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International trade has historically played a large role in Malaysia’s economy. The country is well known as an exporter of raw materials, and was once the largest producer of tin, rubber and palm oil in the world.
However, Malaysia has since grown to be one of the world's largest exporters of information and communication technology products.
This is part of its mission to achieve high-income status by 2020. Malaysia is striving to move up the value-added production chain, and to develop its services and manufacturing sectors. The tourism industry is also an increasingly important contributor to the country’s economy, even as Malaysia establishes itself as the foremost Islamic banking and financial centres in the world.
Malaysia has one of the best economic records in Asia, with an average annual GDP growth of 6.5% in the years 1957 to 2005. It is currently the third largest economy in ASEAN, and in 2012 enjoyed $125.5 billion in direct foreign investment; 36th in the world.
Malaysia is one of the world’s largest exporters of information and communication technology products
A variety of ethnic groups call Malaysia home, creating a rich diversity of heritage that is reflected in the country’s myriad religious beliefs, festivals, food and cultural traditions.
The official national language of Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia, but English is also widely used particularly in the fields of business, information technology and scientific research.
The various ethnic communities in Malaysia also often speak their own language or dialect, each lending a distinct flavour to the aural landscape of the country. It is not uncommon for Malaysians to use words or phrases from three or more different languages when conversing informally.
Culture & Religion
Islam is the predominant religion in Malaysia, but freedom of religion is guaranteed under the constitution and the country enjoys a multi-religious society.
Malaysia is abundant in national holidays, as festivities and holy days of the various religions are celebrated and observed by the entire country. A well-honoured practice is the rumah terbuka or “open house”, a tradition of opening one’s doors to celebrate religious festivals with friends and family, regardless of religion or belief.
Malaysia’s persistent drive to develop its infrastructure has brought it to the forefront of the newly industrialising countries in Asia.
West Malaysia has a well-maintained network of highways, ensuring smooth and efficient transportation throughout the peninsula.
63.8% of Malaysians enjoy household broadband Internet penetration.
Malaysia is the 10th most visited country in the world, with good reason. The country enjoys a warm, tropical climate as well as a fortuitous geographic location, with both East and West halves safely out of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Malaysia has an abundance of jewel-like islands scattered along its coasts, with white sandy beaches and clear blue waters with breathtaking coral reefs, ideal for diving and snorkelling.
However, move further inland and the terrain gives way to mangrove swamps and rainforests, where orang utan swing and the Malayan tiger still prowls. On the slopes of Mount Kinabalu in the Northern Borneo state of Sabah (4,095 metres above sea level), blossom the largest flowers in the world, the giant red Rafflesia that measures over 100 cm in diameter.
With delightful flavours, thrilling adventures, and breathtaking landscapes, Malaysia truly has something for everyone.
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