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The Country

Situated partly on the Malay Peninsula and partly on the island of Borneo, Malaysia consists of 11 states of the former Federation of Malaya (Peninsular or West Malaysia) plus the states of Sarawak and Sabah (East Malaysia). Thailand and Singapore are the mainland’s northern and southern neighbors, respectively, while Sarawak and Sabah share a common border with the Indonesian province of Kalimantan. The multiracial population is comprised predominantly of Malays (50 percent), followed by Chinese (24 percent), non-Malay tribals (11 percent), and Indians and Pakistanis (7 percent). Although the Malay-based Bahasa Malaysia is the official language, English, Tamil, and several Chinese dialects are widely spoken. Islam is the state religion, but the freedom to profess other faiths is constitutionally guaranteed. Minority religious groups ...

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