Malaysia Demographics

What is the population of Malaysia?

Population 32,652,083
Population Growth Rate 1.51%
Urban Population 72.8%
Population in Major Urban Areas KUALA LUMPUR (capital) 1.556 million; Klang 1.19 million; Johor Bahru 1.045 million
Nationality Noun Malaysian(s)
Nationality Adjective Malaysian
Ethnic Groups Malay and other indigenous 58%, Chinese 24%, Indian 8%, others 10%
Languages Spoken Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai

Malaysia Health Information

What are the health conditions in Malaysia?

Contraceptive Prevalance Rate - female 15-49 49%
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 4.97
Diseases - note highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 98.5%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 0.4%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 100%
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) bacterial diarrhea
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 3.6%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.5%
HIV/Aids Deaths 5,200
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 1.8
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 11.77
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 16.32
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 14.12
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk intermediate
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 29
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 14%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 100,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population 1.2
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 4.3%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 96.1%
Sanitation Facitlity Access - percent of rural population improved 94.6%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 2.61
Underweight - percent of children under five years 12.9%
Vectorborne Disease (s) dengue fever
Water contact disease (s) leptospirosis

Malaysia Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Malaysia?

Life Expectancy at Birth 74 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 77 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 71 Years
Median Age 27 Years
Median Age - female 27 Years
Median Age - male 27 Years

Malaysia Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Malaysia median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 20
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 4.97
Median Age 27 Years
Median Age - female 27 Years
Median Age - male 27 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population -0.35
Population Growth Rate 1.51%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.06
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.07
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female 1.03
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .89

Malaysia Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Malaysia?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical facilities and services are adequate in the larger cities, where you can find Western-trained doctors. The U.S. Embassy can provide a list of English-speaking doctors and hospitals upon request. Psychological and psychiatric medical and counseling services are limited. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, although major credit cards are acceptable at some hospitals in larger cities.

Malaysian ambulance attendants do not have training equivalent to U.S. standards. Callers to Malaysia's "999" emergency number (equivalent to dialing 911 in the United States) are connected to the Red Crescent (a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), and patients are directed to whichever hospital the dispatcher chooses. If you are staying in Malaysia for a long time, and you have known health problems, you should investigate private ambulance services in the area and provide family and close contacts with the direct telephone number(s) of the service you prefer.

Air quality in Malaysia is acceptable most of the time. However, when Malaysia and nearby countries burn vegetation, especially from March through June and during September and October, air quality can range from “unhealthy for sensitive groups” to “unhealthy.”

Malaysia Education

What is school like in Malaysia?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 5.9%
Literacy - female 85.4%
Literacy - male 92%
Literacy - total population 88.7%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 13 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 13 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 13 Years

Malaysia Literacy

Can people in Malaysia read?

Literacy - female 85.4%
Literacy - male 92%
Literacy - total population 88.7%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai

Malaysia Crime

Is Malaysia a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Petty theft, particularly purse snatching and pick-pocketing, and residential burglaries are the most common crimes committed against foreigners. Other types of non-violent criminal activity include credit card fraud and automobile theft. In tourist areas such as Bukit Bintang, Petaling Street (Chinatown), Sri Hartamas, and Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur, and the main square in Malacca, the police have established small "Tourist Police” stations familiar with helping visitors to Malaysia.

There have been recent incidents of violent crime perpetrated against foreign tourists and local residents by taxi drivers in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Single women travelers are advised to book taxis in downtown shopping areas by phone, rather than to hail taxis on the street, particularly after dark. Upon entering a taxi, confirm there is a license (with photo) on the dashboard or seatback, and that the driver's appearance matches the photo. Taxis are not permitted to stop to pick up additional passengers. Some drivers, particularly in tourist areas, refuse to use the meter despite a law prohibiting the practice.

SPAD, the government body regulating taxis in Malaysia, has an English language hotline for reporting problems: 1-800-88-7732,

