- Background on Malaysia
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March 29, 2012 |
Malaysia consists of 13 states and the two federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan. Malaysia has a complex federal political system, with extensive local power still in the hands of nine hereditary sultans, who elect the head of state (entitled HM the Yang di-Pertuan Agong) every five years from among their number. There are 13 states plus two ‘Federal Territories’ (Kuala Lumpur and the island of Labuan).
Legislative power in the hands of the bicameral parliament comprising the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives), with 192 members directly elected for a five year term, and the 70-strong Dewan Negara, or Senate, of whom 40 members are appointed by the Head of State and 30 members elected by the country’s 13 regional assemblies. Executive power is held by the Prime Minister, who is formally appointed by the head of state but in practice the leader of the largest party in the Dewan Rakyat. The Prime Minister governs with the assistance of an appointed ministerial cabinet.
The Malaysian Ringgit (RM), the standard unit is worth 100 sen (cents). Currency notes are in denominations of RM1, RM2, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50,and RM100, while the denomination of RM500 and RM1000 will no longer be valid as of July 1st 1999. Coins are in denominations of 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen, 50sen and RM1.
Foreign currency and traveller’s cheques may be changed at all commercial banks during normal banking hours.
Licensed money changers at the airport and within the city, sometimes offer better rates. Traveller’s cheques are also accepted by hotels and major department stores but banks give the best rates.
Bahasa Malaysia is the national language of the country. English, is the second language and is mostly used in business.
Islam is the official religion besides Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Christianity and other religions.
There is such variey Malay food. The popular dishes are satay, nasi lemak, rendang, roti canai, murtabak, laksa, chicken rice and fried noodles.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri
It is celeberated by Muslims after the month-long Ramadan(Fasting month)
Chinese New Year(January/February)
It is a joyous time when friends and relatives give each other ‘angpows’.Normally, they will have dinner together with their family.
City Day( 1 February)
It is also known as Federal Territory and mostly celebrated at Taman Tasik Perdana and Taman Titiwangsa.
Malaysia By Air
There are more than forty airlines serving Malaysia from all over the world. Malaysia has her own national carrier, Malaysia Airline System (MAS), which operates the largest fleet of aircraft in South East Asia. It has flights from over 50 destinations worldwide.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport
The taxi fare to Kuala Lumpur city centre is RM60.00. There is also a cheaper alternative if you are travelling with less luggage: take a bus from the airport the Nilai Railway station and take the commuter train into the city. The total fare for this is below RM20.00.
The taxi service uses a coupon system from the airport to destinations within the city or its suburbs. Vouchers at fixed prices (depending on destinations) must be purchased at the Taxi counter at the airport concourse. These are to be given to the taxi driver at the start of the journey.
Malaysia by Rail
Peninsular Malaysia is served by two railway lines connecting the country to Singapore in the South and Thailand in the North. The trains are run by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTM) offering an inexpensive and comfortable way of travelling into Malaysia and seeing the countryside.
Besides this, those wanting to travel in style can opt for the Eastern and Oriental Express train service, which was launched in September 1993 and operates between Bangkok and Singapore. The Express offers luxury accommodation and fine cuisine on wheels. The train departs from Bangkok every Wednesday and the cost for a standard ticket to Kuala Lumpur is RM2,340.00 and from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur is RM1,020.00.
Car Rental Services
There are many agencies which provide car rental services to those who prefer the convenience of driving, provided that the driver has a valid international driver’s license.
Most of the car rental agencies are stationed at the airport, hotels, shopping and office complexes. Driving is British-style – on the left side of the road. Arm yourself with a Kuala Lumpur road map, fasten your seat belt (compulsory for front passengers) and you are on your way to exploring the many wonders of the country!
Most taxis are fitted with meters, but these are used only in major towns such as Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Ipoh. Taxi rates run per kilometre and there is a non-optional 20-30% air-conditioning charge added to the fare.
Malaysians usually tip drivers with their coin change. To acknowledge excellent service, 10% is greatly appreciated but not expected. When traveling early in the morning or late at night, drivers prefer to fix a price for the destination. Negotiating is advisable.
Tipping is not a way of life in Malaysia (unless the service rendered is exceptionally good). Most hotels and large restaurants automatically add a 10% service charge in addition to the 5% government tax to the bill (indicated by a ++ sign on menus and rate cards). Tip porters about RM1 per bag.