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Malaysia is a country that consists of thirteen states andthree federal territories in Southeast Asia with a total landmass of329,847 square kilometers (127,355 sq mi). The capital city isKuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. Thepopulation stands at over 25 million. The country is separated into tworegions—Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo—by the South China Sea.Malaysia borders Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines.The country is located near the equator and experiences a tropical climate.Malaysia’s head of state is the Yang diPertuan Agong (conventionally referredto as ‘the King’ or ‘the Agong’) and the government is headed by a PrimeMinister. The government is closely modeled after the Westminster parliamentarysystem.
With a GDP per capita standing at USD$14,400, it has, fromtime to time, been considered a newly industrialized country. Exports,particularly of electronics, remain a significant driver of the economy. As anoil and gas exporter, Malaysia has profited from higher world energy prices,although the rising cost of domestic gasoline and diesel fuel forced KualaLumpur to reduce government subsidies. Malaysia “unpegged” theringgit from the US dollar in 2005 and the currency appreciated 6% per yearagainst the dollar in 2006-07. Although this has helped to hold down the priceof imports, inflationary pressures began to build in 2007. Healthy foreignexchange reserves and a small external debt greatly reduce the risk thatMalaysia will experience a financial crisis over the near term similar to theone in 1997.
Malaysia has a prime up-and-coming property marketgenerating a lot of foreign interest. The most popular regions forinternational investors tend to be major cities such as Kuala Lumpur which havegrowing financial, cultural and tourist industries. Malaysia also has alow cost of living compared to other countries. The country currently has ahigh rental demand due to a growing tourist industry.