Malaysia

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Malaysia physically consists of two major parts - West Malaysia or Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia.

West Malaysia is situated on the southern part of the Malay Peninsula. To the north is Thailand and to the south is Singapore. To the west, across the Strait of Malacca is Sumatra.

East Malaysia is situated on the island of Borneo.

The capital of Malaysia is now officially Putrajaya, a city created specifically for that purpose but the largest city and old capital of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia was created in 1963 through the merging of Malaya (independent in 1957) and the former British Singapore, both of which formed West Malaysia, and Sabah and Sarawak in north Borneo, which composed East Malaysia. The first three years of independence were marred by hostilities with Indonesia. Singapore seceded from the union in 1965.

Malaysia possesses abundant resources and land, a well-educated work force, adequate infrastructure, and a relatively stable political environment.

Malaysia made a quick economic recovery in 1999 from its worst recession since independence in 1957. GDP grew 5%, responding to a dynamic export sector, which grew over 10% and fiscal stimulus from higher government spending. The large export surplus has enabled the country to build up its already substantial financial reserves, to $31 billion at yearend 1999. This stable macroeconomic environment, in which both inflation and unemployment stand at 3% or less, has made possible the relaxation of most of the capital controls imposed by the government in 1998 to counter the impact of the Asian financial crisis. While Malaysia's immediate economic horizon looks bright, its long-term prospects are clouded by the lack of reforms in the corporate sector, particularly those dealing with competitiveness and high corporate debt.

Originally from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the U.S. Department of State website. To be Wikified soon. Hopefully.