Malaysia

Malaysia

[muh-ley-zhuh, -shuh]
Malaysia, independent federation (2005 est. pop. 23,953,000), 128,430 sq mi (332,633 sq km), Southeast Asia. The official capital and by far the largest city is Kuala Lumpur; Putrajaya is the adminstrative capital.

Land and People

Malaysia consists of two parts: West Malaysia, also called Peninsular Malaysia or Malaya (1990 est. pop. 14,400,000), 50,700 sq mi (131,313 sq km), on the Malay Peninsula and coextensive with the former Federation of Malaya, comprising the states of Perlis, Kedah, Pinang, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka (Malacca), and Johor, and two federal territories (the cities of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya); and East Malaysia (1990 est. pop. 3,410,000), 77,730 sq mi (201,320 sq km), comprising the states of Sabah and Sarawak (the former British colonies of North Borneo and Northwest Borneo) on the island of Borneo and one federal territory, the island of Labuan. The two parts are separated by c.400 mi (640 km) of the South China Sea.

West Malaysia is bordered on the north by Thailand, on the east by the South China Sea, on the south by Singapore (separated by the narrow Johore Strait), and on the west by the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea. East Malaysia is bordered on the north by the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea, on the east by the Celebes Sea, and on the south and west by Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). Along the coast within Sarawak is the independent nation of Brunei. Both East and West Malaysia have mountainous interiors and coastal plains. The highest point is Mt. Kinabalu (13,455 ft/4,101 m) in Sabah. The longest of the country's many rivers are the Rajang (c.350 mi/560 km) in Sarawak, the Kinabatangan (c.350 mi/560 km) in Sabah, and the Pahang (c.200 mi/320 km) in West Malaysia. Lying close to the equator, Malaysia has a tropical rainy climate. Over two thirds of the land area is forested.

Although it makes up only 31% of the country's area, West Malaysia has more than 80% of its people. Of the total population, most of which is concentrated on the west coast, some 50% are ethnically Malay, almost 25% are Chinese, over 10% are of indigenous descent, and about 7% are South Asian (mainly Tamil). In West Malaysia, Malays comprise about one half of the population, Chinese one third, and South Asians one tenth. In East Malaysia, the two largest groups are the Chinese and the Ibans (Sea Dyaks), an indigenous people, who together make up about three fifths of the total. Conflict between the ethnic groups, particularly between Malays and Chinese, has played a large role in Malaysian history, and recent years have seen increased tension between ethnic Malays and people of South Asian descent.

Nearly all of the Malays are Muslims (they are considered to be Muslim under the constitution), and Islam is the national religion. The majority of Chinese are Buddhists (Confucianism and Taoism are also practiced), and most of the South Asians are Hindu; 9% of the population is Christian. The official language is Bahasa Malaysia (Malay), although English is used in the legal system. Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, and other dialects), Tamil, and regional ethnic languages and dialects are also widely spoken.

Economy

Malaysia has one of the highest standards of living in SE Asia, largely because of its expanding industrial sector, which propelled the country to an 8%-9% yearly growth rate from 1987 to 1997. Growth contracted during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, and the government was forced to cut spending and defer several large infrastructure projects. Unemployment and interest rates rose, and thousands of foreign workers, many of them from Indonesia, were forced to leave the country. The economy began recovering in 1999, and growth continued into the early 21st cent. Despite long-term efforts of the government to improve the economic status of Malays through preferences, the Chinese have generally continued their long-standing dominance of the economy. The economic status of Malays, however, has significantly improved, leading to resentment among South Asians who, though largely poor, are not eligible for the opportunities open to Malays.

