Malaysia has its origins in the Malay Kingdoms present in the area which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire.
The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, which plays a large role in politics. The constitution declares Islam the state religion while protecting freedom of religion.
Since independence, Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with GDP growing an average 6.5% for almost 50 years. The economy has traditionally been fueled by its natural resources, but is expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism. Today, Malaysia has a newly industrialized market economy, ranked third largest in Southeast Asia and 29th largest in the world.
Malaysia is located in the center of Southeast Asia, a rainforest zone below the equatorial belt that teems with the wonders of nature. The amazing wildlife species found in this region have long been the fascination of researchers and explorers around the world. Divided between Peninsular Malaysia in the west and North Borneo in the east, its natural heritage has been the subject of documentaries and continues to yield astounding discoveries today. Composed primarily of rainforest across lowland and mountain regions, Malaysia also has a wealth of limestone formations, mangrove swamps, coral reefs and spectacular caves to discover.