In half a century, Malaysia has evolved from
a poor agricultural country to a successful
industrialized country. High economic growth has
contributed to reducing both the proportion of poor
Malaysians and the economic gaps in society.
In 1970, almost half of the population lived in
poverty, while the proportion of poor Malaysians in the
early 2010s had dropped to a few percent. Nowadays, the
poor are mainly found in the countryside, where many
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Malaysia, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
The indigenous people orang asli on the Malacca
peninsula is the most marginalized group. The rights of
indigenous peoples are violated with regard to the right
to land and culture. They are often relocated for dams
and other things to be built.
The disputed bumiputra policy
Malaysia's bumiputra policy was introduced in 1970
and its primary objective was to eradicate poverty in 20
years and remove the link between ethnic belonging and
employment (see also Population and language and
Economic overview). Bumiputra (in practice,
mainly the Malays) would be encouraged to increase its
ownership interest in the business community and to have
better opportunities for education and attractive
employment, including through quotas.
Bumiputra policy did not eradicate poverty, but
Malaysia's high growth meant that conditions also
improved for the poor. The privileges of the Malays -
based only on ethnicity, not on economic status - have
also meant that the country's Indians are now among the
One of the goals of the bumiputra policy was also to
give bumiputra access to 30 percent of the country's
assets. According to several studies, this goal has
already been exceeded, but the government still claims
that bumiputra has only about a quarter of the country's
Politics also helped to increase corruption, as it
allowed Malaysians in the political establishment to
enrich themselves and their own.
Healthcare and security systems
Health care is generally good, especially in cities.
In the countryside there are mobile health centers, but
it is unclear how well they reach out to remote areas.
Almost all residents have access to clean drinking
water and sewage.
The social welfare system is a combination of
government contributions with, among other things, cash
support for low-income earners and private grants. The
government sponsors social work among the elderly and
the disabled, which is also supported by many voluntary
The pension funds are built up with contributions
from both entrepreneurs and employees.
The law prohibits multiple marriages, but Muslim men
are nevertheless allowed to have several wives, which
also occurs. A small but growing number of women are
allowed by the Sharia courts to divorce without the
consent of the husband. Muslim inheritance law
In the state of Kelantan, Muslim women must wear a
veil and non-Muslim women working in shops or
restaurants must not have sexually challenging clothing.
Women are in the minority both in the labor market and
in politics, but among the university students they are
in the majority.
Women's trafficking and rape are common, although it
is punishable even within marriage. In 2012, the
Domestic Violence Act was expanded to include physical
abuse in addition to physical abuse. According to
women's organizations, the main reason men are rarely
convicted of these crimes is that the women who report
the crimes are not supported by the police. Female
genital mutilation occurs.
Trafficking in human beings, prostitution and child
Human trafficking is a major problem despite the fact
that Malaysia has enacted several laws to combat it.
Above all, girls and women (but also boys) are picked up
from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and other Asian countries
to Malaysia. Some are used for prostitution, others work
under difficult conditions such as maids, in
agriculture, construction or in industry.
To a lesser extent, Malaysian women are taken to
countries such as Singapore and the United States for
sexual exploitation there. Malaysia is also a transit
country for human trafficking.
Muslim girls under 16 may get married if marriage is
approved by a Sharia court. However, child marriage is
unusual. Abortion is illegal and performed only if the
woman's life is in danger.
The situation of LGBT people
Sexual acts between people of the same sex are
illegal and can result in imprisonment for up to 20
years and / or imprisonment. The Malaysian film
censorship can also prohibit homosexuals on film. LGBTQ
persons may not appear in state-controlled media. The
government has worked actively to dissuade youth from
homosexuality through propaganda and to get parents to
discover if their children are gay.
Transgender people can be sentenced to up to six
months in prison for aggravated behavior. In 2014,
however, three transgender women won an appeal against a
law prohibiting Muslim men from wearing women's
clothing. According to the judgment, the law is
"degrading, oppressive and inhuman". There were hopes
that the verdict could become a precedent in similar
cases in the future.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
7 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
0.4 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.3 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
96.4 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
99.6 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
4.0 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 362 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
14 percent (2018)