Malaysia is a large producer of rubber and tin; palm oil, crude petroleum and petroleum products, electronics, textiles, and timber are also important. Since the late 1980s, the government has moved to privatize large industries that had been under state control, and foreign investment in manufacturing has increased significantly. Pinang city is the chief port. Subsistence agriculture remains the basis of livelihood for about 13% of Malaysians and agriculture provides about 8% of GDP. Rice is the staple food, while fish supply most of the protein. Cocoa, coconuts, and pepper are also important agricultural products. Industry is largely concentrated in West Malaysia. The major cities on the Malay Peninsula are connected by railroads with Singapore, and an extensive road network covers the west coast. Malaysia's exports include electronic equipment, petroleum and liquefied natural gas, wood and wood products, palm oil, rubber, chemicals, and textiles. The main imports are electronics, machinery, petroleum products, plastics, vehicles, iron and steel, and chemicals. The major trading partners are the United States, Singapore, Japan, and China.

Government

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and is governed under the constitution of 1957 as amended. The sovereign (the Yang di-Pertuan Agong) is a largely ceremonial head of state, and is elected every five years by and from the nine hereditary rulers of Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, and Johor. The current sovereign is Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu.

The prime minister is head of government and must be a member and have the confidence of the House of Representatives (Dewan Ra'ayat). The cabinet is chosen by the prime minister with the consent of the sovereign. There is a bicameral Parliament. The House of Representatives consists of 219 members, all elected by popular vote in single-member districts. The House sits for a maximum of five years but may be dissolved by the sovereign. The Senate (Dewan Negara) consists of 70 members chosen for three-year terms; each state legislature elects two and the sovereign appoints the remaining 44. There is a high court for each half of Malaysia and a supreme court. Administratively, the country is divided into 13 states and three federal territories.

History

Foreign Influence and Settlement

(For early history of West Malaysia, see Malay Peninsula; for history of East Malaysia, see Sabah and Sarawak.) When the Portuguese captured Malacca (1511), its sultan fled first to Pahang and then to Johor and the Riau Archipelago. One of his sons became the first sultan of Perak. From both Johor and Aceh in Sumatra unsuccessful attacks were made on Malacca. Aceh and Johor also fought each other. The main issue in these struggles was control of trade through the Strait of Malacca. Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu, north of Malacca, became nominal subjects of Siam.

In the early 17th cent. the Dutch established trading bases in Southeast Asia. By 1619 they had established themselves in Batavia (Jakarta), and in 1641, allied with Johor, they captured Malacca after a six-month siege. Another power entered the complicated Malayan picture in the late 17th cent. when the Bugis from Sulawesi, a Malay people economically pressured by the Dutch, began settling in the area of Selangor on the west coast of the peninsula, where they traded in tin. The Bugis captured Johor and Riau in 1721 and, with a few interruptions, maintained control there for about a century, although the Johor sultanate was permitted to remain. The Bugis were also active in Perak and Kedah. Earlier, in the 15th and 16th cent., another Malay people, the Minangkabaus from Sumatra, had peacefully settled inland from Malacca. Their settlements eventually became the state of Negeri Sembilan.

The British role on the peninsula began in 1786, when Francis Light of the British East India Company, searching for a site for trade and a naval base, obtained the cession of the island of Pinang from the sultan of Kedah. In 1791 the British agreed to make annual payments to the sultan, and in 1800 the latter ceded Province Wellesley on the mainland. In 1819 the British founded Singapore, and in 1824 they formally (actual control had been exercised since 1795) acquired Malacca from the Dutch. A joint administration was formed for Pinang, Malacca, and Singapore, which became known as the Straits Settlements.

During this period Siam was asserting its influence southward on the peninsula. In 1816, Siam forced Kedah to invade Perak and made Perak acknowledge Siamese suzerainty. In 1821, Siam invaded Kedah and exiled the sultan. The Anglo-Siamese treaty of 1821 recognized Siamese control of Kedah but left the status of Perak, Kelantan, and Terengganu ambiguous. In 1841 the sultan of Kedah was restored, but Perlis was carved out of the territory of Kedah and put under Siamese protection.

