Everyday life in Malaysia

Malaysia ranks 47th in the world (out of 60 countries analyses) on the 2018 NUMBEO quality of life index with a score of 116.05. Denmark tops the ranking with a score of 197.75, and at number 60 is Vietnam with a score of 81.09. Thailand occupies position 52 with a score 101.18. Malaysia scores moderately well in the index on purchasing power and health care, but poorly on safety and on the cost of living in relation to average incomes in relation to more developed countries. Malaysia has some way to go before life there becomes similar to life in Western Europe and North America

Economy of Malaysia

During the last three decades of the 2oth Century and the the first decade of the 21st Century Malaysia has undergone a process of industrialisation. Slightly over a tenth of Malaysia’s labour force is engaged in agriculture, which is huge contrast to neighbouring Thailand where nearly half the labour force makes a living farming. Over 90% of Malaysia income comes from industry and the service industry, of which tourism is an important element.

Many Malaysian people farm small holdings
Many Malaysian people farm small holdings

The Government of Malaysia is heavily dependent on its income from oil production, with the state owned Petronas company currently providing around 30% of the Government total annual income. A large proportion of the income from fossil fuels is redistributed to the people of Malaysia with subsidies on basic commodities such as flour, rice, cooking oil and petrol. The Malaysian Government spends around 20% of it annual expenditure on subsiding the cost of living in Malaysia.

Religion in Malaysia

Malaysia is a country of many religions and there is large degree of freedom of worship, although by law ethnic Malays are required to be Muslims. A 2010 census complied by the Malaysian Government found that 61.3% of the population identified themselves as Muslim, 19.8% as Buddhist, 9.2% as Christian, 6.3% as Hindu and the rest identifying themselves as believers in ancient Chinese and tribal faiths. Few respondents stated they were atheists possibly out of fear of persecution.

West Malaysia

West Malaysia, which is also referred to as Peninsular Malaysia, is the more heavily populated of the two halves of the country and home to around 80% of the population. This part of the country is majority Muslim and ethnic Malay, although there are large number of people of Chinese and Indian origin living there as well over 100,000 aboriginal people living in the interior known collectively as the ‘Orang Asli’ although other than the location where they live many of the different tribes have little in common with each other and largely do not wish to participate in mainstream Malaysian society which many perceive as prejudiced against them.

East Malaysia

East Malaysia is located on the island of Borneo and has a degree of independence from the Malaysia national government based in West Malaysia, for instance they were granted power to decide their own immigration policy and separate land laws from the time when this region become a part of modern Malaysia in 1963. East Malaysia has a different ethnic make up to West Malaysia. Ethnic Malays make up only 14% of the population with 53% of the population identified as indigenous to the island of Borneo and nearly 15% as being of Chinese origin. Slightly over half the population is Muslim with around 30% of people in East Malaysia identifying themselves as Christian. Whilst Sabah is one of the poorer states in Malaysia, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Lauban are more prosperous than many parts of Peninsular Malaysia, and it status as an off-shore banking centre has been helpful in achieving this prosperity.

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