Malaysia Economic Overview
(Persekutuan Tanah Malaysia). State of Southeast Asia (330,290 km²). Capital: Kuala Lumpur. Administrative division: regions (3). Population: 29.947.600 residents (2013 estimate). Language: Malay (official), Chinese, English, Tamil. Religion: Muslims 61.3%, Buddhists 19.8%, Christians 9.2%, Hindus 6.3%, Chinese popular religions 1.3%, others 1.4%. Currency unit: Malaysian dollar ringgit (100 sen). Human Development Index: 0.773 (62nd place). Boundaries: Thailand (N), South China Sea and Sulu Sea (NE), Celebes Sea (E) Singapore and Indonesia (S). Member of: APEC, ASEAN, Commonwealth, OCI, UN and WTO.
Malaysia is a state of Asia, territorially constituted by an offshoot of the Asian continent, corresponding to the terminal part of the Malay peninsula, and by an island section, formed by a vast strip of Borneo Northern Malaysia occupies a privileged geographical position.. Its location (it is in fact located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans) has favored commercial and cultural exchanges since ancient times, attracting first the Malaysian populations from southern China, then the Indian ones, from which political uses and cultural practices were also borrowed and religious, then again the Arab merchants, who made the lands and ports on the peninsular coasts prosperous. The arrival of the great colonial powers (first the Portuguese, then also the Dutch and the British) marked the beginning of a period of flourishing trade and mercantile opening on the routes to the Near East, but also coincided with the start of massifs immigration flows to the country, a destination mainly for Indians, employed in rubber plantations, and Chinese, attracted by the job opportunities offered by the inland tin mines. Having become cosmopolitan and multiracial, Malaysian society had to face at the end of the period of colonial domination the difficult process of political constitution, made more delicate by the attempt to compose in a single national identity a population of very different ethnic origins. In the second half of the twentieth century, the country’s government tried to follow the path of modernization, diversifying the economy and freeing it from the dependence on colonial products, while at the same time enhancing the industrialization process. The progress achieved was not sufficient to heal the differences between the different components of the population, especially the Malaysian and Chinese, which resulted on several occasions in episodes of confrontation and revolt. However, economic liberalization has made the country one of the most open markets in Southeast Asia, capable of attracting foreign investments above all thanks to the competitiveness represented by the availability of cheap labor.
ECONOMY: TOURISM, COMMERCE AND COMMUNICATIONS
According to cheeroutdoor, the tertiary sector is the one that in the first years of the 21st century. recorded the greatest growth. Tourism has taken on a prominent role in the Malaysian economic landscape. The natural beauty and interesting historical and archaeological sites have attracted over 16 million people to the country. There are a number of commercial banks, credit and insurance and other institutions supervised by the Central Bank (Bank Negara Malaysia). § With the exception of the forest areas, Malaysia has a decent internal communication system, especially in the continental part, while it is connected with foreign countries by an efficient network of air and sea lines. Through the development plans, the authorities intervened heavily in the modernization and implementation of the infrastructures. The telecommunications system is also efficient and evolved. Kuala Lumpur is at the heart of a railway system that branches off in various directions. The fundamental axis follows the west coast of Malaysia, connecting Singapore to Bagan Jaya and reaching further N, at Padang Besar, the Thai railway network. Another line runs largely in the central belt of the Malay Peninsula, from Gemas to Tumpat, near Kota Baharu, on the east coast. There are no railways in Sarawak, while in Sabah a narrow gauge trunk connects Kota Kinabalu with Tenom, in the interior, partly serving the west coast. The road network, which has an overall development of approx. 98,000 km (2004). Maritime traffic is traditionally intense and maritime traffic (the main ports are those of Kelang and Pinang) both international and local, the system of which was computerized in the 1990s. Air services are also active, making use of good airports, especially the international airports of Kuala Lumpur / Sepang, inaugurated in 1998, Kota Kinabalu, Pinang, Johor Baharu. § The trade balance is in surplus: exports of timber, palm oil, tin, rubber, while still significant, has been far surpassed by those of electronic and electrical production, machinery and fuels; imports concern various kinds of manufactured goods. In 2005, high-tech exports accounted for more than half of exported manufactured goods. The main trading partners are the Asian states, Japan in the lead, followed by Singapore, China and the United States.