Hello there. 'Selamat Datang ke Malaysia'. This is a way of saying, "Welcome To Malaysia in our nation's dialect, Bahasa Malaysia. It would be impossible to give you all the information about Malaysia in this brief time, but I will give you a general idea. People One thing you'll be most interested in about Malaysia is the people and their culture. Being an ethnically diverse, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual nation of 28 million is not an easy task in a country where race continues to be a hotly debated issue and is evident in all aspects in Malaysian life. The Malaysian population is comprised of 62% Bumiputeras comprising Malays and Indigenous peoples with 24% Chinese, 8percent Indians, and the rest are the other minorities. Or as we say in Malaysia"lain-lain" or any other. In the case of citizenship, East Malaysia or the states hyderabad news accident of Sabah and Sarawak are slightly different from citizenship in Peninsular Malaysia for immigration purposes. When West Malaysians visit East Malaysia, they are obliged to carry their MyKad the biometric smart chip identity card, which must be carried by citizens of Malaysia whenever they travel. The Malays comprise the largest communityin Malaysia, and they are defined to be Muslims in the Constitution of Malaysia- in other words, if Malay then you're automatically Muslim. The Malays are the biggest brothers in politics, ruling the political landscape. Their mother tongue is Malay that is the national language of the nation. They are sometimes referred to as "bumiputra' or "princes of the soil' and are favoured with certain affirmative action policies. It has been a source of contention for a lot of minorities. For instance, receiving an average of 10% to 25 percent discount on a house and receiving government grants and tenders are just some of the benefits. What was the process behind this? I'll give you more details in the section on economy. The next largest group is the Chinese. They're mostly Buddhists, Taoists or Christians. The Chinese community has a wide range of Chinese dialects such as Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, and Teochew- all from the native provincial provinces that are part of the family in China. However, today, a lot of Chinese speak English as their primary native language. There are some who only speak English. While the Malays have the upper hand in the political scene, the Chinese dominate the business world. There is a sizable middle class consisting of the Chinese. The third largest group are the Indians. Indians are the third largest group. Indians in Malaysia are mostly Hindu Tamils from southern India and their native language is Tamil. Of course there are other Indian communities who live in Malaysia, and they speak many dialects, including Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. Many middle to upper-middle class Indians in Malaysia also use English as their first language. There's also a vibrant community of 200,000 members. Indian Muslim community that thrives as an independent group of culture. In fact, if you get hungry in the middle late at night, probably will head to"mamaks," a kind of 24-hour restaurant that is often owned by an Indian Muslim. There is also an enormous Sikh population in Malaysia that is estimated to be over 100,000. The most populous indigenous tribe of non-Malay are Iban of Sarawak. Iban of Sarawak with a population of over 600,000. They still reside in traditional village settlements in long , secluded houses in the Rajang and Lupar rivers, though many have moved to the cities. There are also the Bidayuhs which number about 170,000, and are mainly located in the south western part of Sarawak. There are also the Kadazans, the largest indigenous tribe in Sabah and they are mostly Christian farmers. Then there are the 140,000 Orang Asli or aborigines who live within Peninsular Malaysia. Traditionally nomadic hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists Some have been absorbed into 'modern' Malaysia. Additionally, because of interracial union, there's a significant number of race groups, like the Eurasians which are the descendants of marriages with the British, Dutch and Portuguese and the locals. They speak a Portuguese-based creole, called Papia Kristang. Also, there are Eurasians of Filipino and Spanish origin, mostly from Sabah. Originating from immigrants from the Philippines There are also people who speak Chavacano, the only Spanish-based creole language in Asia. There are also Cambodians and Vietnamese which are mainly Buddhists. Then there are Thai Malaysians that make up a big part in the states that comprise northern Peninsular such as Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Kelantan and Terengganu. Alongside speaking Thai they are Buddhists, celebrate Songkran or Water festival and can speak Hokkien However, there are some who are Muslim and use Kelantan, which is the Kelantanese Malay dialect. Additionally, there are Bugis and Javanese which make up some of the people in Johor. Additionally, there have been many expatriates as well as foreigners who have chosen to make Malaysia the second country they call home, also contributing to the country's population. Then there are the Babas and Nyonyas, or Straits Chinese; descendants of Chinese who traded in the ancient city of Malacca and who later married local Malays. They mix Malay and Chinese customs in such a way as to establish a new cultural. They dress most of the time in typical Malay manner, sporting the kebaya and ketat. This is a Malay traditional costume, and they speak a specific kind of Malay, and cook food that is a mixture of the both of the cultures. Since the country is multiracial Cultural exchanges and integrations are expected. For example, this can be observed when you attend Malay wedding ceremonies, which incorporates elements of the Hindu ceremonies from southern India. The bride and groom dress in gorgeous brocades, stand in a state and then eat yellow rice with hands decorated with henna. Another reason is that Muslims as well as Hindus have adopted the Chinese custom of offering small coins in red or "ang pau" at celebrations like Aidilfitri or Deepavali. The colors of the bags vary, but the practice is the same. In Malaysia there is a wide range of activities possible to move from a kampong, or village, or a estate to an Chinese coffee shop and feel like you've seen so many different aspects of one country. Travel to the nearest Kuala Lumpur suburb and observe. A Chinese house will have the mother asking prayers