Malaysia Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Malaysia: population and cities


According to Countryaah website, Malaysia has around 32 million residents.

Ethnic composition

Malaysians 54%

Bumiputeras (indigenous people) 11%

Malysians of Chinese origin 24%

Religious affiliation

The state religion is Islam, to which around 60% of the population profess. About 2.5 million Christians live in the country, that is about 9%. The Malaysians of Chinese descent are mostly Buddhists, Confucians or Christians. The Malaysians of Indian origin are Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Christians. Animism or Christianity is widespread among the indigenous tribes.

National language

Malay (Bahasa Malaysia). English, Chinese and Indian are also spoken.

Capital and other cities

The capital of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur, with a population of 1.5 million. The name means swampy bay or muddy river mouth. The city did not emerge until the end of the 19th century and emerged from earlier tin mines. According to Abbreviation Finder, MYS stands for Malaysia in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.


Putrajaya is the new seat of government. The city has 68,000 residents and is named after the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra (1957-1970). Putrajaya was previously called Prang Besar and is located in Selangor State, about 40 km from Kuala Lumpur. The project for the new government city began in 1995 and is expected to be completed in 2005.


Cyberjaya aims to become a multimedia city. The city is to be developed between the main city and the seat of government on a strip 15 km wide and 50 km long south of Kuala Lumpur.

Other cities are:


Kelang with around 684,000 residents and Johor Bharu with around 683,000 residents.

Malaysia: geography and map

Malaysia extends south of Thailand from the mainland to the island of Borneo. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Malaysia.

The peninsula on mainland Asia is called West Malaysia, while the part on the island of Borneo is called East Malaysia. West Malaysia is located on the Malay Peninsula south of Thailand. At the southern end – separated by the Strait of Singapore – is the state of Singapore on a series of islands, the main island of which, however, is connected to Malaysia by a bridge. The other part – East Malaysia – is in the northern part of Borneo and is separated from the western part of the country by the South China Sea. Malaysia surrounds the small state of Brunei Darussalem on Borneo.

The country covers a total area of 329,750 km².

National borders

Malaysia has a common border with a total of three countries:

Brunei with a length of around 381 km,

Indonesia with a length of around 1,782 km,

Thailand with a length of around 506 km.


Malaysia has a coastline to the sea with a length of around 4,675 km, of which 2,068 km on the peninsula Malaysia and 2,607 km on Borneo.

Longitude and latitude

Malaysia extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

West Malaysia: Δφ = from 1 ° 20` – 6 ° 30` North, Δλ = from 100 ° 55` – 103 ° 40`East East Malaysia: Δφ = from 0 ° 40` – 6 ° 55` North, Δλ = from 109 ° 35` – 119 ° 25`East

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

For Malaysia, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there, a plus sign that it is later than CET:

Δt (CET) = + 7 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is located at a northern latitude of around φ = 03 ° and is therefore close to the equator and thus in the middle of the tropics.

If the declination of the sun has a value of 03 ° North, and thus the image point of the sun is exactly above the city, the sun is perpendicular there. This happens exactly twice a year, roughly 12 days after March 21st and 12 days before September 21st.


If the image point of the sun and thus the declination δ is north of the latitude of Kuala Lumpur, the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our latitudes, but in the north. In this case, the sun moves from east to north to west, where, like us, it sets.


Gunung Kinabalu

The highest mountain in the country is Gunung Kinabalu with a height of 4,095 m. The mountain is located in the state of Sabah in northeast Borneo.

In order to climb the mountain, which requires good fitness and health, you have to register in advance at the national park office. Then it goes by minibus from the park office to Timpohon Gate at 1,800 m above sea level. From here you have to walk properly to the Laban Rata huts at an altitude of 3,250 m, where you will spend the night. The last 800 meters in altitude are tackled very early in the morning and require between 2.5 and 4.5 hours to get to the summit. The mountain is not glaciated. Other high mountains are:

  • Gunung Tangsiwith a height of 2,707 m
  • Gunung Trusmadiwith a height of 2,643 m
  • Gunung Tambuyukonwith an altitude of 2,580 m
  • Gunung Muluwith a height of 2,376 m



The longest river in the country is the Rajang with a length of around 563 km. It is located in the Sarawak region of Borneo and is navigable as far as Kapit, about 160 km upstream.


