Malaysia - education
It is a goal of the education system to integrate the country's various
religious, ethnic, regional and linguistic groups. 16.5% of the adult population
is illiterate (1995). Public education is free, but not compulsory; at all
levels there are private schools.
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Preschool is sought by 35% (1993). The six-year primary school for
6-12-year-olds is applied for by 93%. The language of instruction is
primarily Baha'i Malaysia, but in the youngest classes
also Chinese and Tamil. The basic education is followed by a three-year and a
two-year level, which offers four lines and is applied for by 61% (1994).
Admission to the university can be obtained after a further two years of
study. There are eight universities and two other state-run higher education
OFFICIAL NAME: Persekutuan Tanah Malaysia
CAPITAL CITY: Kuala Lumpur
POPULATION: 28,330,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 329,760 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Malay or Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Tamil, Thai, others
RELIGION: Muslims 53%, Buddhists 17%, Daoists 12%, Hindus 7%, Christians 6%, others 5%
CURRENCY CODE: MYR
ENGLISH NAME: Malaysia
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Malays 57%, Chinese 25%, Indians 7%, indigenous peoples (including orang
asli, iban, dayaker) 4%, others 7%
GDP PER residents: 4434 $ (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 71 years, women 76 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.805
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 61
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .my
Malaysia, a federal state in South-East Asia, which consists of two
geographically separate areas: Western Malaysia (or Peninsular Malaysia)
on the Malacca Peninsula and the states of Sarawak and Sabah on the north
coast of Borneo. The country was formerly a British colony with a role as a
supplier to the world market of raw materials such as tin, rubber and
timber. Since the 1970's, however, Malaysia has been one of the world's fastest
growing economies with large industrial production of electronics in particular.
The population includes three major ethnic groups (Malays, Chinese and
Indians) and thus three major religions (Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism), and a
stable balance between these groups has officially been a key element in the
country's politics since independence. In reality, however, there have been
significant disparities in particular in the past, with the Malays as political
and the Chinese as economically dominant groups.
Malaysia - Constitution
Malaysia is a federal state with 13 states. The Constitution is from 1957
with amendments from 1983. The legislative power lies with a two-chamber
parliament: the Senate has 70 members, 44 of whom are appointed by the head of
state, while the rest are elected by two in each of the 13 states; The House of
Representatives has 219 members elected for five years by general election in
single-member constituencies. The Senate can only delay, not prevent the entry
into force of bills passed by the House of Representatives. The head of state is
elected for a six-year term by and from among the heirs of the nine most
important states; he appoints a Prime Minister from Parliament's largest party
or coalition and may, on his advice, dissolve the House of Representatives.
The states each have their own constitution, head of state, legislature and
government. They legislate in areas outside the realm of the federal state.
Malaysia - political parties
The Federal Government has since independence been supported by two major
party coalitions: the Alliance 1957-74 and the National Front from
1974. The alliance consisted of three ethnically based parties: the United
Malays National Organization, UMNO, Malaysian Chinese Association, MCA, and
Malaysian Indian Congress, MIC. The National Front consists of 14 parties (1996)
and is dominated by UMNO. The leading opposition parties are the Islamic Party
of Malaysia, PAS, Democratic Action Party, DAP, and Sabah United Party, PBS.
Malaysia - economy
Malaysia belongs to the group of dynamic Asian countries, which since the
early 1980's has undergone a rapid structural transformation of the economy and
at the same time experienced very high growth rates of almost 10% per year. The
Malaysian government has placed great emphasis on attracting foreign investment,
which is why economic policy has been geared towards ensuring a liberal and
stable societal development. Malaysia has worked actively to develop regional
cooperation and in 1967 was a co-founder of ASEAN, the Association of South
East Asian Nations, just as the country has been a member of APEC, Asia-Pacific
Economic Co-operation since 1989.
In the past, Malaysia was heavily dependent on its exports of raw materials,
but from the mid-1990's, exports consisted predominantly of processed goods. In
particular, the building of a high-tech industry has had a major impact on this
development. However, it has raised some concerns that there is a very high
import content in industrial exports. Therefore, the government has at times
pursued an import-substituting policy in view of the development of the balance
of payments, which in the 1990's showed large deficits. However, when Malaysia's
seventh five - year plan was adopted in 1996, it was decided to downgrade import
substitutions and instead promote export conditions.
Fiscal policy seeks to maintain the balance of public budgets, while monetary
policy must ensure that monetary conditions do not contribute to inflationary
developments. The high growth in the 1990's has led to a shortage of labor and
beginning signs of an overheating of the economy, which has been counteracted
through monetary tightening and labor market policy measures. On the other hand,
the government, which continues to control some prices, has been reluctant to
tighten fiscal policy in the interests of the future investment climate.
In 1997, a financial crisis hit most of the Far East. In a few months, the
currency lost, ringgit, about 50% of its value against the dollar, just
as the stock market collapsed, capital fled, and GDP shrank by 8% in 1998. The
currency, which had traditionally been loosely pegged to a trade-weighted basket
of currencies, was pegged to the dollar from 1998 to 2005, but has since been
"controlled floating". Exports of electronic components, especially to the
United States, helped to end the crisis, but again in 2001 a short-lived
stagnation ensued, which was countered by tax cuts. In the period 2002-05,
economic growth has been around 5% per year. Malaysia's economy is considered
strong with low inflation, debt and unemployment and solid trade and balance of
payments surpluses, but the country is heavily dependent on developments in the
investing and declining countries. In addition, Malaysia has Asia's most unequal
Malaysia's main trading partners are Singapore, the United States, China and
Japan, which together account for over half of the country's total foreign
trade. Denmark's exports to Malaysia in 2005 amounted to DKK 758 million. DKK,
while imports from there were 2030 mill. In the same year, Denmark provided
environmental assistance for DKK 45 million. kr.
