Peninsular Malaysia, also known as Malaya or West Malaysia, is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula and surrounding islands. Its area is 132,265 square kilometres (51,068 sq mi), which is nearly 40% of the total area of the country - or slightly larger than England (130,395 km²). It shares a land border with Thailand to the north and Singapore at the southernmost tip.
Across the Strait of Malacca to the west lies the Sumatra Island (Indonesia) and across the South China Sea to the east lies the Natuna Islands (Indonesia). Peninsular Malaysia accounts for the majority (roughly 81.3%) of Malaysia's population and economy; as of 2017 its population is roughly 26 million (92% of total population).
States and territories
Peninsular Malaysia consists of the following 11 states and two federal territories (starting from the North going to the South):
- Northern Region: Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak
- East Coast Region: Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang,
- Central Region: Selangor, federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya
- Southern Region: Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor
The majority of people on Peninsular Malaysia are ethnic Malays, predominantly Muslim. Large Chinese and Indian populations exist. The Orang Asli are the indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia; they number around 140,000 and mostly lived in inland parts of the region.
East Coast and West Coast
The term West Coast refers informally to a collection of states in Peninsular Malaysia situated towards the western coast generally facing the Strait of Malacca which is a component of the Indian Ocean, as opposed to the East Coast. Unlike the East Coast, the West Coast is partitioned further into three regions (as seen in #States and territories), including:
- The Northern Region: Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Perak.
- The Central Region: Selangor and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
- The Southern Region: Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor.
Even though Johor has a coastline facing the South China Sea on the Pacific Ocean, it is not generally regarded as an East Coast state, since the main coastline of the state is located on the Straits of Johor of the Indian Ocean.
West and East Malaysia
The distinction between West and East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) goes beyond the sphere of geography. Being separate regions administratively before the formation of the Malaysia, there exists more autonomy than the original States of Malaya, e.g. in having a different judicial court structure and separate immigration regulations. These rights were granted as part of Sarawak's 18-point agreement and Sabah's 20-point agreement with the Federation of Malaya during the formation of expanded federation.
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