Here are additional Malaysia facts to get to know about the country further for your cuti-cuti Malaysia travel destination planning.

Geographic Facts

Malaysia also known as Federation of Malaysia consists of 11 states in West Malaysia (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, and Terengganu) and 2 states in East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) making a total of 13 states. In addition there are 3 Federal Territories (known as Wilayah Perseketuan in Malay) consisting of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.

The capital city of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur.

West Malaysia is also referred as Peninsular Malaysia because of its physical geographic shape. While East Malaysia is located on the Borneo Island sharing borders with Brunei Darulssalam and Kalimantan of Indonesia.

Malaysia is located between 2 and 7 degrees north of the Equator, Peninsular Malaysia is separated from the states of Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. To the north is Thailand and to the south is the Singapore island.

Malaysia has an area of 329,758 square kilometres.

Malaysia Map and surrounding area

Government and Legal

Malaysia practices parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. Almost similar with the British government system. The difference is that the various sultanate head of various state will take turns to become the Head of State, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or King of the country every five years based on an internal voting system. The head of the Government is the Prime Minister. The strongest political party is Barisan National which has been in power since Malaysia independence in 31st August 1957. Although an opposition political party has challenged Barisan National strangle hold of the political legal system, it has yet to succeed. Barisan National is a race based multi-party conglomerate consisting mainly of UMNO, MCA and MIC.

Economic Profile

Malaysia is blessed with rich natural resources such as petroleum, palm oil, natural rubber and timber. Other economic contributors include manufacturing and Malaysia tourism. Unfortunately rampant corruption has marred the effective usage of the income for proper development of the country resulting in lagging behind in the development of the country in comparison with its close neighbours. Strangely noted that 80% of the income tax collected is from the Chinese who seems to the economic driving force behind the Malaysia economy.

Entry Requirement

If you are visiting Malaysia, you must be in possession of a valid passport or travel documents with a minimum of six months validity beyond the intended visiting period. Most countries of origin do not require visas for social or simple business visits. If you are on extended stay or have employment in Malaysia, you require a visa or working permit for entry. The rules for extended stay and employment differs year to year, so a check with the Malaysia Embassy abroad and diplomatic mission or Tourism Malaysia office would be needed to obtain more information for such stay. The process can be tedious (I can attest to that, as most government are anyway from whichever country it is from) but that’s the way it goes for any governmental agency sticking to the rule of the law.

Banking Hours

Banking hours are usually from 9.30am to 4.00pm from Monday to Friday in most states, while banks in the state of Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu operate from 9.30am to 4.00pm from Saturday to Wednesday. The weekday workday of Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu are following the Muslim working style with Thursday and Friday as the rest day while the working days are from Saturday to Wednesday. It takes some getting used to if ever you live in these states!

Post Office

Planning to send postcards and letters in the good old style of snail mail? Post offices are located in many places including some shopping malls. Post office are open from 8.00am to 5.00pm daily except Sundays and public holidays. As usual the odd states of Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, they are closed on Fridays and public holidays. Post Office has multi-services offering apart from the usual sending of letters and packages.

They have EMS courier service for sending parcels both locally in Malaysia and to abroad countries. The counters also offer services for household bill payments such electric bills, water bills, renewing of car driving license and vehicle road tax renewals including insurance cover note for vehicles.

Time

The standard Malaysian time is eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of the U.S. Pacific Standard Time. If you look at the time zone, West Malaysia is actually following the time standard of East Malaysia. Thus you will notice that the sunrise and sunset time of West Malaysia is around 7am and 7pm respectively while the sunrise and sunset time in East Malaysia is around 6am and 6pm respectively.

Electricity

Malaysia plug and socket, with multi-adapterThe voltage used in Malaysia is 220 volts to 240 volts using Alternating Current or AC at a frequency of 50 cycles per second. Check that your chargers are able to handle this voltage (some charges have automatic voltage switching) otherwise you will need a step up transformer if your home country uses 110 volt. The standard 3-pin square plugs sockets are used here. Do prepare a multi-pin plug to convert your plug shape to the 3-pin socket for use here. If you forgot to bring one, you may purchase one inexpensively from retail stores available in many places.

Measurement System

Malaysia uses the metric system for linear and weight measurement. Some old school style business transaction still uses the Imperial measurement system. Basically for most linear and weight measurement the metric system is used predominantly.

Communication

Malaysia has land lines and mobile lines which are linked nationally and internationally by telephone, facsimile, telegraph, internet and mobile wireless carriers. Most hotels in Malaysia provide international direct dial (IDD) telephone services. You could obtain discount cards or try using Skype to save on expensive international calls.

Main land line carrier company is TM (Telekom Malaysia). While for the wireless mobile carriers, the three main players are Maxis, Celcom and Digi. While using mobile roaming services in West Malaysia, the best choice to use would be Maxis while in East Malaysia the best choice would be Celcom. The choice suggested is based on connectivity and not on cost from what I have experienced personally.

If you plan to use local SIM cards to be inserted into your mobile phone to make and receive local calls at a cheaper price, you may use the pre-paid mobile plan and choose any of the three mobile carriers namely Maxis, Celcom and Digi. There is another smaller mobile carrier player called U-mobile which you could also use for your pre-paid mobile services requirement.

Travel to Malaysia

Main gateway entry to travel to Malaysia is via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport also known as KLIA for short. KLIA is located in Sepang which is approximately 50km south of Kuala Lumpur. It takes approximately one hour to travel from KLIA to Kuala Lumpur on a non-rush hour traffic, so do plan your travel timing accordingly when arriving or departing.

Other major international airports that serves as entry point to Malaysia includes the Penang airport, the Johor Bahru airport, Kuching airport, Kota Kinabalu airport and the island of Langkawi.

MAS or Mas Airline Service is the main airline in Malaysia providing full fare cost flight with all the frills. If you want to save on flight cost there is the low cost carrier, AirAsia. Do note that due to stiff competition between MAS and AirAsia, they have separated terminal location in Sepang. KLIA is the main terminal for MAS and all other airline companies, while LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) is specially for AirAsia only. Same situation with the Kota Kinabalu airport where they have separate terminals. So do inform your transportation/taxi service to which terminal you need to be drop off in order to check in to your flight when departing from Malaysia.

Malaysia facts
States of Malaysia

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