The Pahang has a length of around 475 km. The river is the longest river on the Malaysian Peninsula and flows from the Cameron Highlands into the South China Sea.


The Kinabatangan has a length of around 540 km and is located in Sabah


The Baram has a length of around 400 km and is located on Borneo


Tasik Chini

The largest lake is the Tasik Chini in Penang with an area of about 700 km².

Lake Pedu

The 75 km² Lake Pedu is located on the Thai border and is a paradise for anglers.

The lake is surrounded by almost untouched jungle.

Kenyir Lake

The Kenyir Lake with a size of 369 km² is the largest artificial lake in Southeast Asia. There are over 300 smaller islands in the lake.


The following islands are located in front of the country or belong to the state elsewhere:


Borneo covers an area of 743,122 km² and is roughly twice the size of Germany.

The island is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. It is the third largest island in the world.


Penang with the capital of the island George Town covers an area of 285 km². The island is located in the north on the west coast of West Malaysia.

Langkawi Islands

The Langkawi group of islands with the main island of the same name consist of 99 islands. The archipelago is located on the west coast of West Malaysia near the border with Thailand.


Tioman is located around 40 km off the east coast of West Malaysia in the South China Sea. The island was named one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world by Time magazine in the 1960s. A dense rainforest grows behind the white beaches. The island is surrounded by one of the most attractive coral reefs in Malaysia. The clear and warm water around the island is also home to an enormous wealth of marine flora and fauna.

The island is popular with nature lovers and especially divers. There are no cars on the island. The main season starts at the beginning of February and lasts until the end of October.


This holiday island with hotels and diving schools is located east of West Malaysia approx. 15 km from the mainland.


Rawa is about 30 km north of Redang, also on the east coast of West Malaysia, from which it is about 13 km away.

South China Sea, Strait of Malacca

South China Sea

Malaysia borders the South China Sea to the east and Borneo to the northwest.

The South China Sea is part of the China Sea and thus a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. In addition to the South China Sea, the China Sea also includes the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea. The South China Sea covers an area of approximately 2,975,000 km² and has a maximum depth of 5,015 m. The sea lies between China, the Indochinese and Malay Peninsulas and the islands of Taiwan, Luzon, Palawan and Borneo. In addition to Malaysia, the following countries are located on the South China Sea in alphabetical order: Brunei, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, which is correctly located in the east on the Gulf of Thailand – but which is part of the South China Sea – as well as Vietnam. A more detailed description of the South China Sea can be foundhere >>>

Strait of Malacca

The Strait of Malacca is one of the busiest waterways in the world and is notorious for its pirate raids. It is located on a length of around 800 km – with a width of around 55 km near the city of Malaka (Malacca) in Malaysia – between the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. The road connects the Andaman Sea with the South China Sea and the Java Sea. The ships travel to and from Malaka and Singapore by road.

Sulu Lake

The Sulu Sea is located in the northeast of East Malaysia on Borneo.

It extends between the northeastern Visaya Islands (Philippines), the island of Mindanao (Philippines) in the east, the Sulu Archipelago in the southeastern Philippines), Borneo in the southwest (Malaysia) and Palawan (Philippines) in the northwest. The deepest point is at 7,020 m. The Tubbataha Atolls in the Sulu Sea are surrounded by a large continuous coral reef. Because of the strong monsoon winds, the sea can only be navigated relatively safely from March to early June. The same applies to diving vacationers, who mostly start from Puerto Princesa on Palawan. The sea area became known worldwide through a kidnapping case from the holiday island of Sipadan. On April 23, 2000, 22 vacationers and local employees were kidnapped from there by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf to Jolo.

The danger of falling victim to pirates is extremely high in the Sulu Sea. Private yachts in particular should definitely avoid this sea area.

Malaysia Population