Malaysia MotoGP

03.11.2019 | Kuala Lumpur - Sepang International Circuit

Key Facts

Location: Southeast Asia.

Area: 329,847 sq km (127,355 sq miles).

Population: 30,513,848 (2015).

Population Density: 92.5 per sq km.

Capital: Kuala Lumpur.

Government: Constitutional monarchy.

Geography: Malaysia is situated in central South-East Asia, bordering Thailand in the north, with Singapore to the south and Indonesia to the south and west. It is composed of Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the north coast of the island of Borneo, 650 to 950km (404 to 600 miles) across the South China Sea. Peninsular Malaysia is an area of forested mountain ranges running north-south, on either side of which are low-lying coastal plains. The coastline extends some 1,900km (1,200 miles). The west coast consists of mangrove swamps and mudflats which separate into bays and inlets. In the west, the plains have been cleared and cultivated, while the unsheltered east coast consists of tranquil beaches backed by dense jungle. The major islands are Langkawi (a group of 99 islands), Penang and Pangkor off the west coast; and Tioman, Redang, Kapas, Perhentian and Rawa off the east coast. In Malaysian Borneo, Sarawak has alluvial and, in places, swampy coastal plains with rivers penetrating the jungle-covered hills and mountains of the interior. Sabah has a narrow coastal plain which gives way to mountains and jungle. Mt Kinabalu, at 4,094m (13,432ft), is the highest peak in Malaysia.

Language: Bahasa Melayu is the national and official language, but English is widely spoken. Other languages such as Chinese (Cantonese and Hokkien), Iban and Tamil are spoken by minorities.

Religion: Malaysia's official religion is Islam and 60% of the population are Muslim, but the country also has large Hindu and Buddhist populations. Chinese Malaysians also follow Taoist and Confucianist traditions and tribal people in Borneo and other remote areas following traditional animist beliefs.

Time: GMT + 8.

Social Conventions: Social conventions in Malaysia are dictated by religion and culture, with different norms amongst Muslim Malays, Indian Hindus and followers of Chinese religions. The catch-all greeting in Bahasa Melayu is selamat, but Malays are more likely to use the Arabic phrase assalamualaikum, meaning 'peace be with you'. The standard title for Malay men is Encik (pronounced Enchik), which can be used with or without the person’s name; single Malay women should be called Cik (pronounced Che) and married women Puan. Touching the hand to the chest is a sign of respect and a relaxed wrist and gentle touch should be adopted when shaking hands. Chinese and Indians usually use Western forms of address. Hospitality is always warm, lavish and informal. When eating food by hand, only the right hand should be used. Visitors should respect religious beliefs and follow the Malaysian example, particular when it comes to appropriate attire. Footwear should be taken off at the door when entering a house or temple. Outside the workplace, dress should be informal, but not overly casual.

Electricity: 240 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are used.

Head of Government: Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak since 2009.

Head of State: King Muhammad V ibni Sultan Ismail Petra since 2016.

Recent History: The dominant political organisation in Malaysia has long been the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO), which allied itself with several smaller formations to create the Barisan Nasional (NF, National Front). Between 1982 and 2003, Malaysian politics were shaped by the leadership of Mahathir Mohammed, a strident nationalist with an acerbic tongue and an intolerance of opposition in any form - something which saw him use the 9/11 attacks in the USA to demonise his Islamist opponents. His ruthlessness was exemplified when he framed his deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, for alleged homosexuality (which is illegal in Malaysia) and corruption, sentencing him to 15 years in prison.

Some problems have arisen lately between differing ethnic groups, largely due to a marked wealth gap between them, but generally, the various communities live harmoniously.

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