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Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy with an elected federal parliamentary government. The country is comprised of 13 states, 11 on the Malay Peninsula and two, Sabah and Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. There is also a federally administered set of territories: the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, the administrative center of Putrajaya, and the island of Labuan. Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country of 27 million people. Malays form the predominant ethnic group. The two other large ethnic groups in Malaysia are Chinese and Indians. Islam is the official religion and is practiced by some 60 percent of the population. Bahasa Malaysia is the official language, although English is widely spoken. Travelers to Malaysia may access information on areas of interest through the Malaysian government’s web site at http://www.gov.my/ and Tourism Malaysia’s web site at http://www.tourism.gov.my/. Read the Department of State’s Background Notes on Malaysia for additional information.



Image of Malaysia
Country Name: Malaysia
Continent: Asia
Capital City: Kuala Lumpur
Boundary Countries:
Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

Kuala Lumpur: Damai Service Hospital, Gleneagles Intan Medical Center, Hospital Pantai Indah, Pantai Medical Center, Sentosa Medical Center, Pentai Cheras Medical Center

Main Cities:

Kuala Lumpur, George Town, Ipoh, Johor Bahru

Country Size: 329,750 sq km
Population: 23,522,482



Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai
note: in East Malaysia there are several indigenous languages; most widely spoken are Iban and Kadazan

Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
Predominant Religions:

Muslim 60.4%, Buddhist 19.2%, Christian 9.1%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 2.6%, other or unknown 1.5%, none 0.8%

National Holidays: Independence Day/Malaysia Day, 31 August (1957)
Economic Status:

Malaysia, a middle-income country, transformed itself from 1971 through the late 1990s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy.


Malaysia Army, Royal Malaysian Navy, Royal Malaysian Air Force, Royal Malaysian Marine Police, Sarawak Border Scouts

US Presence:
U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur
376 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Phone: 60-3-2168-5000
Document Requirements:

U.S. citizens are required to have a passport valid for at least six months to enter Malaysia, but Americans do not need to obtain a visa in advance for a pleasure or business trip if their stay in Malaysia is 90 days or less. Upon arrival immigration officials will place an entry stamp in an American’s passport that specifies how many days the traveler may stay. Though immigration officials generally grant 90 days, they do not always do so. Travelers therefore are advised to check their stamps upon entry. While in Malaysia, U.S. citizens should carry their passports with them at all times. Travelers are required to carry their passports for travel from peninsular Malaysia to eastern Malaysia (on the island of Borneo) and between the provinces of Sabah and Sarawak, both of which are on Borneo. Entry stamps issued at immigration points such as KLIA airport, Johor Bahru, and Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) for entry into peninsular Malaysia are not valid for entry into the state of Sarawak and usually have three months’ validity. New entry stamps must be obtained upon arrival at Kuching or Miri airports in Sarawak. In most cases, entry stamps issued by Sarawak immigration officials are valid for any part of Malaysia and usually have one month’s validity. Travelers with Israeli entry or exit stamps in their American passports do not encounter difficulty at Malaysian Immigration. However, American-Israeli dual nationals have been denied entry after presenting their Israeli passports to show exit stamps. It is therefore important that American-Israeli dual nationals use their U.S. passports to depart the last country on their itinerary prior to arriving in Malaysia. For more information on the latest entry procedures and requirements, contact the Embassy of Malaysia, 3516 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone: (202) 572-9700, contact via email; the Malaysian consulate in New York, telephone: (212) 490-2722; or the consulate in Los Angeles, telephone: (213) 892-1238; or visit the Malaysian government’s web site, which has information on Malaysian embassies and consulates abroad.

Major Airports:

Airports: 117, Airports w/paved runways:  38

Kuala Lumpur International (KUL/WMKK)
Kuala Lumpur, KLIA, Malaysia, Pengurus Besar, Tingkat, 3 & 4 Airport Management Centre, Kuala Lumpar International Airport, 64000 Sepang, MALAYSIA
Tel: +60 (0)3 7846 7777, +60 (0)3 8777 8888
Fax: +60 (0)3 8926 5209
Customs, hours: 24 hours
Tel: +60 (0)3 8787 2312
Fax: +60 (0)3 8787 2311

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

The Dept of State remains concerned about the possibility of terrorist attacks against US citizens in Southeast Asia. Extremist groups in the region have demonstrated the capability to carry out transnational attacks in locations where Westerners congregate, and these groups do not distinguish between civilian and official targets. The US Government has designated two such groups, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) as Foreign Terrorist Organizations.  JI is linked to al-Qaeda and other regional terrorist groups, such as the ASG, and has cells operating throughout Southeast Asia. The ASG, based in the southern Philippines, has kidnapped foreigners in Malaysia in recent years. Criminal elements are also responsible for kidnapping and piracy committed against foreigners.

Violent crime involving tourists and expatriates in Malaysia is relatively uncommon. Malaysia’s national emergency number is 999, and an alternate number is the Royal Malaysia Police Operations Center in Kuala Lumpur, 2115-9999.

Flooding: A tropical monsoon season lasts from November through about mid-February. During this period, heavy rains and thunderstorms may occur every afternoon. In urban areas with poor drainage, street flooding often results. In less developed areas, landslides can cause road closures.

Earthquake/Tsunamis: Because earthquakes may occur at any time in this region and, in rare cases, may cause tsunamis, American citizens are urged to move away from beaches following an earthquake and to monitor local media for important information.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  18.35 deaths/ 1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 71.95 years (male 69.29/ female 74.81)

Immunization Indicators:

Required:  None

Recommended:  Malaria, Hep A & B, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, Polio
Boosters:  MMR, DPT, poliovirus

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Malaria risk area in Malaysia: Risk in rural areas, particularly in the forested, hilly, and underdeveloped interior areas. No risk in urban and coastal areas.

Dengue, chikungunya, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, and plague are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region.

Do not swim in fresh water to avoid infection with schistosomiasisLeptospirosis, a bacterial infection often contracted through recreational water activities in contaminated water, such as kayaking, is common in tropical areas of Southeast Asia. An outbreak was reported in Borneo among expedition travelers in 2000.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities and services are adequate in the larger cities, where Western-trained doctors can be found. Psychological and psychiatric medical & counseling services are limited. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services although major credit cards are acceptable.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 36
Referrals: 102
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Measles transmission persists in the region, although vaccination coverage is improving in some countries in Southeast Asia. Influenza infections can occur throughout the year in tropical areas.

Polio resurfaced in Indonesia in 2005. Imported cases in neighboring countries have occasionally occurred.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) continues to cause outbreaks in domestic and wild bird populations and has caused human cases in several countries in Southeast Asia. In 2006, the virus continued to spread in poultry populations in Indonesia. For a current list of countries reporting outbreaks of H5N1 among poultry and/or wild birds, view updates from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and for total numbers of confirmed human cases of H5N1 virus by country see the World Health Organization (WHO) Avian Influenza website.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +60

Internet Country Code:  .my


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