Scams: U.S. citizens and businesses continue to be the victims of scams originating in Malaysia. Scammers and confidence artists contact U.S. citizens through the telephone and Internet, including dating websites. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have unexpectedly experienced a medical, legal, financial or other type of “emergency” in Malaysia and who ask the U.S. citizen in the United States to send money quickly to Malaysia. Co-conspirators pose as Malaysian lawyers or medical professionals to verify the story and the supposed urgent need for cash. There have also been cases of U.S. businesses being defrauded by faulty investment scams. We strongly urge U.S. citizens in the United States to be very cautious about sending money to people they have not met in person and who claim to be U.S. citizens in trouble in Malaysia. If you insist on sending money, consider sending an OCS Trust though the U.S. Department of State instead of direct Western Union or MoneyGram. OCS trusts are deposited directly with the nearest U.S. embassy and consulate overseas for pick up by verification of an I.D. If you are scammed and wish to make a formal complaint (in person or via e-mail), the Malaysian Embassy or the nearest Malaysian consulate in the United States will accept the complaint and transmit it to the police for follow-up. Resources on how to identify, protect yourself, and report on business and financial fraud can be found in the Department of State's publication, International Financial Scams. Additional resources can be found at StopFraud.gov (a service of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force) and from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Purse Snatchings: In most purse-snatching incidents, two thieves on a motorcycle speed up from behind a victim, and the passenger on the back snatches a purse, handbag, or cellular phone. Thieves have also conducted snatch-thefts while leaning out of the passenger side of moving vehicles. Increasingly, robbers confront a victim in larger groups. These types of thefts can occur at all hours and often in front of large groups of witnesses, even in upscale neighborhoods frequented by expatriates. Women walking by themselves or with small children are the most common targets, but men walking or jogging alone have also been targeted. Victims have been injured and even killed after falling and being dragged by thieves in cars or on motorcycles. More recently, some thieves carrying knives have slashed and cut the victim in order to shock the victim into immediately releasing valuable items.

To avoid becoming the victim of a purse snatching, be alert and aware of your surroundings. Pedestrians should walk facing traffic and keep a close eye on all vehicular traffic, particularly motorcycles. If possible, try to walk on the sidewalk away from the curb. Avoid poorly lit streets, shortcuts, and narrow alleys, but be aware that attacks may still occur anywhere. Purses or shoulder bags should be closed and tucked under the arm. Do not wrap the strap around your arm or shoulder. People have been injured or killed by being pulled to the ground by their purse straps as the thieves sped off. If your purse or bag is snatched, report the incident as soon as possible to the police.

Smash-and-Grab Robberies: The targets of smash-and-grab robberies are motorists who are stuck in traffic or stopped at a light. The usual scenario is that a pair of thieves on a motorcycle identifies a car with a lone passenger (male or female) and with valuables (e.g., purse, bag) visible. The thieves use a hammer or crowbar to smash the window of the car, grab the bag, and speed off. If the motorist's windows are already open, the motorcyclists simply reach in and take bags off the seat of the car. You can prevent these crimes by keeping valuables like purses and laptops out of sight while driving or removing them from the car (including from the trunk) when parked. GPS monitors should not be left on the windscreen or dashboard.

Credit Card Fraud: While traveling in Malaysia you should closely safeguard your credit card numbers at all times, and use the cards only at reputable establishments. Credit card fraud continues to be a problem in the region, although enhanced technology has reduced reported instances of fraud. Unauthorized charges may not show on a credit card account for several months but can unexpectedly appear in amounts of $5,000 or more. One of the more common methods of carrying out this fraud is for retailers to swipe the credit card under the counter where a machine containing a mobile phone SIM card receives the card's information and transmits it to a criminal organization for reproduction. You should watch retailers closely and any “under the table” transactions should be reported to the local police. In some cases, sophisticated criminal organizations have tapped into data lines emanating from retail establishments. The criminals then steal the credit card information while it is being transmitted to financial institutions. If you must use a credit card in Malaysia, you should check your account information frequently for fraudulent charges. ATM cards are safer as long as the machines where they are used are associated with reputable Malaysian banks.

Don't buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, you are encouraging criminal activity if you buy them.

Malaysia Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Malaysia, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don't have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In Malaysia, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail.These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Malaysia, your U.S. passport won't help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It's very important to know what's legal and what's not wherever you go.

If you violate the law, even unknowingly, you may be fined, expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Malaysia strictly enforces its drug laws. If you possess, use, or traffic in illegal drugs in Malaysia, you will be sentenced to significantly longer prison sentences and much heavier fines than in the United States. Malaysian legislation provides for a mandatory death penalty for convicted drug traffickers. If you are arrested in possession of 15 grams (1/2 ounce) of heroin or 200 grams (seven ounces) of marijuana, you will be presumed by law to be trafficking in drugs.

The Malaysian criminal code includes a provision for a sentence of caning for certain white-collar crimes, including criminal misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, and cheating. If you collect and/or remove local flora and fauna or protected species without authorization from the Malaysian government, you may be prosecuted criminally and may be sentenced to heavy fines, expulsion, and/or imprisonment.

Distribution of religious leaflets or books of another faith to Malaysian Muslims is illegal; if you engage in this action, you may be arrested and imprisoned. Occasionally, special religious authorities coordinate with local police to conduct raids on popular nightspots and hotels to deter activities among local Muslims that contravene religious customs, including drinking alcohol and having premarital sex.

Arrest notifications in Malaysia: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case in Malaysia. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the U.S. Embassy as soon as you are arrested. You should carry your U.S. passport and current social visit pass (visa) with you at all times, so that if you are questioned by local officials, you will have proof of your identity, U.S. citizenship, and legal status in Malaysia readily available.

Malaysia Population Comparison

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