Malaysia - social conditions
Malaysia has sought to pursue an active policy to reduce economic disparities
between different population groups. The World Bank has thus highlighted
Malaysia as the only country in South Asia that has been able to combine high
economic growth with a reduction in inequality both economically and in the
field of education. However, Malays (bumiputra 'sons and daughters of
the earth') still have priority for education and jobs in the public sector, and
there is a large difference in income for ethnic Chinese and Malays, just as
large regional divides still characterize the country. The social system
consists of a combination of state and private aid workers, while employers and
employees jointly finance a pension scheme.
Malaysia - health conditions
From 1970 to 1996, the average life expectancy of men increased from 60 to 70
years. The corresponding figures for women are 63 and 74 years. Infant mortality
has dropped from 45 to 13 per 1,000 live births from 1970 to 1993. In the
mid-1990's, each woman gave birth to an average of 3.4 children. The leading
causes of death in the 1990's were cardiovascular disease followed by cancer and
violent death. Most tropical diseases are under control, but malariais with
approximately 59,000 cases (1995) remain a problem in rural areas. Around 1990, the
country spent approximately 3% of GDP in health care; of which 1.3% were public
funds. The health service is well developed in the urban areas. In 1993, the
country had 0.4 doctors and 2.1 nurses per. 1000 residents, and around 1990
there were 2.4 hospital beds per. 1000 residents
Malaysia - mass media
The diversity of the press is less in Malaysia than the 33 dailies
suggest. The larger magazines are closely connected with the governing parties,
and the newspapers' publishing licenses must be renewed every year. The largest
dailies (2005) are the Chinese-language Sin Chew Jit Poh, grdl. 1929, edition
approximately 349,000, followed by the English-language Star, founded in 1971,
circulation approximately 300,000 and the Malaysian Berita Harian, grdl. 1957, edition
approximately 231,000. In addition, newspapers are published in Tamil.
Since 1990, the news agency BERNAMA (grdl. 1968) has had a monopoly. The
state Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) has two TV channels and a number of radio
channels. Radio began broadcasting in 1946, television in 1963. Both radio and
television broadcast in several languages. The first private television network,
TV3, began broadcasting in 1984. Due to the strict censorship and state control,
the Internet became a breathing space. In 2004, however, the new government set
a milder course towards the media.
Malaysia - art and architecture
Malaysian architecture includes many styles:
national, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and Western. Few buildings from before the
19th century are completely preserved, as they are built of wood; bricks and
stones first really gained ground during the 20th century.
Most of the excavated foundations for Hindu and Buddhist temples and shrines
date from the 600's - 110's.
Most impressive is the candi (combined temple and tomb monument) Bukit Bathu
Pahat (approximately 800-900-t.), Which exhibits both Mahayana Buddhist and Hindu
The oldest preserved wooden building in Malaysia is the Peringgit Mosque from
approximately 1720. Other famous wooden mosques are the Terengkera Mosque (1728) and
the Kampung Keling Mosque (1748).
The building style of the traditional Malaysian mosques is characterized by
Javanese Islamic architecture; The National Mosque (1965) in Kuala Lumpur is
among the buildings influenced by Western architecture. The architects of
several modern state institutions have sought inspiration in traditional
Apart from handwriting illustrations, the painting did not play any
significant role in Malaysia until approximately 1930, when the interest in painting
awoke with western techniques and styles as a source of inspiration.
Malaysia - literature
Literature before 1900 is a mixture of Hindu, Muslim and local tradition. It
is from the 1600's. and forward written by Muslim scholars in jawi (Arabic script
adapted to the Malay language). In tales, hikayat, and chronicles, sejarah,
the prince's power and belief in Islam were consolidated. The most famous
chronicle, Sejarah Melayu, contains the genealogy and history of the
Malacca Sultanate as well as legends, myths and poems.
The literature also includes religious works, kitab, and
Malay-Islamic legal texts such as Undang-Undang Melaka. Poetic genres
are syair (epic poems) and pantun (folk poetry with proverbial
statements). In addition, there are shadow and puppet games, wajang,
and dance and singing games of Persian-Indian origin. Abdullah
Munshi's autobiographical Hikayat Abdullah (1849) occupies a special
position due to its socially realistic content.
The first modern Malaysian novel is the story of Syed Sheihk Al-Hady
(1867-1934) Faridah Hanum from 1926, which takes place in Egypt and
reflects the influence of the reforms in the Middle East at that time. Until
World War II, however, it was the short story that dominated, for example in
newspapers such as Jawi Peranakan. The nationalist and socially critical
writers' association ASAS 50 from 1950 has been of crucial importance for the
development of modern literature.
A leading author was Keris Mas (1922-92), who for example portrayed English
colonial mentality in the short story They Do Not Understand (1959). In
multi-ethnic Malaysia, the government publishing house Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka
(DBP) has promoted literature production in Bahasa Malaysia through
magazines as well as through literary competitions.
In the social realist literature of the 1960's, A. Samad Said (b. 1935) came
up with the novel Salina (1961), an account of poverty in 1940's
Singapore, and Shahnon Ahmad (b. 1933) portrayed the lives of poor peasants in
the novel Only a Thorn (1966). Since 1970, debates about the nature of
"Islamic" and genuine "Malaysian" literature have dominated the literary scene.
The female writers have played a significant role in building Malaysian
literature. Salmi Manja's (b. 1939) novel Which Day, Which Month (1960)
and Anis Sabirin's (b. 1936) collection of short stories From Shadow to
Shadow (1966) reflect with discussions on the position of women the
cultural upheaval of the 1950's and 1960's. There is also an English-language
literature written by Chinese and Indian authors.