British Involvement

Later in the 19th cent. a number of events led Great Britain to play a more direct part in the affairs of the peninsula. There was conflict between Chinese settlers, who worked in the tin mines, and Malays; there were civil wars among the Malays; and there was an increase in piracy in the western part of the peninsula. Merchants asked the British to restore order. The British were also concerned that Dutch, French, and German interest in the area was increasing. As a result, treaties were made with Perak, Selangor, Pahang, and the components of what became (1895) Negeri Sembilan. In each state a British "resident" was installed to advise the sultan (who received a stipend) and to supervise administration. The Pangkor Treaty of 1874 with Perak served as a model for subsequent treaties.

In 1896 the four states were grouped together as the Federated Malay States with a British resident general. Johor, which had signed a treaty of alliance with Britain in 1885, accepted a British adviser in 1914. British control of the four remaining Malayan states was acquired in 1909, when, by treaty, Siam relinquished its claims to sovereignty over Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, and Terengganu. These four, along with Johor, became known as the Unfederated Malay States.

In the latter half of the 19th cent. Malaya's economy assumed many of the major aspects of its present character. The output of tin, which had been mined for centuries, increased greatly with the utilization of modern methods. Rubber trees were introduced (Indian laborers were imported to work the rubber plantations), and Malaya became a leading rubber producer. Malaya's economic character, as well as its geographic position, gave it great strategic importance, and the peninsula was quickly overrun by the Japanese at the start of World War II and held by them for the duration of the war. The British, assuming that the attack would come from sea, had built their fortifications accordingly, but a land attack quickly drove them from the island. Malaya's Chinese population received particularly harsh treatment during the Japanese occupation.

When the British returned after World War II they arranged (1946) a centralized colony, called the Malayan Union, comprising all their peninsula possessions. Influential Malays vehemently opposed the new organization; they feared that the admission of the large Chinese and Indian populations of Pinang and Malacca to Malayan citizenship would end the special position Malays had always enjoyed, and they were unwilling to surrender the political power they enjoyed within the individual sultanates. The British backed down and established in place of the Union the Federation of Malaya (1948) headed by a British high commissioner. The Federation was an expansion of the former Federated Malay States. Pinang and Malacca became members in addition to the nine Malay states, but there was no common citizenship.

In that same year a Communist insurrection began that was to last more than a decade. The Communist guerrillas, largely recruited from among the Chinese population, employed terrorist tactics. In combating the uprising the British resettled nearly 500,000 Chinese. "The Emergency," as it was called, was declared ended in 1960, although outbreaks of terrorism have continued sporadically.

Independence and the Birth of Modern Malaysia

The Communist insurrection had the positive effect of spurring the movement for Malayan independence, and in 1957 the federation became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations and was admitted to the United Nations. The first prime minister was Tunku (Prince) Abdul Rahman, the leader of the Alliance Party, a loose coalition of Malay, Chinese, and Indian parties. The constitution guaranteed special privileges for Malays. In 1963 Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak were added to the federation, creating the Federation of Malaysia. Since Singapore has a large Chinese population, the latter two states were included to maintain a non-Chinese majority. Brunei was also included in the plan but declined to join. Malaysia retained Malaya's place in the United Nations and the Commonwealth, and in 1967 it became one of the founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The new state was immediately confronted with the hostility of Indonesia, which described the federation as a British imperialist subterfuge and waged an undeclared war against it. In the struggle Malaysia received military aid from Great Britain and other Commonwealth nations. Hostilities continued until President Sukarno's fall from power in Indonesia (1965). Nonviolent opposition came from the Philippines, which claimed ownership of Sabah until early in 1978.

The merger with Singapore did not work out satisfactorily. Friction developed between Malay leaders and Singapore's prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who had worked to improve the position of the Chinese minority within the Malaysian Federation. In 1965, Singapore peacefully seceded from Malaysia.

Intercommunal tension continued, however, between Chinese and Malays, and led in 1969 to serious violence and a 22-month suspension of parliament. Since then, political balance has been maintained by a multiethnic National Front coalition. Tun Abdul Razak succeeded Abdul Rahman as prime minster in 1970, and the following year Abdul Razak adopted the New Economic Policy, intended to improve the economic status of Malays through a system of preferences. When Abdul Razak died in 1976, Hussein Onn succeeded him as prime minister.

