Malaysia is a fantastic country with friendly citizens and a wealth of natural wonders to explore and enjoy. With a competitive economy, a fast growing GDP which improves every year, and the world’s largest export market in semiconductors and other electrical goods, Malaysia has a lot to offer people relocating abroad. Here are five particularly interesting facts about Malaysia which you may not have known before.
It’s a constitutional monarchy
Unlike Queen Elizabeth II who was born into the role of monarch, the King of Malaysia, Abdul Halim of Kedah, was elected into office in December 2011. In Malaysia the monarch is elected into office by the Conference of Rulers, and given a five year term in which to oversee the country. The Conference of Rulers is made up of the country’s sultans, who inherit their titles from their fathers.
Malaysians don’t really think of themselves as Malaysian
Ask an American what they are and they’ll say American. Ask someone from Britain and they may say that they’re British. According to The Rakyat Post, if you ask someone from Malaysia, they will probably say that they’re Malay, Chinese, Indian or Dan Lain Lain, meaning “other”.
55 per cent of Malaysians are Malay, 25 per cent are Chinese and 10 per cent are Indian. Sarawak and Sabah alone have more than 60 sub-ethnic groups living in the area. With such a wide range of ethnicities, Malaysia is considered a fascinating melting pot of cultures and is a popular destination for travellers and expats from around the world.
It has the world’s largest cave chamber
The largest cave chamber in the world is located in Malaysia. The Sarawak Chamber in Gunung Mulu National Park is absolutely massive, with enough space to hold a good 40-50 Boeing 747s. Whether or not you could actually park these planes in the Sarawak Chamber is another question entirely…
It has the world’s oldest tropical rainforest
Taman Negara is estimated to be more than 130 million years old, making it the world’s oldest tropical rainforest. The name Taman Negara simply means “national park” in Malay. To visit the park you need special permission from the government, but it’s well worth it considering if you have time to visit. This rainforest is home to rare mammals such as the Malayan tiger, the crab-eating macaque, Sumatran rhinos and even the Asian elephant.
It also has some incredible wildlife outside of the rainforest
Malaysia is home to 14,500 plant species, 200 mammalian species, 600 species of birds and 140 different species of snake. Among this impressive repertoire of wildlife, two in particular stand out. The Rafflesia is a genus of parasitic flower found in Malaysia. You’ll know a Rafflesia when you see it, not only because it’s the largest flower in the world with a cross section of over a metre in length, but because you’ll smell it before you see it. You may think that a giant flower smells beautiful – but you would be wrong. It’s likened to the smell of rotting flesh.
The King Cobra is another impressive species found in Malaysia. Not only is this the world’s longest venomous snake, but longest one ever was found in Malaysia at an impressive 5m 71cm. Malaysia has the highest number of King Cobras in the world.
Want to learn more about Malaysia? Visit our Malaysia Destination Guide!