Malaysia

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Malaysia

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions: Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia, as well as a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital, the country's largest city, and the seat of the legislative branch of the federal government. Putrajaya is the administrative centre, which represents the seat of both the executive branch (the Cabinet, federal ministries, and federal agencies) and the judicial branch of the federal government. With a population of over 34 million, the country is the world's 43rd-most populous country. Malaysia is tropical and is one of 17 megadiverse countries; it is home to numerous endemic species. Tanjung Piai in the Malaysian state of Johor is the southernmost point of continental Eurasia.

The country has its origins in the Malay kingdoms, which, from the 18th century on, became subject to the British Empire, along with the British Straits Settlements protectorate. During World War Two, British Malaya, along with other nearby British and American colonies, was occupied by the Empire of Japan.[15] Following three years of occupation, Peninsular Malaysia was briefly unified as the Malayan Union in 1946 until 1948 when it was restructured as the Federation of Malaya. The country achieved independence on 31 August 1957. On 16 September 1963, independent Malaya united with the then British crown colonies of North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore to become Malaysia. In August 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation and became a separate, independent country.[16]

The country is multiethnic and multicultural, which has a significant effect on its politics. About half the population is ethnically Malay, with minorities of Chinese, Indians, and indigenous peoples. The official language is Malaysian Malay, a standard form of the Malay language. English remains an active second language. While recognising Islam as the official religion, the constitution grants freedom of religion to non-Muslims. The government is modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system, and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is an elected monarch, chosen from among the nine state sultans every five years. The head of government is the prime minister.

After independence, the gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average rate of 6.5% per year for almost 50 years. The country's economy has traditionally been driven by its natural resources but is expanding into commerce, tourism, and medical tourism. The country has a newly industrialised market economy, and it ranks very high in the Human Development Index. The country is a founding member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the East Asia Summit (EAS), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Commonwealth, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).