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Map of Malaysia




Brief History


The Federation of Malaya became an independent country on 31 August 1957. On 16 September 1963 the federation was enlarged by the accession of the states of Singapore, Sabah (formerly British North Borneo) and Sarawak. The name ‘Malaysia’ was adopted from that date. However, Singapore left the federation on 9 August 1965.


Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy. It is a Federation of 13 states and 3 federal territories with a constitutional monarch, His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the Supreme Head of the country. Executive Authority is also vested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and exercised by a Cabinet of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. The Federal Constitution clearly demarcates the separation of powers among the country’s Legislative, Judicial and Executive Authorities. Malaysia has enjoyed a climate of political stability which has brought with it a high level of economic growth based on diversification of the economy, especially through industrialization and stimulated by foreign investment.


Malaysia’s foreign policy is essentially premised on both the internal and external political, security and socio-economic environments. The country’s international approach is guided by the basic objective of seeking friendship for purposes of securing mutually beneficial relations. A peaceful and stable political security environment in the region is essential to the progress and prosperity of the country. Malaysia remains firmly committed to intensifying regional cooperation, primarily by building upon existing ASEAN cooperation as well as enhancing cooperation with extra-regional countries, including between ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners. In this context, Malaysia has taken and continues to take a proactive role in three main foreign policy areas: cementing bilateral relations, fostering regional cooperation and active participation in various multilateral events. In the latter area, Malaysia`s contributions lie in South-South Cooperation, the Organisation of Islamic Conference, North-South relations, United Nations, the United Nations Security Council, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth Group of Countries.



General Data



Situated near the Equator at longitudes 100 to 119 degrees East. Peninsular Malaysia is in the west at the tip of mainland Southeast Asia, while the states of Sabah and Sarawak are on the island of Borneo, in the east.



330,252 square kilometers (Peninsular Malaysia 131,598 sq. km, Sarawak 124,449 sq. km, Sabah 73,711 sq. Km)


Number of States

13 states and the federal territories Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and  Labuan                         


Capital City

Kuala Lumpur



Tropical (21ºC - 32º C), High Humidity (80%) with wet (October – February) and dry seasons (March – September)



25.6 million (2004)



Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and others



Malay (National language), Cantonese, Hokkien, Tamil and others. English is widely used especially in commerce and industry.


Local Time

GMT     12 hours (13 hours during daylight saving)

KL (-) Vancouver (+)


Weights and Measures

Metric system.


Electric System

220-240 volts AC, 50 hz-cycle system.



Tap water is safe to drink.



Ringgit Malaysia [CAD1.00 = RM3.498] (May 2007))



International banks includes Citibank, Bank of America, HSBC, ABN Amro Bank, Bank of China, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, United Overseas Bank.


Banking hours:  Generally between 0930 – 1500 hours (weekdays)

                        Closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.


Credit Cards

Visa, Mastercard, American Express accepted in major cities.


Business Hours

Government Offices - 0800–1615 hours.

Private Sector – 0900-1700 hours.


Entry Requirements

Visitors must possess valid international passports or other travel documents recognized by the Government of Malaysia. These documents must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into Malaysia. 


Visa Requirements

Canadian passport holders do not require visa for stay less than 3 months. Other nationalities, please refer to Travel Requirements.



Personal Duty Free Allowances for visitors staying a minimum of 72 hours:

-          200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 225gm tobacco

-          wines, spirits/malt liquor not exceeding 1 litre

-          cosmetic, perfume, clothes for personal use not exceeding RM            

-          crafts and souvenirs to a total value not exceeding RM   , except when imported from Labuan and Langkawi where    the total value shall not exceed RM500.00



-          Narcotics and dangerous drugs. Trafficking of illegal drugs carries the death penalty

-          Firearms and ammunitions (unless under special permit)

-          Dagger and flick-knives

-          Pornographic materials

-          All goods from Israel


National Flag          

Malaysian Flag




The Malaysian flag, named Jalur Gemilang with effect from August 31 1997, consist of 14 red and white stripes of equal width, a union of carton of dark blue, a crescent and a star. The red and white stripes stand for the equal status in the Federation of the member states and the Federal government. The union of carton of dark blue in the upper quarter of the flag next to the staff represents the unity of the people of Malaysia. The union contains the crescent which is the symbol of Islam, and the star with its 14 points symbolizes the unity of the 13 states of the Federation with the Federal government. The yellow of the crescent and the star is the royal color of the hereditary Malay rulers.



National Crest


Malaysian Crest



The Coat-of-Arms has a 14-pointed star representing the equal status of the 13 Federation members and the Federal government. The star and the crescent are traditional symbols of Islam, the official religion of Malaysia. The five dagger-like keris represent the former Unfederated Malay States, namely Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, and Terengganu; while the four former Federated Malay States of Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak and Selangor are represented by the four centre panels, the permutation of whose colours represent their respective colours -- red, black and yellow for Negeri Sembilan; black and white for Pahang; black, white and yellow for Perak; and red and yellow for Selangor. The left hand division of the shield represents the state of Pulau Pinang, and the right-hand division with the Melaka tree, the state of Melaka. The states of Sabah and Sarawak are respectively represented on the lower left and right sections, while in the center is the Hibiscus flower, the national flower of Malaysia. The tigers on both sides of the shield are retained from the earlier armorial ensign of the Federation of Malaya, and prior to that of the Federated Malay States. The yellow color of the scroll containing the motto in Roman and Jawi script is the royal color of the rulers.