Quick Facts

  • Formerly Malaya (a British protectorate), gained its independence on August 31, 1957. Malaya united with Sarawak, Sabah, and Singapore to form Malaysia on Sept. 16, 1963. Singapore was expelled from the federation in 1965.
  • Location: Southeastern Asia, peninsula bordering Thailand and northern 1/3 of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia, Brunei and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam
  • Population: 30,513,848
  • Area: 127,355 sq. miles (slightly larger than the state of New Mexico)
  • Capital and largest city: Kuala Lumpur (pop. 6.837 million)
  • Climate: tropical; annual southwest (April – Oct.) and northeast (Oct. – Feb.) monsoons
  • Terrain: coastal plains rising to hills and mountains
  • Ethnic groups: Malay 50.1%, Chinese 22.6%, indigenous 11.8%, Indian 6.7%, other
  • Official language: Bahasa Malaysia
  • Official religion: Islam
  • Literacy: 94.6%
  • Economy: Malaysia has been successful in diversifying its economy from dependence on exports of raw materials to the development of manufacturing services and tourism.  ourism has become Malaysia’s third largest source of income.
  • Current weather conditions: www.weather.com
  • Tips for travel in country: www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates: www.xe.com


Government in Power

  • A constitutional monarchy
  • King Tuanku Adul Halim Mu’adzam Shah (since 2011) – a ceremonial position
  • Head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed Najib bin Abdul Razak (since 2009) – appointed by the cabinet


Healthcare Statistics

  • Maternal mortality rate: 40/100,000
  • Infant mortality rate: 13.27/1,000
  • Life expectancy: 74.75 years
  • Health expenditures: 4% of GDP
  • Physicians density: 1.2 physicians/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density: 1.9 beds/1,000 population
  • HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 0.45%
  • Major infectious diseases risk: intermediate
  • Infectious diseases: bacterial diarrhea, dengue fever, leptospirosis, avian influenza
  • Obesity adult prevalence rate: 12.9%
  • Infectious disease updates: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm

Images From the Field

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Area Agencies

Field Stories

Flexibility, Adaptability, Patience and Enthusiasm   All of the above traits are very important on relief trips! I believe that each warrants a word when it comes to relief work. Flexibility – Be very flexible with your expectations. Despite a given itinerary, on some trips the plan changes as soon as you land. Timelines often fall apart […]


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