Malaysia Demography and Economic Geography

According to best-medical-schools, Malaysia is a federal state of Southeast Asia. It includes Malaysia Peninsulare (or Western), on the southern tip of the Malacca Peninsula, bordering N with Thailand, and Malaysia Orientale, a large strip of the island of Borneo bordering Indonesia and Brunei.

The population estimated by UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) for 2014 is 30,187,896 residents, With a sustained growth (1.6%) which confirms the positive trend of the last decades. The urbanization rate is high (73%) and is growing at a rate of 2.5%; the capital, Kuala Lumpur, registered more than one and a half million residents in 2011. The percentage of ethnic Malaysians has grown, passing from 50% in 2002 to around 68% in 2013, and continues to have considerable privileges in the economic field, as also confirmed by the new economic development program launched in 2013. The living conditions of the population they are pretty good, with a GDP per capita with purchasing power parity (PPA) of $ 24,521 (2014), unemployment steady at 3% (2014) and almost all of the population’s guaranteed access to health services and water. However, a fair percentage of illiteracy remains (7%). The economy of Malaysia continues to grow at a rapid pace: after a brief contraction in 2009 (1.7%), growth has already returned to levels of 5-6% since 2010. However, dependence on exports, especially hydrocarbons, represents a structural risk of the Malaysian economy, which the government is attempting to remedy by promoting diversification of production activities and foreign investment. Tourism takes advantage of the modern hub of Sepang, which in 2012 counted 25 million admissions. In addition to liquefied natural gas (for which Malaysia is the second largest exporter in the world) and oil, the extraction of which can make use of a new field discovered in 2012, the electronic industrial sector remains fundamental (high-tech exports represent 43 % of the total). Overall, industry contributes 41% of GDP and employs around 30% of the workforce, while agriculture, which is also a significant sector, especially in the production and processing of rubber and palm oil, is around the 10% of GDP and the workforce.

History. – The political framework of Malaysia, characterized by the dominance of the Barisan nasional (BN, National Front, a coalition of parties monopolized by the United Malays national organization, UMNO), remained substantially unchanged even in the presence of a growing affirmation of the opposition forces. In fact, in the 2008 political elections the BN, despite obtaining one of the worst electoral results by losing a two-thirds majority in Parliament and control of 5 of the 13 federated states, nevertheless won the majority of seats (140 out of 222 seats) and reconfirmed Abdullah Ahmad Badawi chief executive. After the elections, the opposition forces, which increased from 19 to 82 seats, decided to join forces and created the Pakatan Rakyat (PR, People’s Alliance) under the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim. Weakened by the election results and criticism of the failure to fight corruption, the following year Badawi resigned and Najib Abdul Razak took over. In the following years, he had to face a slowdown in the economy and the growth of internal tensions due to both the worsening of ethnic-religious conflicts and the protests of the opposition demanding political and social reforms. The new political elections of 2013 confirmed the haemorrhage of votes of the government coalition which obtained 133 seats compared to 89 of the Radical Party. The latter contested the election results accusing the government of fraud. The weakening of the executive, supported by the reconfirmed Razak, resulted in a stiffening of internal politics, increasingly repressive towards the opposition forces. During 2014, numerous arrests of activists and journalists were made and opposition leader Anwar was again indicted for sodomy, a charge from which he had previously been acquitted and for which he was sentenced in February 2015 to five years in prison. In foreign policy, Malaysia maintained good relations with the countries of the area despite the tensions surrounding the South China Sea for common claims on potentially oil and gas-rich sites.

Architecture. – Strengthened by rapid economic growth, Malaysia is among the first among the new industrialized countries of the world. Ancient colonial influences, Asian traditions hybridized by Islamic inspirations (Islam was the official religion until the independence of 1957), Indian stylistic features, meet the modern, the postmodern and the contemporaneity in a singular stylistic mix that reflects the fast technological evolution of a country that is affected, both socially and culturally, by the conflict between rapid urban transformations and the growing need to preserve its historical heritage. Emblematic, in this regard, the controversy that arose following the demolition, in 2006, of the historic colonial house called Bok House, one block away from the Petronas Towers (1997, by the Pelli, Clarke, Pelli studio) in Kuala Lumpur, where the tower of the W Hotel (2011-16) will be built on a project by the US studio SOMalaysia.

In search of its own identity that respects the rich landscape context, the result of a sub-equatorial climate, with sustainable projects that look at the enhancement of local identities, traditions and realities within an increasingly globalized horizon, Malaysia hosts many of the main Southeast Asian architectural design firms. The federal capital Kuala Lumpur is certainly the city where the effects of this growth are most recorded; in addition to the aforementioned Petronas Towers (which from 1998 to 2004 constituted the tallest building in the world), many new projects stand out today on the skyline of the city: the Empire Damansara complex (2013), the work of the Ong & Ong studio, consisting of five towers of residences, offices, hotels and commercial spaces around a themed village rebuilt with recycled bricks imported from China; the multifunctional buildings of Angkasa Raya Development, designed by the German studio Büro Ole Scheeren (whose completion is scheduled for 2016); the three luxury residential towers Troika (2011) by Foster + Partners (v.); the POD Exhibition Hall (2011), by the Roman firm Nicolet ti Associati; the Mont Kiara retail mall (2010) and the Starhill Gallery shopping mall (2011), both by Spark architects.

Malaysia Demography

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