Hello there. 'Selamat Datang ke Malaysia'. That means, 'Welcome to Malaysia in our national local language Bahasa Malaysia. It would be impossible to tell you everything about Malaysia in such a short period of time, but I will give you a broad overview. People One thing you'll find the most interesting about Malaysia is its people and culture. Being an ethnically diverse, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual country with a population of 28 million isn't easy, as race continues to be a hotly debated topic and permeates almost every aspect of Malaysian life. The Malaysian population is composed of 62 percent Bumiputeras, which includes Malays and the indigenous peoples, 24% Chinese 8percent Indians and the remainder are minorities of other kinds. As we use to say in Malaysia"lain-lain," or any other. In the case of citizenship, East Malaysia or the states of Sabah and Sarawak are slightly different from hyderabad news aaj kal the citizenship of Peninsular Malaysia for immigration purposes. When West Malaysians visit East Malaysia, they are legally required to bring their MyKad an biometric smart chip identification card, which is carried by citizens of Malaysia at all times. The Malays comprise the largest communityand are defined in the Constitution of Malaysia as Muslims in the constitution of Malaysia- in other words, if Malay then you're automatically Muslim. The Malays are the biggest brothers of politics, dominating the political arena. Their native language is Malay it is the official language of the country. Sometimes, they are referred to as "bumiputra," or "princes of the soil' and are considered to be favored by certain affirmative actions policies. This has been a point of contention with a number of minorities. Other benefits include 10 to 25 percent discount when purchasing an apartment and also receiving government grants and tenders are some of these benefits. How did this come about? I'll explain more in the economy section. The second largest group are the Chinese. They are mostly Buddhists, Taoists or Christians. The Chinese community has a wide range of Chinese dialects like Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, and TeochewAll of them are from the original families of China. But today, many Chinese speak English as their primary native language. There are a few who speak English. While the Malays control the political arena, the Chinese are the dominant business community. There is a substantial middle class made up of Chinese. The third biggest group are the Indians. The Indians in Malaysia are mostly Southern Indian Hindu Tamils, a part of India and their native language is Tamil. There are also other Indian communities in Malaysia and they speak many dialects like Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. A majority of middle and upper middle class Indians in Malaysia also have English as their first language. There's also an active 200-strong Indian Muslim community that thrives as an individual cultural group. In reality, if you find yourself hungry in the middle of the night, you likely will go to"mamaks," a kind of 24-hour restaurant that is typically owned by an Indian Muslim. There is also an enormous Sikh group in Malaysia which is more than 100,000. The most populous indigenous tribe of non-Malay of Sarawak is called Iban of Sarawak. Iban of Sarawak, who number over 600,000. Many still live in traditional jungle villages with long homes along the Rajang as well as the Lupar rivers, although many have moved to the cities. There are also the Bidayuhs, who number around 170,000 people and reside in the south western part of Sarawak. There are also the Kadazans the largest indigenous tribe in Sabah and they are mostly Christian farmers. Then there are the 140,000 Orang Asli (also known as aborigines) who live throughout Peninsular Malaysia. Traditionally, nomadic hunter-gatherers, agriculturalists and hunters Many have been integrated into modern Malaysia. In addition, due to interracial marriage, there are a significant number of ethnic groups like the Eurasians, who are descendants of marriages that occurred between those of British, Dutch and Portuguese as well as the locals. They speak a creole that is based on Portuguese known as Papia Kristang. Also, there are Eurasians with Filipino and Spanish descent, mostly in Sabah. Originating from immigrants from the Philippines They also speak Chavacano, the only Creole language that is Spanish-based in Asia. Additionally, there are Cambodians and Vietnamese, who are mostly Buddhists. In addition, there are Thai Malaysians that make up an extensive portion of the northern peninsular states of Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Kelantan and Terengganu. Alongside being Thai they are Buddhists who observe Songkran as well as the Water festival and are able to speak Hokkien However, certain of them are Muslim and use of the Kelantanese Malay dialect. Then there are the Bugis and Javanese, who make up of the majority of people in Johor. Additionally, there have been many foreigners and expatriates who have chosen to make Malaysia their home away from home, contributing to the country's population. In addition, there are the Babas and Nyonyas as well as the Straits Chinese; descendants of Chinese who traded in the ancient city of Malacca who married local Malays. They blend Malay and Chinese customs to the point of to create a new culture. The majority of them dress in typical Malay manner, sporting the kebaya and ketat. This is the traditional Malay traditional dress, and they speak a specific kind of Malay, and cook food that is a mixture of both cultures. Being a multiracial country Cultural exchanges and integrations are inevitable. This can be observed at Malay wedding ceremonies, which incorporates elements of the Hindu traditions of southern India. The bride and the groom dress in beautiful brocades, sit in state, and feed each other white rice and have their hands decorated with henna. Another instance is that Muslims as well as Hindus have taken on the Chinese custom of giving little red packets of money or 'ang pau' at festivals like Aidilfitri or Deepavali. The colors of the packets differ, but the concept is the same. In Malaysia it's possible to move from a kampong to a village, to a estate to an Chinese coffee shop, and feel as if you've seen many faces of the country. Go to one of the Kuala Lumpur suburb and observe. A Chinese house will feature an elderly woman who is praying, and she will be lighting joss sticks for her ancestors, an Indian