Discover multicultural Malaysia: Key country facts

Malaysia is a country made up of two non-contiguous regions separated by the South China Sea (i.e. Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia).


With an annual growth rate of 1.4%, Malaysia is now the home of 31,142,353 people (2017 estimate), living in an area of 329,847 sq km. It has a fairly young population (median age of 28.2) and majority of the population (77%) live in urban areas.

Within the two regions, Malaysia has thirteen states and three federal territories in total:

  • Terengganu (1.15mil)
  • Negeri Sembilan (1.09mil)
  • Melaka (0.87mil)
  • Perlis (0.25mil)
  • Putrajaya (0.09mil)
  • Sabah (3.74mil)
  • Sarawak (2.71mil)
  • Labuan (0.09mil)
  • Selangor (6.18mil population)
  • Johor (3.58mil)
  • Perak (2.43mil)
  • Kedah (2.07mil)
  • Kelantan (1.77mil)
  • Kuala Lumpur (1.74mil)
  • Penang (1.68mil)
  • Pahang (1.59mil)


As you may already know, Malaysia is known to be one of the most unique countries in the world with its multi-ethnic, multi-religion, multicultural and multilingual society – living together as one in this beautiful land.

InsightAsia Malaysia

The population consists of various ethnic groups – estimates for 2010 reported the following distribution: Malays (50.1%), Chinese (22.6%), Indigenous, often known as “Bumiputras” which means the “sons of soil” (11.8%), Indian (6.7%), and other groups (8.9%).


Economically, Malaysia is fast-growing and is known to boasts one of South East Asia’s most vibrant economies. In 2016, is has a GDP (purchasing power parity) of $863 billion and a GDP (real growth rate) of 4.2%; where CPI in 2017 is estimated to be 4.4. On top of that, Malaysia is rank fifteen in the world for “open to business”.


Let’s look at Malaysians’ internet usage in figures. Internet usage is seen growing at a rate of 7% (vs. 2016) and now has a penetration rate of 72% of the population. Averagely, Malaysians spend 4:47 hrs/day on internet through laptop or desktop and 3:34 hrs/day through mobile devices.

Similarly, social media penetration among Malaysians is also fairly high – 71% (2017) versus a global average of 37%. Furthermore, social media usage is growing aggressively at a rate of 22% (vs. 2016) where the population spends about 3:19 hrs averagely per day on social media.

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Malaysia Fast Facts
Malaysia Country File
The World Factbook: Malaysia
Department of Statistics Malaysia
Internet World Stats
Digital in 2017 Global Overview
US News Best Countries