26 interesting facts about Malaysia

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The most interesting facts about Malaysia include its megadiverse flora and fauna and the largest roundabout in the world.

Interesting facts about Malaysia include the Gunung Mulu pinnacles
Interesting facts about Malaysia include the Gunung Mulu pinnacles (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Malaysia
Population: 32,652,083
Area: 329,847 sq km
Capital city: Kuala Lumpur
Major languages: Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese
Major religions: Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu
Time zone: UTC+8 (Malaysian Standard Time)
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

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Interesting facts about Malaysia

1. Malaysia is a country in Asia bordered by Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei.
– Source: Britannica

2. Malaysia has been inhabited for thousands of years. In 1991, archaeologists discovered the 11,000-year-old ‘Perak Man’ in Malaysia. The man is the region’s best-preserved Stone Age skeleton and the only one found with a genetic disorder, Brachymesophalangia type A2. The skeleton’s foetal position, and surrounding objects, suggest that the man’s disfigurement had elevated him to a highly regarded shaman.
– Source: BBC Travel

3. The site is now the UNESCO-listed Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley and is home to key archaeological finds spanning almost 2 million years. They are one of the longest records of early man in a single location and the oldest outside of Africa.
– Source: UNESCO

bones found in the Lenggong Valley
Archaeological findings in the Lenggong Valley (UNESCO)

4. Malaysia has been known to Europeans since the 2nd century AD. Ptolemy, the Greek geographer, labelled Malaysia Aurea Chersonesus (Golden Chersonese).
– Source: Lonely Planet

5. Over the centuries, Malaysia has been part of a number of different empires including the Langkasuka empire from the 2nd century; the Srivijaya Empire from the 7th to the 13th century; and the Melaka Empire from the 14h century onwards.
– Source: Lonely Planet

6. Malaysia is split into two noncontiguous regions: Peninsular Malaysia, where the capital, Kuala Lumpur, is located, and East Malaysia, comprising the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. They are separated by more than 600km of the South China Sea.
– Source: Rough Guides

7. Technically, this makes Malaysia a transcontinental country as it is positioned across the two continents of Oceania and Asia.
– Source: National Geographic

Gaya Island in Malaysia
Gaya Island in Malaysia (Shutterstock)

8. Borneo is the third-largest island in the world after Greenland and New Guinea. Part of Malaysia occupies around one-third of Borneo.
– Source: Britannica

9. Tanjung Piai, at the lower point of the Malay Peninsula, is the southernmost point on the Eurasian landmass.
– Source: World Atlas, Lonely Planet

10. From 1998 to 2004 Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, had the world’s tallest skyscraper. The 88-story, 451.9m (1,483ft) Petronas Towers is still the world’s tallest twin structures.
– Source: CBS News

The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur
The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur (Shutterstock)

11. The Malay word for “river junction or estuary” is “kuala” and “lumpur” means “mud”. Combined, the two words mean the country’s capital is called “muddy confluence”.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

12. Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world. Megadiverse countries are the world’s most biodiversity-rich countries.
– Source: The Telegraph

13. The UNESCO-listed Gunung Mulu National Park is famous for its high biodiversity and its karst features, particularly its sandstone pinnacles – the highest of which is the 2,376m-high Gunung Mulu.
– Source: UNESCO

Interesting facts about Malaysia include the Gunung Mulu pinnacles
Sandstone pinnacles in Gunung Mulu (Shutterstock)

14. Portugal took control of the city of Melaka in 1511 and then the Dutch took power in 1641. The British then arrived towards the end of the 18th century.
– Source: Lonely Planet

15. During the Second World way, Malaysia was occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945.
– Source: BBC News

16. In 1896, the British-controlled Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang were united under the title of the Federated Malay States.
– Source: Lonely Planet

17. In 1948, the Federation of Malaya was formed from unified British-ruled Malayan territories and then in 1957, the Federation of Malaya became a fully independent country.
– Source: BBC News

Malaysia's flag
Malaysia’s flag (Shutterstock)

18. Malaysia’s flag was influenced by the American flag. It has seven red and seven white horizontal stripes and a blue square featuring a yellow star and crescent. The 14 stripes and the 14 points on the star reflect the 13 member states plus the federal government. Yellow is a royal colour in Malaysia, and red, white, and blue reflect the close country’s close ties to the Commonwealth. The crescent and star reflect the nation’s majority Muslim population.
– Source: Britannica

19. Singapore, along with other former British colonies, joined the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia in 1963. However, in 1965 Singapore was ejected from the Federation following political disagreements.
– Source: Britannica

20. Malaysia means “Land of the Malays” in Malay.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

21. The UNESCO-listed Kinabalu Park is home to the country’s highest peak, the 4,095m-high Mount Kinabalu, which is also the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. The park is also known for its plant diversity.
– Source: UNESCO

Mount Kinabalu
Mount Kinabalu (Shutterstock)

22. Malaysia has the world’s biggest roundabout. The Putrajaya Roundabout is 3.5km (2.2mi) long and circles a city park and government buildings.
– Source: Condé Nast Traveler

23. Malaysia’s Taman Negara rainforest is 130 million years, making it one of the world’s most ancient rainforests. The forest is home to an extraordinary array of tropical flora and diverse wildlife including elephants, tigers, leopards, tapirs and flying squirrels.
– Source: National Geographic, Lonely Planet

24. The world’s largest flower, Rafflesia, can be found in the Malaysian rainforest. It can grow up to 111cm (3.64ft) across and is often referred to as a “monster flower” for its parasitic properties and repugnant stench.
– Source: CNN, Rough Guides

The world’s largest flower, Rafflesia
The world’s largest flower, Rafflesia (Shutterstock)

25. Fashion designer Jimmy Choo, known for his designer women’s shoes, is from Malaysia. he was born in Penang in 1948 before moving to the UK in the 1980s.
– Source: Biography

26. Malaysia has a unique constitutional monarchy, where the role rotates between nine hereditary state rulers every five years when the nine leaders vote for which of them should next take the throne.
– Source: BBC News


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