Malaysia has a population of over 25 million people who reside in
the Peninsular and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the Borneo Island.
The country prides itself on the harmonious existence of various races
as a nation. While the majority are Malays; Chinese, Indians, Ibans,
Kadazan, Dusuns and other ethnic groups make up a colourful and vibrant
society. Malaysias official language is Bahasa Malaysia, but
English is widely spoken. The official religion of Malaysia is Islam,
and the nation comprises Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and
followers of other religions. The various ethnic groups, cultures
and languages make Malaysia, Truly Asia.
Brief history/ Legend/ Myths
Malaysias recorded history dates back to the first century
BC. Located strategically at the crossroads between the East and
West. Peninsula Malaysia had attracted early travellers from different
parts of the world. Evidence of ancient civilizations such as tomb
stones can be found in Bujang Valley and Merbok Valley in the state
of Kedah, as well as Hindu-Buddhist influences from India and China.
Islamic influence came during the Melaka Sultanate
in the 1400s with traders from the Middle East and India. It spread
across the nation when the Sultan of Melaka embraced the religion
and personally helped spread it across the nation. The reign of
the Sultanate also created trade ties with the Kingdom of China.
Melakas spice trade led to its attack by the
Portuguese in 1511, resulting in the fall of the Sultanate. Together
with their conquest, the Portuguese brought in Catholic Christianity
to the locals. But in 1641 the Dutch took over control of Melaka.
The British came at the end of the 18th century in the wake of the
Industrial Revolution in Europe. They formed crown colony states
of the Peninsular called the Straits Settlements and subtly intervened
in the administration of the previously independent states.
In East Malaysia, Sabah became a British protectorate
under the Chartered Company, British North Borneo, whilst the Brooke
family ruled Sarawak as the White Rajah, meaning the White King,
for 100 years. In 1941, the Japanese invaded the country and ruled
for about three years before their surrender to the Allied Forces
after the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
The end of World War II was the beginning of the
birth of nationalism in the country. Independence was proclaimed
on August 31, 1957 at 9.00 am, Tunku Abdul Rahman (who became the
first Prime Minister) read the Proclamation of Independence. It
marked the birth of a new nation, the Federation of Malaya. In 1963,
Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak joined hands to form Malaysia.
Singapore, however, withdrew herself from the Federation in 1965
to become an independent government.
Malaysia has well-developed air and sea
connections. It is also accessible by road and rail through Thailand
and Singapore on the Peninsular. More than 25 major airlines service
the international airports throughout the nation. Port Klang and Penang
in the Straits of Malacca link the country to the rest of the world
Internal travel is relatively easy, comfortable and
cheap. The major towns and cities are served by air-conditioned
trains and buses and also by regular scheduled flights. Travelling
by road in Peninsular Malaysia is popular as it has a well-developed
network of roads.
In Sabah and Sarawak, traveling by four-wheel drive
is recommended on unpaved roads, and many remote areas can only
be reached by air or river boats. Travelling by rail is also highly
recommended as you get a panoramic view of the countryside. To get
value for money when traveling by rail, plan your journey in advance.
A valid passport (and visa if applicable) is required for all persons
A passport is also necessary for travel between Peninsular
Malaysia and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, as
well as between Sabah and Sarawk.
Dutiable goods brought into the country may be imposed a
refundable deposit of up to 50% of its value
Non-dutiable goods allowed include cameras, cassette players,
cosmetics, lighters, pens, perfumes and watches
For resident and non-resident travellers, approval is needed
for carrying more than RM1,000 in cash
While resident travelers require permission to take out of
the country amounts equivalent to more than RM10,000, non-resident
travellers are not allowed to do so
Bringing in items such firearms and pornographic
materials are strictly prohibited
The national language is Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) but English is widely
spoken, being a compulsory subject in schools and the main Primary
6, Lower Secondary and the local version of 'O' Level examinations.
Other major languages used are Chinese and
Tamil. The government has also been encouraging the frontliners
of hotels and tourism-related business people to learn other international
Malaysia has a population of about 22 million. It is a multi-racial
country whose social integration has become a model for the rest
of the world. Almost 80% of the total population occupy the Peninsular.
There are three main races in the country. The Malays, who are Muslims,
form the majority in the country. The other two main racial groups
are the Chinese, who are mostly Buddhists and the Indians, who are
mainly Hindus. Others who make up the population include the Eurasians
and the more than 50 indigenous groups from Sabah and Sarawak like
the Kadazans, Dusuns, Muruts, Ibans, Orang Ulu, Melanau, Bidayuhs,
Penans, just to name a few. The different races have their own traditions
and customs which gives Malaysia a colourful heritage. The important
festivals of each race is a public holiday in the country and celebrated
by all regardless of race and beliefs.
In terms of dressing, most Malaysians, regardless
of their race, wear Western clothes. However, during special occasions
and festivals, many will don traditional costumes complete with
their elaborate accessories.
The official religion of the country is Islam,
which is synonymous with the Malays. Other races are free to profess
and practice any religion in an atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance.
The other main religions include Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and
Most religious festivals are public holidays and
celebrated nationwide regardless of race or belief. There are many
fascinating observances in this culturally-rich land of different
ethnic and religious backgrounds. The festivals and new years do
not have fixed dates as Christmas does. They are determined by calculations
on the lunar calendar which means that no dates are the same from
year to year.
Hot and humid all year around, Malaysia
enjoys an equatorial climate of temperatures ranging from 22 to 32
degrees Celcius in the lowlands. However, it is cooler in highland
areas. The annual rainfall here averages 200 250 cm. Dressing
in clothing of breathable and light material is advised. Comfortable
and warm garments need be worn only at hill resorts.
The standard Malaysian time is eight hours ahead of GMT.
Money exchange facilities are available
in all major towns. The Malaysian Ringgit (RM) comes in denominations
of RM1, RM5, RM10, RM50 and RM100, and coins from one sen (cents),
5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen, 50 sen and RM1. All major credit cards are
accepted in most establishments.
All commercial banks are authorised foreign exchange
dealers and open from 9.30 am to 4 pm on weekdays, and 9.30 am to
12 noon on Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays, the first and
third Saturdays of the month, and public holidays.
However, the banks in Kelantan and Terengganu close
on Fridays. They are open from 9.30 am to noon from Saturdays to
Thursdays, except on the first and third Thursday of the month.
Other licensed moneychangers operate in key entry/exit points and
shopping malls. Most hotels exchange foreign currency and accept
Since Malaysia enjoys a tropical climate which is hot and sunny,
lightweight clothing, as well as cotton, is ideal when going for
sightseeing or traveling around town. Generally, t-shirts and shorts
However, do dress appropriately when dining out in
restaurants or going for a night out, particularly in cities. Certain
establishments also have a dress code. It is also important to dress
decently (no shorts) when visiting villages and also any places
|Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur
2 Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel : 60-3-2144
2200 Fax : 60-3-2144 1628
© Copyright HPL Hotels & Resorts Pte Ltd. 2004