Malaysia

Driving Directions Malaysia

MALAYSIA is a federal constitutional monarchy which lies in the South China Sea in southeast Asia. It comprises eleven states located in the southernmost part of the Malay Peninsula, which forms West Malaysia and the two states of Sarawak and Sabah on the island of Borneo, which form East Malaysia. Sarawak and Sabah separated from the western part of the kingdom by 650 kilometers or 400 miles of the South China Sea.

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Peninsular Malaysia has rugged mountains in the north and center, reaching heights over 2,100 meters or 7,000 feet, with a broad plain in the south and along each coast. Sarawak has a mainly low-lying and marshy vast coastal plain but with high mountain ranges in the east and along the border with Indonesian Borneo. Mountains are also the predominant feature of Sabah, and Malaysia’s highest peak, Kinabalu (4,094 meters or 13,455 feet), is located here.

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The natural vegetation of Malaysia is dense, tropical rainforest, and coastal mangrove swamps. The tropical jungles contain a wealth of plant and animal species, including the rare and beautiful orangutan, an arboreal ape which is found only in Borneo and Sumatra. However, the forests threatened by logging and clearance for agriculture, and few areas remain undisturbed except for those in designated national parks.

Malaysia is affected by the monsoon climate of south Asia. The northeast monsoon brings rain to the east coast of peninsular Malaysia in winter, and the southwest monsoon brings rain to the west coast in summer. The climate is generally tropical, and temperatures are uniformly hot throughout the year.

The kingdom is a leading producer of rubber, palm oil, and tropical hardwoods. There is also some offshore oil, and around the capital, Kuala Lumpur, new manufacturing industries are expanding and play an increasingly important role in the country’s economy. Malaysia was hit by the economic recession in 1997 and implemented a series of measures designed to restore confidence in its economy.

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