In 1981, Mahathir bin Mohamad, of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), became prime minister. Mahathir led the National Front parties to reelection victories in 1982, 1986, and 1990. Mahathir's government was criticized for repression of Chinese and Indian minorities. A formal peace treaty between the Malay Communist party (MCP) and the Kuala Lumpur government was signed in 1989.

In 1995 the National Front again triumphed at the polls, winning in a landslide. Like several of its neighbors, Malaysia suffered a recession in 1997-98; however, unlike those that accepted financial aid from the International Monetary Fund, Malaysia took matters into its own hands. In Sept., 1998, it discontinued trading in its currency and imposed sweeping controls on its capital markets, particularly on investment from overseas; by mid-1999, the economy had begun to recover.

Also in Sept., 1998, Mahathir dismissed his heir apparent, Anwar Ibrahim, who held the posts of deputy prime minister and finance minister. Anwar was found guilty of corruption charges in Apr., 1999, and sentenced to six years in prison, setting off unusual public protests; in Aug., 2000, he was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to nine years. Both convictions were condemned by international rights groups. In the Nov., 1999, elections the National Front again won a resounding victory, but big gains were made by the Islamic party of Malaysia (PAS), which increased its seats in parliament to 27 from 8, largely as a result of support from Malays who had previously voted for the UMNO. A party formed by Anwar's supporters and led by his wife did poorly.

A tough new law against illegal foreign workers, which took effect in 2002, forced many Indonesians and Filipinos to leave Malaysia. This strained relations particularly with Indonesia, where as many as 400,000 returned home. In Oct., 2003, Prime Minister Mahathir stepped down and was succeeded by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, deputy prime minister since 1999. At the time of his resignation, Mahathir was the longest serving government leader in Asia. Five months later Badawi won a mandate of his own in parliamentary and state elections when the National Front coalition increased its sizable parliamentary majority by a third, winning 90% of the seats and 64% of the vote. PAS suffered significant losses at the national and state levels. In Sept., 2004, Anwar Ibrahim's conviction on sodomy charges was overturned, and he was released, his corruption sentence having been already reduced.

A second wave of some half million illegal immigrants left Malaysia in late 2004 and early 2005 under a government amnesty before the government began arresting and expelling illegal immigrants in Mar., 2005. By May, however, when the slow influx of Indonesians with work permits resulted in a worker shortage, Malaysia agreed to allow Indonesians seeking work to enter on tourists visas. In 2006 there was sharp public verbal jousting between Prime Minister Abdullah and his predecessor, and Mahathir found his influence in UMNO greatly diminished.

In late 2007 and early 2008 there was increased public unhappiness on the part of Malaysians of South Asian descent with their lagging standard of living (relative to Malays and Chinese). These concerns carried over into the parliamentary elections in Mar., 2008, and the National Front, though retaining a majority, failed to win two thirds of the seats for the first time since 1969, and lost control of five states as well (one state returned to National Front control in 2009). PAS, Anwar Ibrahim's Justice party, and the largely Chinese Democratic Action party all gained seats. The election results led to calls for Abdullah to resign, and he eventually announced that he would step down in Mar., 2009.

Anwar, meanwhile, sought to organize the opposition to defeat the government through parliamentary defections and a no-confidence vote. In June, 2008, however, he was again accused of sodomy, this time by a former aide. He denied the charges and accused the government of conspiring against him to remain in power. Anwar nonetheless was elected to parliament by a landslide in a by-election in August, but he was not successful in securing the parliamentary defections necessary to bringing down the government. Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak succeeded Abdullah as UNMO leader in Mar., 2009, as planned, and the following month Najib became prime minister. A court ruling in Dec., 2009, that Christians could use the word Allah to refer to God (a usage that is not unusual in other Muslim countries) sparked an outbreak of anti-Christian violence and resulted in increased religious tensions.

