Malaysia, while classified as a ‘upper middle income’ country has experienced an average annual growth rate of around 6-7% since it gained independent status in 1957, one of the best economic records in Asia. This could mainly be attributed to fast transforming itself from being primarily a raw materials producer of tin (at one time Malaysia was the largest miner of this resource in the world) to expansions into many other multi sector markets such as electronic goods (with this particular sector making up the highest percentage of its overall exports for 2012). Away from exported goods, Malaysia has tried to diversify and open itself up to the tourism trade, now becoming it’s third largest source of income. Malaysia’s imports are mainly made up of machinery and transport equipment with their main sources of imported goods coming from China and neighbouring countries.
It is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country with the main religion being Islam but also having influences from China and India. It’s governmental system is based around the ‘Westminster Parliamentary System’, itself modelled around the politics of the U.K., a legacy of British Colonial rule. The government has defined a clear cultural policy for Malaysia based around the indigenous people but also allowing elements from other cultures. Islam of course has to also play a part in this. This multi-cultural diversity plays a part in the cuisine available in Malaysia although most dishes feature rice and chili regardless of what culture they are from.
There are many public holidays throughout the year in Malaysia, some are country wide while some are only observed by individual states. The most widely observed holiday is ‘Hari Merdeka’ or ‘Independence Day’ which is celebrated on 31st August.
Geographically Malaysia is actually split into two parts by the South China Sea. It’s has borders with Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei. Both parts of the country share similar landscapes with coastal plains graduating into hills and further on into mountains. The climate is quite equatorial and is characterised by the two main monsoon season, more details of which can be found in the next section.
Official Season Clarification
Malaysia is generally hot and humid throughout the year due to its equatorial location but there are two annual monsoons (a monsoon is a seasonal wind):
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