Peninsular Malaysia also known as West Malaysia, is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula and surrounding islands. Its area is 130,590 square kilometres (50,420 sq mi), about 39.5% area of the country or slightly smaller than England. It shares a land border with Thailand in the north. To the south is the island of Singapore.
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 80%) of Malaysia's population and economy; as of 2015 its population is roughly 25 million.
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, Melaka, 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 Penimsular 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) is significant beyond the sphere of geography, because as well as they were separate regions before the formation of The Federation of Malaysia, thus having a different court structure, and the eastern states have more autonomy than the original States of Malaya, for example, autonomy in immigration. These rights were granted as part of Sarawak's 18-point agreement and Sabah's 20-point agreement with Federation of Malaya in forming the Federation of Malaysia.
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- Reid, Anthony (2010). Imperial alchemy : nationalism and political identity in Southeast Asia. Cambridge University Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-521-87237-9.
- "Some aspects of Malay-Muslim Ethnicity in Malaya". June 1981. JSTOR 25797648.
- Peninsular Malaysia travel guide from Wikivoyage