Malaysia was formed in 1963 through a federation of the former British colonies of Malay and Singapore, including the East Malaysian States of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo. The country is divided into 13 States and 3 Federal Territories.
Malaysia is located in South East Asia with its primary peninsula bordering Thailand and Indonesia. On-third of the island Borneo which is bordered by Brunei while Indonesia occupies the remaining portion of the island of Borneo.
According to the latest census held in 2000, the total population of Malaysia was 23.27 million people compared to 18.38 million in 1991 thus giving an average annual population growth rate of 2.6% over the 10 year period. The median age was 23.6 years old compared to 21.9 in the 1991 census. Over 33% of the population was below 15 years old, while only 3.9% of the population was over 65 years old. The urban population grew from 50.7% in 1991 to 62.0% as recorded in the 2000 census.
The Government of Malaysia is headed by the Paramount Ruler and a bicameral Parliament consisting of a non-elected upper house and an elected lower house. Four States do not maintain monarchy rulers; however maintain Governors, which are appointed by the Government. The Paramount Ruler is Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Almarhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail, the Raja of Perlis since December 2001. The head of Government is the Prime Minister, which is Abdullah bin Ahmad Badawi since October 2003. The Cabinet is appointed by the Prime Minister from members of Parliament with consent of the Paramount Ruler.
A bi-cameral Parliament consists of a Senate of which 43 seats are appointed by the Paramount Ruler and 26 are appointed by the State legislatures. The House of Representatives hold 193 seats and members are elected by popular vote weighted toward the rural Malay population to serve five-year terms.
Education is a...