Pulau means island in Malaysian.
- Malaysia's highest point is Mount Kinabalu, on the island of Borneo, with 4,095 m or 13,435 ft.
- The longest river is the Rajang river with 563km or 350ft.
- Malaysia's Mulu Caves on the island of Borneo are one of the largest cave system in the world.
- There are four UNESCO world heritage sites in Malaysia among them the towns of Melaka (also referred to as Malacca) and Georgetown (also called Penang). Find out more about the heritage sites here.
- Malaysia lies close to the equator and thus has an equatorial climate with two rainy seasons. The humidity is very high.
Tourist Attractions in Malaysia
- Kuala Lumpur: the capital city with its historic colonial buildings and the modern Petronas Twin Towers, the buzzing markets, botanical gardens and the luxurious shopping malls.
Kuala Lumpur's former court building
- Borneo's Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia. The two- or three-day trek up the mountain can be undertaken by adventurous families who come prepared. Read more.
- Penang, also called Georgetown is known as the food capital of Malaysia. The local Nonya cuisine, which includes Chinese and Malay cooking traditions is well worth a visit. The historic city with its British colonial buildings, Chinese shophouses and modern graffiti paintings is a must-see.
Read more about Penang as seen by our writing competition winner from 2017 here.
- Langkawi: an archipelago of 99 islands is located off the Malaysian north-western coastline, close also to the southernmost region of Thailand. Only four islands of the archipelago are inhabited. The main island Pulau Langkawi is known for its cable car, skybridge and beautiful beaches.
Langkawi Sky Bridge
- Cameron Highlands: these lush green rolling hills with tea plantations are located on a plateau in central Malaysia, roughly 200km (120 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur. This is one of the favourite tourist destinations in Malaysia due to its mild and cool climate, abundant wildlife and rainforests.
The economy in Malaysia is mainly driven by the rubber and palm oil industries, as well as petroleum and natural gas production. Agricultural products include palm oil, cocoa and rice. The tourism sector is also dominant in many regions.
Singapore, China, the USA and Japan are the country's main export and import partners. Malaysia exports mainly palm oil, petroleum and liquefied natural gas as well as electrical appliances, wood products and textiles. It mainly imports electronics, plastics, vehicles and machinery.
Modern Kuala Lumpur - image by Andrey Paltzev
Major Malaysia cities are Kuala Lumpur its twin sister Petaling Jaya and others such as Georgetown, Ipoh, Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu.
Malaysia People and Languages
Almost 60% of the population are Malay or indigenous people. While 21% are Chinese and 6% are Indian.
80% majority of Malaysians live on the Peninsula which only occupies only about 40% of the land area. Malaysian cities are quite modern and have shiny modern skyscrapers.
Ipoh in central Malaysia
However, people in rural Malaysia are still often quite poor and only have access to basic facilities such as markets instead of shopping malls. Healthcare is also poor in many places with few clinics in larger villages or towns.
The population in rural East Malaysia lives in typical long houses.
Typical Longhouse in Borneo
Almost 44% of all Malaysians are under 24 years of age. Malaysian children go to primary school from 7 years of age and then attend school for up to 13 years until their final exams. Most kids, however, already take part in pre-school classes from the age of three.
Malaysian schoolkids - image by Sonya SooYon
The majority of Malaysians are Sunni Muslims. The largest mosque in Malaysia is the Blue Mosque in Shah Alam in Malaysia.
Blue Mosque in Shah Alam
This mosque is the second largest mosque in Asia! Shah Alam is a city near Kuala Lumpur. The largest mosque in Asia is located in Jakarta in Indonesia.
Languages in Malaysia
Bahasa Malaysia is the official language in Malaysia, but more than 112 indigenous languages are spoken in Malaysia! The most common indigenous language is Iban.
Besides English, many people speak a Chinese language (such as Hokkien or Cantonese). Tamil as well as Thai are also spoken in the northern parts of the country. Malay and English are compulsory languages in public schools. All high schools also teach Mandarin (Simplified Chinese) or Tamil classes which students can attend.
Food in Malaysia
Bananas, coconuts, cocoa, pineapples and rice are the main agricultural products in Malaysia.
Most Malaysian dishes contain: rice (called nasi)or noodles (mee), coconut, shell fish and beef, chicken, peanuts and chill.
Typical Malaysian Food
Here are some typical Malaysian foods and dishes:
- Nasi Lemak: coconut rice (rice that has been cooked in coconut milk) with boiled egg, vegetables, curried meat such as chicken or beef and sambal (chili sauce)
- Mee Goreng: Yellow fried noodle dish with chili and soy sauce and fried vegetables as well as beef or chicken strips and sometimes shrimps are added in as well.
- Beef Rendang: beef stewed in curried coconut milk and lots of spices, usually served with rice
- Asam Laksa: spicy fish stew with rice noodles and tamarind
- Murtabak: fried and folded pancake which is filled with minced meat and vegetables
- Roti John: flat pancake sandwich filled with minced meat, eggs and cheese - typical street vendor or hawker centre food
- Ice Kacang: shaved ice topped with sugary syrup in various bright colours - usually sits on a mount of red bean jelly and served with various fruits. Very sweet but delicious. It comes in many flavours!
- Rojak: fruit and vegetable mix served as salad or even in fried dough parcels that are filled with the mixed fruits and vegetables such as pineapples and cucumbers
- Goreng pisang: deep fried banana fritters sprinkled with sugar
Read more about great Malaysian recipes here
Malays use forks and knives when eating or use the right hand which is tradition with Indian Malaysians too, while Chinese Malaysians eat with chopsticks.
Malaysia is among the seventeen megadiverse countries which have an extremely high biodiversity.
Orang-Utan in Borneo
The Borneo Urang-Utan is among the most fascinating species in the world.
The Malayan tiger also inhabits the southern parts of the Malaysian Peninsula and a critically endangered species. The tiger is threatened by poaching and other human activities such as deforestation.
Malaysia Facts: Did you know…?
The island of Borneo is not only the largest island in Asia, but the third largest island in the world!
The Malaysian part of Borneo is smaller than the Indonesian part as it covers less than ⅓ of the island. The country of Brunei is surrounded by Malaysia and is the third country sharing the island.
Map of the island of Borneo
Malaysia Facts: Resources and Further Reading
Source for Malaysia Facts page:
Image Credits on Malaysia Facts: shutterstock.com and wikicommons, if not otherwise stated.
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