Your guide to being an expatriate in Malaysia

Caffeinate Your Malaysia Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy comprised of 13 states and three federal territories. Located in Southeast Asia, it shares borders with Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, andouses a strategic position between major economic hubs like Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia. Its modern and developing economy, combined with a relatively low cost of living, make it an attractive destination for expats from all over the world.


Expat destinations in Malaysia

Demographics of Malaysia:

Ethnic groups

Indian: 7%

Chinese: 24%

Malay (Bumiputra): 67%


Malay: Official (Bahasa Melayu)

Tamil: Tamil

Chinese: Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hokkien dialects

English: Official (Bahasa Inggeris)

Religion Overview

Islam is the official religion of Malaysia and is practiced by the majority of the population. However, other religions are freely practiced and protected by the constitution.

Major Religions


Malaysia has a tropical climate with high levels of humidity and rainfall year-round. Temperatures average around 26°C (79°F) with occasional heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Economy Overview

Malaysia's economy is a mix of agriculture, manufacturing, and services, with a focus on export-oriented industries such as electronics, petroleum, and petrochemicals. It is also rapidly developing its high-tech industry, particularly in the areas of biotechnology and information and communication technology.

Key Industries

  • Manufacturing
  • Services
  • Agriculture
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Major Companies

  • Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Berhad)
  • Proton (Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Melayu Berhad)
  • IoT Group (previously known as UTStarcom)
  • Sapura Energy Berhad (formerly Kumpulan Karachi Berhad)
  • Hap Seng Consolidated Berhad (construction and property development)

Culture and Language Overview

Malaysia's culture is a blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous cultures, resulting in a rich multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. The arts, music, and festivals of the indigenous communities also add unique flavors to the country's culture.

Cultural Highlights

  • Batu Caves (Limestone hill sacred to Hindus, contains a temple and 42 meters high statue of Lord Murugan)
  • Cameron Highlands (Tea plantations, scenic drives, and strawberry farms)
  • Penang Food Trail (Delicious local and international cuisine)
  • Pangkor Island (Golden sandy beaches and crystal-clear water for snorkeling)
  • Melaka (Historical town once invaded by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, now as a UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Geography and Landmarks Overview

With its lush rainforests, dense vegetation, and diverse wildlife, Malaysia's natural beauty is truly breathtaking. A variety of flora and fauna can be found here, ranging from orchids and rafflesias to orangutans and proboscis monkeys.

Notable Landmarks

  • Taman Negara National Park (Largest national park in Peninsular Malaysia, with ancient trees up to 130 meters high)
  • Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (Conservation center for orphaned orangutans)
  • Bako National Park (First national park in Malaysia, home to some rare endemic species)
  • Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (A group of five islands off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah)
  • Danum Valley Conservation Area (Home to diverse flora and fauna, including the iconic rafflesia flower)

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Chinese New Year (varies by lunar calendar)
  • Dayak New Year (Harvest Festival, celebrated by the Dayak ethnic group in Sarawak and Sabah)
  • Labour Day (May 1)
  • Hari Raya Puasa (End of Ramadan, also known as Eid Fitr)
  • Malaysia Day (September 16)
  • National Day (September 16)
  • Hari Raya Haji (Feast of Sacrifice, also known as Eid al-Adha)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Political Stability

Malaysia is a stable democracy, with a strong constitutional monarchy and a multi-party system. The country's political stability is supported by the rule of law and an independent judiciary. Some key issues facing the country include economic inequality, corruption, and environmental degradation.

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