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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Malaysia Life

With a population of about 18 million, one of the extraordinary facets of Malaysia is indeed its people. Malaysia has traditionally been a meeting point for traders and travelers from both the East and West because of its central location, between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. As a result, Malaysia has a multicultural and multiracial population consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and numerous indigenous people. The country's racial, religious and cultural harmony is something you'll truly come to appreciate. Naturally, from this richly mixed populace spawns an endless list of festivals and celebrations, all year round.

Indigenous Malays constitute roughly 62 percent of the population. But immigrants, especially Chinese (who make up 30 percent of the population), have a tremendous presence in the country. Most of the nation's millionaires, outside royalty, are Chinese. Indians constitute about 10 percent of the population. The rest are small numbers of Arabs, Indonesians, Filipinos, and Pakistanis.

Although Malaysia's ethnic mix is generally harmonious, the various communities remain largely separate, and things have not always been so peaceful. Malaysia has adopted many Chinese customs. The entire country celebrates Chinese New Year, when streets are lined with banners and lion-dancers weave through excited crowds. Indians were among the first traders to arrive on Peninsular Malaysia, their numbers growing in the 1800s. Unlike Malays and Chinese, Indians are clustered in a handful of areas, notably Penang, Perak, and Selangor, but their influence on Malaysian culture is profound.

Malaysia's indigenous inhabitants are the Orang Asli, which means "original people". The Orang Asli belong to many different races and tribes. Among them are Negritos. The major population in Sarawak are made up of different races mainly the Ibans, Chinese, Malay, Bidayuh, Melanau, and other ethnic groups. Sabah population is made up of Kadazan, Chinese, Dusun, and other ethnic groups.

Bahasa Malaysia is the official language, but when members of these communities talk to each other, they normally use English-the official international language. English has been the medium of instruction in tertiary education for many years. But now, Bahasa Malaysia has been reinstated in many learning institutions to be the official language of instruction.
The official religion in Malaysia is Islam and all the Malays in Malaysia are Muslims. Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism constitute the rest of the population's religion.


Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM

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