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About Malaysia:

(from the CIA World Factbook)

Area: 329,847 sq km

Population: 31,809,660 (July 2018 est.)

Median age: 28.7 years

Capital: Kuala Lumpur

Ethnic Groups: Malay and indigenous 61.7%, Chinese 20.8%, Indian 6.2%, other 0.9%, non-citizens
10.4% (2017 est.)

Religions: Muslim 61.3%, Buddhist 19.8%, Christian 9.2%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism and
other traditional Chinese religions 1.3%, Other or Unspecified 1.4%, None 0.8% (2010 est.)

GDP (purchasing power parity): $933.3 billion (2017 est.)

GDP per capita: $29,100 (2017 est.)

Unemployment: 3.4% (2017 est.)

Other Facts:

Malaysia is made up of two noncontiguous regions: West Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula, which
consists of 11 states, and East Malaysia, on the island of Borneo, which consists of two states.

The political coalition Barisan Nasional had been in power for more than 50 years, but was defeated
by a coalition of opposition parties led by former leader Mahathir Mohamad in 2018.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has received media attention in connection with missing Malaysia
Airlines Flight 370. Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a distant relative and Anwar supporter.

Since Malaysia's independence in 1957, the sultans who are the hereditary monarchs in nine of the
country's 13 states have selected one of themselves to serve a five-year term as king. The king's role
is largely ceremonial in Malaysia, and the power to govern resides with the federal Parliament and
the prime minister.


1942-1945 - During World War II, the British protectorates Malaya and Borneo are occupied by

1946 - The Malayan Union is established and is originally comprised of 11 states.

1948 - The Malayan Union becomes the Federation of Malaya.

1957 - The Federation of Malaya becomes independent of Great Britain.

September 16, 1963 - Malaysia is established and includes the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, and
the Sarawak and Sabah colonies.

September 17, 1963 - The Philippines severs diplomatic relations with Malaysia due to
disagreements over territory in Sabah.
April 23, 1964 - The Malaysian Defense Ministry reports that Indonesian terrorists and guerillas were
behind the deaths of nearly three dozen Malaysians between September and March.

May 1964 - The Philippines and Malaysia resume diplomatic relations with consular missions in
Manila and Kuala Lumpur.

November 19, 1964 - Malaysia bans Indonesian-bound ships and planes carrying weapons and
ammunition from its airfields and ports.

August 1965 - Singapore breaks away from the Malaysian federation.

July 1981 - Mahathir becomes Malaysia's fourth prime minister, minister of home affairs and
minister of justice.

2009 - Prime Minister Najib Razak takes office. He is the son and nephew of former prime ministers.

July 18, 2011 - After a meeting between Najib and Pope Benedict XVI, Malaysia becomes the 179th
country to establish official diplomatic ties with the Vatican.

April 11, 2012 - Paramount Ruler Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah takes office as head of state.

January 2014 - Following a lengthy court battle that began in 1998, opposition leader and former
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anwar is acquitted of a sodomy charged.

March 2014 - After the government appeals Anwar's acquittal, a higher court overturns the decision
and sentences him to five years in prison.

March 8, 2014 - Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappears
from radar in airspace over the Gulf of Thailand.

March 15, 2014 - Najib announces that Flight 370 veered off course due to a deliberate action.

July 17, 2014 - Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashes in eastern Ukraine after being shot down by a
surface-to-air missile. All 298 people aboard are killed.

February 10, 2015 - Anwar's sodomy conviction is upheld in Malaysia's Federal Court.

March 8, 2016 - Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announces to Parliament that
Malaysian authorities foiled an ISIS plot to kidnap Prime Minister Najib, along with two other ranking
officials, in January.

November 19, 2016 - Thousands of people take to the streets of Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, to
call for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib. Public dissatisfaction with Najib has grown, especially
after news broke over alleged financial mismanagement of government-run fund 1Malaysia
Development Berhad (1MDB).

December 2016 - Muhammad V is sworn in as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Malaysia's head of
state. Previously, he reigned as sultan of Kelantan province for six years.

January 17, 2017 - The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is suspended.

May 9, 2018 - Former Prime Minister Mahathir, who ruled from 1981 until 2003, wins 121 seats in
the country's parliament, enough to form a simple majority and take control of the House.

May 10, 2018 - Mahathir, 92, is sworn in as prime minister.

May 15, 2018 - King Muhammad V grants Anwar a pardon for his sodomy conviction. Anwar was
originally sentenced to five years in prison and was scheduled for release in June 2018.

May 24, 2018 - Investigators announce that the Buk missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight
17 was fired from a launcher belonging to Russia's 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade. The Russian
Defense Ministry denies that any air defense missile systems ever crossed the Russia-Ukraine

January 6, 2019 - King Muhammad V announces his abdication, after serving two years of his five-
year term. It marks the first time in modern history that Malaysia's constitutional leader has stepped

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