and light joss sticks in honor of her ancestors. An Indian family is listening to the radio with songs from the latest Tamil popular song, while the Malay family will be getting ready to take a walk to the mosque closest to them. Racial tensions remain a difficult problem that affects all aspects of Malaysian life. Stereotypes are inevitable. They say that the Malays are slow and lazy and the Chinese are extremely greedy and prefer to gamble The Indians tend to drink a lot and often beat up their spouses. It is still heard often on the streets, most of times in a humorous manner however sometimes it is an insult. To be recognized as a race-related issue is a common practice. For instance, in job interviews, it is required for you to state your race, however this practice is gradually decreasing. When you say to a Malaysian that you saw an accident in the road, he would likely ask you if it was a Malay, an Indian, Chinese or an Indian. If you were robbed you'd likely be asked if you was a Malay or Indian. If you're payed peanuts then your boss could be Chinese. If you're a motorbike rider then you're probably Malay. If you live in a posh area then you're probably Chinese. There's a lot more to say and on, but I encourage you to investigate these stereotypes on your own! In addition to being a melting-pot of different cultures, Malaysia can also be described as an all-religious society and has Islam as the principal religion. Roughly 63 percent of the inhabitants practice Islam as well as 18 percent Buddhism; 7 percent Christianity; 6 percent Hinduism; and 2 percent of traditional Chinese religions , such as Taoism. The remaining numbers are accounted by different religions, such as Animism, Folk religion, Sikhism, while 1 percent are not religious. Although the Malaysian constitution guarantees religious freedom, Malay Muslims are obliged to follow the decisions of Syariah courts in relation to matters relating to Islam. The process of converting from Islam in Malaysia is a very controversial subject, and though it has been attempted by a handful of people, it's a process that requires long legal battles, and isn't well-received by the majority of the Muslim religious. The Islamic judges in the Syariah courts are expected to follow what is known as the Shafi`I School of Islam that is the primary religious denomination in Islam in Malaysia. The power of the Shariah court is limited only to Muslims over matters such as marriage or inheritance, apostasy, the conversion of religion, and custody. The court is not able to handle other civil or criminal offences fall under the authority that of Syariah courts. There have been some moves made by The Pan Islamic Party to implement the hudud law, also known as Islamic law. It's a lot to digest. It's important to understand the way culture, race and religion interact in Malaysia for a better understanding of Malaysian life. Now go out and see whether you recognize who's Malay, who's Chinese and who's Indian and, as we Malaysians like to call it Lain-lain or another. Economy Let's take a quick review of the Malaysian economy right now. Spice trade was a an important business in Malaysia during the reign that of Malaccan Sultanate. When the British took over the Sultanate, palm oil and rubber trees became big business. Soon, Malaysia became the world's largest producer of tin palm oil and rubber. With these three profitable products, Malaysia was poised for huge economic growth. During this time of economic growth during which the government was trying to eliminate poverty by implementing an unpopular New Economic Policy, or the NEP, after the May 13 incident of protests racial in 1969. At that time, the economies were based on race- the Malays were employed as paddy farmers, or civil servants, the Chinese owned companies, and the Indians tapped rubber trees in the rubber estates. The primary goal of the policy was to remove the relation between race and economic functions like it was in the period during the time of British. However, the New Economic Policy was laden with controversial affirmative policies that favored the Malays and was an issue of contention to this day. At the time, Malaysia was very reliant on agriculture. It was required to transition towards an economy based on manufacturing. Influenced by the Asian Tigers in the 70s, which were South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, Malaysia changed from a reliance on mining and agriculture towards an economy based on manufacturing. In the following years, Malaysia consistently achieved more than 7% growth in its GDP and had low inflation rates in the 80s and 1990s. In the present, Malaysia is home to one of the biggest computer hard disk manufacturing centers. The Asian Financial Crisis hit in the fall of 1997 and delivered a shock to Malaysia's economy. Foreign direct investments fell dramatically in the course of capital moved out of the country values of Ringgit decreased between 2.50 Ringgit versus 1 US Dollar and, at one point, 4.80 Ringgit versus 1 US Dollar. A National Economic Action Council was set up to handle the financial crisis. Bank Negara, the country's central bank, imposed capital control and set to the Malaysian currency at 3.80 for the US dollar. Malaysia was unable to accept economic aid by World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, much to the surprise of many analysts. The revival of Malaysian economy coincided with massive budget deficits and government spending during the time following the financial crisis. The country eventually saw a faster economic growth than its neighbours. Malaysia's rapid economic growth and prosperity is illustrated by the construction of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur that are the tallest twin towers in the world . It is also the headquarters of Malaysia's national oil company. While the pace of Malaysia's progress today isn't as rapid, it's believed to be more stable. Malaysia is also the largest Islamic banking and financial centre. Eventually, the fix rate for exchange rates was dropped in July 2005 in favour of a managed floating system within one hour of China announcement of the same change. In that very exact week the ringgit increased by 1 percent against major currencies and was expected to strengthen further. Presently Malaysia is classified as a country that is just becoming industrialized and , as of 2008 has a GDP per capita of 14,215 USD which puts it 48th in the world and 2nd within Southeast Asia, but lagging significantly behind its Southern neighbour, Singapore.