Bibliography

See N. J. Ryan, The Making of Modern Malaysia and Singapore (4th ed. 1969); R. O. Winstedt, Malaya and Its History (7th ed. 1966, repr. 1969); J. Gullick, Malaysia: Economic Expansion and National Unity (1981); B. and L. Andaya, A History of Malaysia (1984); J. A. Lent and K. Mulliner, ed., Malaysian Studies (1986).

Country, Southeast Asia. It is composed of two regions—Peninsular, or West, Malaysia and East Malaysia—separated by 400 mi (640 km) of the South China Sea. West Malaysia occupies the southern half of the Malay Peninsula (Malaya) and is bordered to the north by Thailand. East Malaysia lies on the northwestern part of the island of Borneo and consists of the states of Sarawak and Sabah. Area: 127,366 sq mi (329,876 sq km). Population (2007): 26,572,000. Capitals: Kuala Lumpur/Putrajaya. Because of Malaysia's location on the heavily traveled Strait of Malacca, the population is a highly diverse mix, in which ethnic Malays and Chinese form the largest groups, and the most prominent of the smaller ethnic groups include the various indigenous peoples and South Asians. Languages: Malay (official), Chinese, and assorted Austronesian and Indo-European languages. Religions: Islam (official), Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, some local religions. Currency: ringgit. Peninsular Malaysia is largely mountainous; East Malaysia has coastal plains rising to hills and then to a mountainous core. Much of Malaysia is covered by rainforest. Tree crops, notably rubber and palm oil, are the most important cash crops; rice is the chief staple crop. Petroleum drilling and production and tin mining are important, as is the manufacture of electronic products, rubber goods, cement, and iron and steel products. Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses; the chief of state is the paramount ruler, and the head of government is the prime minister. Peninsular Malaysia has been inhabited for at least 6,000 years. Small kingdoms existed in the 2nd–3rd century CE when adventurers from India first arrived. Sumatran exiles founded the city-state of Malacca circa 1400, and it flourished as a trading and Islamic religious centre until its capture by the Portuguese in 1511. Malacca passed to the Dutch in 1641. The British founded a settlement on Singapore Island in 1819, and by 1867 they had established the Straits Settlements, including Malacca, Singapore, and Penang. During the late 19th century, Chinese began to migrate to Peninsular Malaysia (at the time called Malaya). Japan invaded Malaya in 1941 and captured Singapore in 1942. After Japan's defeat in 1945, opposition to British rule led to the creation of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) in 1946, and in 1948 the peninsula was federated with Penang. Malaya gained independence from Britain in 1957. Malaya, Singapore, and the former British colonies of Sarawak and Sabah on the island of Borneo joined to form the Federation of Malaysia in 1963; Singapore, however, withdrew from the federation in 1965. Malaysia's economy expanded greatly from the late 1970s, though it experienced the regional economic slump of the mid- to late 1990s; the economy subsequently recovered.

Learn more about Malaysia with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Kajang, with a population of 229,655 (as of 2006) is a town in the eastern part of Selangor, Malaysia (2.98° N, 101.77° E). Kajang is also the district capital of Hulu Langat. It is located about 20 km south of Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The current locational gravity of growth in Kajang would be Sungai Chua. The total population of Kajang has grown rapidly in the past few years. As of 2004, a few townships have been developed in Kajang, such as Taman Prima Saujana (straight from Jalan Cheras), Taman Kajang Perdana (Kajang Highlands) and Taman Sepakat Indah I & II (Sungai Chua). Areas surrounding these new townships are easily accessible via the new SILK Expressway.

History

The first settlement in Kajang was established in 1709. In 1807, Kajang was founded after the Klang War. Because of its central location, it was made the district capital of Hulu Langat.

Kajang as a modern town owes its rise in particular to the coffee estates which were opened up around it in the 1890s. One of the famous coffee estates were Inch Kenneth Estate managed by the Kindersley brothers who were among the first to plant rubber in the country on a commercial basis. Another was Perang Besar (Great War) Estate, opened by some British ex-servicemen led by Colonel Henry Gough, who was the pioneer of bud-grafting of rubber trees in the country.