family is listening to the the latest Tamil popular song, while the Malay family will be getting ready for a take a walk to the mosque closest to them. Racial relations are a contentious topic that is a part of every aspect of Malaysian life. Stereotypes are then inevitable. The Malays are lazy and slow while the Chinese are rich and tend to gamble The Indians are always drunk and are known to beat wives. It's still heard frequently in the streets, most of times in a humorous manner, but sometimes as an insult. To be identified with your race is a common practice. For example, job interviews require you to state your race, but this requirement is slowly decreasing. When you mention to someone in a Malaysian that you witnessed an accident on the road, he is likely to ask you whether you were a Malay, someone else, a Chinese or Indian. If you got robbed, you'd be asked if it was the case of a Malay or Indian. If you're being paid peanuts, your boss is likely Chinese. If you're on a motorbike, you're most likely Malay. If you live in an area that is upscale it's likely that you're Chinese. It's possible to go on, however, I would suggest you explore these stereotypes yourself! Apart from being a melting pot of diverse ethnic groups Malaysia is also an apex multireligious nation and has Islam as the main religion. Roughly 63 percent of the population practice Islam; 18 percent Buddhism as well as 7 percent Christianity as well as 6 percent Hinduism; and 2 percent traditional Chinese religions , such as Taoism. The remainder of the population is accounted for by other faiths, including Animism, Folk religion, Sikhism, while 1 percent do not have a religion. While the Malaysian constitution protects religious freedom, Malay Muslims are obliged to adhere to the rulings of Syariah justices when it comes to matters concerning Islam. The issue of conversion from Islam within Malaysia is a very controversial issue. While it has been tried by a few, it is one that will require lengthy legal battles and isn't popular with the majority of the Muslim faithful. The Islamic judges in Syariah courts are expected to follow the Islamic law. Syariah tribunals are supposed to adhere to an Islamic Shafi`I School of Islam, which is the main religious denomination of Islam that is practiced in Malaysia. The power to the Shariah court is limited to Muslims on matters like marriage as well as inheritance, apostasy religious conversion, custody. Other civil and criminal offenses are under the jurisdiction under the Syariah courts. There have been attempts by The Pan Islamic Party to implement the Hudud law, which is also known as Islamic law. This is a lot to process. It's important to understand how race, culture and religion play out in Malaysia to better understand Malaysian life. Now go out and see whether you recognize who's Malay and who's Chinese and who's Indian and who's as we Malaysians love to say Lain-lain or another. Economy Let's take a quick review of the Malaysian economy today. Spice trade was big business in Malaysia during the time under the Malaccan Sultanate. When the British took over the Sultanate, palm oil and rubber trees were a major source of income. Soon, Malaysia became the world's biggest producer of tin, rubber, and palm oil. With these three items, Malaysia was poised for enormous economic growth. During this growth period and the time of economic growth, the government attempted to eliminate poverty by implementing its controversial New Economic Policy, or the NEP following the May 13 Incident of the riots of racial origin in 1969. At that time, the economics were based on race: the Malays were employed for farmers on the fields of paddy, or civil servants. The Chinese owned enterprises, and the Indians used rubber trees to tap the estates for rubber. The policy's main objective was to remove the concept of race as a determinant of economic value which was the case during the period during the time of British. However, the New Economic Policy was laden with controversial affirmative policy that favors the Malays and were an issue of contention until today. At the time, Malaysia was heavily dependent on agriculture. It had to shift to an economy based on manufacturing. Inspired by the Asian Tigers in the 70s and 80s, which included South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, Malaysia moved from being reliant on agriculture and mining to an economy built on manufacturing. In the following years, Malaysia consistently achieved more than 7% GDP growth and low inflation during the 1980s and 90s. Nowadays, Malaysia is home to one of the biggest hard disk factories for computers. The Asian Financial Crisis hit in the autumn of 1997 and brought an economic shock to Malaysia. Foreign direct investment fell sharply and, as capital poured out of the country it was a time when the ringgit fell to 2.50 Ringgit versus 1 US Dollar and, at one time, 4.80 Ringgit versus 1 US Dollar. An National Economic Action Council was then formed to deal with the crisis in the economy. Bank Negara, the country's central bank, introduced capital controls and pegged the Malaysian ringgit at 3.80 in relation to US dollar. Malaysia declined economic aid packages of The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, much to the surprise of many analysts. Rejuvenation of Malaysian economy was accompanied by massive budget deficits and government spending during the time following the financial crisis. Malaysia was eventually able to enjoy a quicker economic recovery compared to its neighboring countries. Malaysia's rapid growth in economic and prosperity is exemplified by the construction of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur that are the tallest twin towers anywhere in the world. They are also the headquarters of Malaysia's national oil company. While the pace of Malaysia's progress today isn't as fast, it is considered to be more sustainable. Malaysia is also the largest Islamic banking and financial center. In the end, the fixed rate of exchange was abandoned in July 2005 in favour of a floating managed system within one hour of China making the same announcement. In that very time, in the same period of time, the Ringgit appreciated 1 percent against major currencies and was anticipated to strengthen further. Today, Malaysia is classified as a recently industrialized nation and , as of 2008, is home to a per capita GDP of 14,215 USD which ranks the country at 48th place in the world and 2nd among Southeast Asia, but lagging in comparison to its Southern neighbor, Singapore.