Malaysia is a nation of diverse cultures, races and religions. There are modern cities, among which Kuala Lumpur is ever growing outwards and upwards. These are striking contrast to idyllic resorts, historic cities such as Melaka and Penang, colonial hill resorts, longhouses of Sabah & Sarawak, and an expanse of rainforest which covers around 70% of the land area. Parts of this dense jungle are still unexplored because of their inaccessibility. Malaysia is also a land of rice paddy fields, rubber and oil palm estates, human settlements on river banks and sea shores, and high rise condominiums.
Malaysia, located in South East Asia, lies north of the equator. It consists of two parts – Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia) and East Malaysia comprising of Sabah and Sarawak (in North Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia is joined to the mainland Asia by a narrow isthmus – Isthmus of Kra. Thailand lies to the north of Peninsular Malaysia while the island of Singapore lies at its southern tip. The South China Sea (600km – 370 miles) separates Peninsular Malaysia from East Malaysia. The two parts of Malaysia covers a total land area of 127,284sq miles (329,750km). Malaysia’s name derives from its former name Malaya which comes from the name of its dominant race the Malays, and earlier still from the seventh century Kingdom of Melayu in Sumatera.
Malaysia is comprised of 13 states and 3 Federal Territories covering almost 132,000sq km. West Malaysia is comprised of 11 states – Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka (formerly known as Malacca), Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Penang, Selangor, Terengganu and Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur & Putra Jaya. Sarawak and Sabah in East Malaysia are the two largest states occupying a total land area of about 200,000 sq. km. Labuan is the other Federal Territory.
Malaysia is a nation of diverse cultures, races and religions. About 7 % of Malaysians are Christians.