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Malaysia:
Geography

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Background
Definition
During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia; these were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo joined the Federation. The first several years of the country's history were marred by a Communist insurgency, Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's secession from the Federation in 1965. During the 22-year term of Prime Minister MAHATHIR bin Mohamad (1981-2003), Malaysia was successful in diversifying its economy from dependence on exports of raw materials to expansion in manufacturing, services, and tourism.
Location
Definition
Southeastern Asia, peninsula bordering Thailand and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia, Brunei, and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates
Definition
2 30 N, 112 30 E
Map references
Definition
Southeast Asia
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 329,750 sq km
land: 328,550 sq km
water: 1,200 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly larger than New Mexico
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 2,669 km
border countries: Brunei 381 km, Indonesia 1,782 km, Thailand 506 km
Coastline
Definition
4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km)
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation; specified boundary in the South China Sea
Climate
Definition
tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons
Terrain
Definition
coastal plains rising to hills and mountains
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Gunung Kinabalu 4,100 m
Natural resources
Definition
tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 5.46%
permanent crops: 17.54%
other: 77% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
3,650 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
580 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 9.02 cu km/yr (17%/21%/62%)
per capita: 356 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
flooding, landslides, forest fires
Environment - current issues
Definition
air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
Geography - note
Definition
strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea


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