Malaysia is a country that consists of thirteen states and three federal territories in Southeast Asia with a total landmass of 329,847 square kilometers (127,355 sq mi). The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. The population stands at over 25 million. The country is separated into two regions Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo by the South China Sea. Malaysia borders Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines. The country is located near the equator and experiences a tropical climate.Malaysia is headed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and politically led by a Prime Minister. The government is closely modeled after the Westminster parliamentary system.
Malaysia as a unified state did not exist until 1963. Previously, a set of colonies were established by the United Kingdom from the late-18th century, and the western half of modern Malaysia was composed of several separate kingdoms. This group of colonies was known as British Malaya until its dissolution in 1946, when it was reorganized as the Federation of Malaya and later recognized as an independent nation in 1957. Singapore, Sarawak, British North Borneo and the Federation of Malaya joined to form Malaysia on 16 September 1963. The early years of the new union were marred by an armed conflict with Indonesia and the expulsion of Singapore. The Southeast Asian nation experienced an economic boom and underwent rapid development during the late-20th century. With a GDP per capita standing at USD14,400, it has, from time to time, been considered a newly industrialized country. As one of three countries that control the Strait of Malacca, international trade plays a large role in its economy. At one time, it was the largest producer of tin, rubber and palm oil in the world. Manufacturing has a large influence in the country’s economy.
The Malays form the majority of the population. Some Malays are of Arab descent and there are sizable Chinese and Indian communities. Islam is the largest as well as the official religion of the federation. The Malay language is the official language. Malay was originally written in Jawi, based on Arabic script, but nowadays, the Roman alphabet (Rumi) is more often used.
Malaysia is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and participates in many international organizations such as the United Nations. As a former British colony, it is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is also a member of the Developing 8 Countries.
US citizens are not required to possess a visa to enter Malaysia provided the purpose of the visit is for academic, business or social purposes. A visa is required for US citizens seeking employment in Malaysia. For detailed information regarding visa requirements and immigration information, follow the link below.