Demographics

Its population as of 2006 was 229,655. It had a population of 189,400 in 2001.

Food & Tourism

Kajang is famous for its sate Kajang (alternate spelling satay), a form of skewered barbecued meat. Informally, Kajang is known as the "Satay Town", and is famous among tourists and locals alike. The most famous place to eat Satay is Haji Samuri which has a huge restaurant next to the local stadium as well as Restoran Malaysia which is located near Plaza Metro Kajang.

Though Kajang is a well-known tourist destination for satay, tourists rarely stay overnight. Hence, accommodation is not readily available. Of the available accommodation, the most notable is Metro Inn which is located approximately 2km from the heart of Kajang town. However, many prefer to stay in Kuala Lumpur or even Putrajaya.

Other hotels in Kajang are New City Hotel and Crystal Oriental Hotel which are located approximately 2km from the heart of Kajang town. Uptown Hotel is located opposite Metro Point.

Shopping

Kajang has a number of new and old shopping complexes. The Billion Shopping Center in Kajang town has been around for more than 20 years. It was originally located in the heart of Kajang town and now has a new and larger branch in Bandar Technologi Kajang. Metro Kajang, Metro Point and Kompleks Kota Kajang are other shopping complexes in Kajang. Metro Avenue is a new shopping district under construction located opposite SMJK Yu Hua Kajang.

There has been a recent boom of new hypermarkets in Kajang. Giant was the first hypermarket in Kajang. Tesco Kajang, which is located at Saujana Impian, nearby Giant hypermarket was the second hypermarket.

Facilities & Amenities

Public hospitals found within and around Kajang town are Hospital Kajang, Hospital Serdang and Hospital Putrajaya. There are also medical centers functioning 24 hours and other 24 hour clinics such as Klinik Mediviron Prima Saujana, Kajang Plaza Medical Centre (KPMC) and KPJ Kajang Specialist Hospital. Medical specialities like ophthalmology is represented by private specialist medical centres like ACS Eye Specialists off the new SILK Highway. Even dental clinics are located within reach of its residents like in places such as Sungai Chua and toen area.

The Hulu Langat District Police Headquarters are also located in the town centre, near the stadium and MPKJ main office. Other facilities include the post office, government clinics, a stadium, a wet market and several government departments including the National Registration Department, Immigration Department and Hulu Langat Education Office(beside Tesco).

And also, a cyber cafe named "Speedzone" just opposite SMK Convent Kajang provides excellant services by the employee, Eric Sng Meng Hui.

Education

Kajang is a town surrounded by many schools, mainly SMAP Kajang, SMK Tinggi Kajang (Kajang High School) Official Website, SMJK Yu Hua Kajang Official Website, SMK Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (SAAS), SMK Saujana Impian, SMK Convent Kajang, SMK Jalan Bukit Kajang (Official Website), SMK Kajang Utama, SMK Jalan Reko and more. SMK Tinggi Kajang is reported to be one of the oldest schools in the country. During World War II, the Japanese buried their dead soldiers on the hill slopes where some of the new school blocks are now located. There are also few private schools located within Kajang vicinity namely Sri ABIM, Al-Amin and Sri Ayesha

Kajang also has a few institutions of higher learning. One of the universities located near Kajang is Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten). Another, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (The National University of Malaysia), in nearby Bangi, is one of the largest national universities. Kuala Lumpur Infrastructure University College (KLIUC), also known a Kolej Ikram is another educational institution based in Kajang. An English university, the University of Nottingham also has a campus in nearby Semenyih, which is easily accessible from Kajang. Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) opened a Business School at Bandar Baru Sungai Long in 2005. Another public university, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) lies in Serdang, within a short distance from Kajang whilst New Era College(www.newera.edu.my) are also located in Jalan Bukit, near the Kajang KTM Station.

Famous People from Kajang

External links

References

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