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Back to Malaysia 

 

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Malaysia's Geography

Malaysia sits on the South China Sea in the center of Southeast Asia.  The country is crescent- shaped, starting with Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia) and extends to another region, Sabah and Sarawak (East Malaysia), located on the island of Borneo.  The total area of Malaysia is approximately 330,000 square km, with most of it located on the island of Borneo. Peninsular Malaysia only comprises approximately 40% of the total area.

Malaysia's climate is hot and humid with relative humidity ranging from 80 - 90 percent, except in the highlands.  The temperature averages from 70-90 degrees F (20-30 degrees C) throughout the year.  The tropical climate is experienced year-round with the rainy season varying on the coasts of Peninsular Malaysia.  The west coast has it's rainy season from September through December with the east coast (and  Sarawak and Sabah) experiencing it's from October through February.  East Malaysia (the northern slopes) get up to 5080 mm of rain a year versus West Malaysia's 2500 mm.  

There are forests covering over half of Malaysia, with notable tropical forests in Sabah and Sarawak.  Deforestation is a problem the country is dealing with due to logging and hydroelectric projects.  

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Location:
Southeastern Asia, peninsula bordering Thailand and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia, Brunei, and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates:
2 30 N, 112 30 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
Area:
total: 329,847 sq km
country comparison to the world: 66
land: 328,657 sq km
water: 1,190 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than New Mexico
Land boundaries:
total: 2,669 km
border countries: Brunei 381 km, Indonesia 1,782 km, Thailand 506 km
Coastline:
4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km)
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation; specified boundary in the South China Sea
Climate:
Current Weather
tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons
Terrain:
coastal plains rising to hills and mountains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Gunung Kinabalu 4,100 m
Natural resources:
tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite
Land use:
arable land: 5.46%
permanent crops: 17.54%
other: 77% (2005)
Irrigated land:
3,650 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
580 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 9.02 cu km/yr (17%/21%/62%)
per capita: 356 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
flooding; landslides; forest fires
Environment - current issues:
air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea

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