Country Focus Data: Malaysia

by Melissa Alexander
Share This:

Capital: Kuala Lumpur.

Demography: Population 21.8 million, 2.01% growth rate (2000 estimates); Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese languages; Islam, Buddhism religions.

Geography: Southeastern Asia, peninsula and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam; trop-ical climate with annual monsoons; coast-al plains rising to hills and mountains.

Government: Constitutional monarchy. Head of government is Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, chief of state is Paramount Ruler Tuanku Ja’afar, ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture under Minister Mohamed Effendi Norwawi.

Economy: Mostly market. Malaysia made a quick economic recovery in 1999 from the effects of the 1998 Asian financial crisis, thanks to a dynamic export sector and fiscal stimulus from higher government spending. This stable macro-economic environment, in which both inflation and unemployment remain low, has enabled the relaxation of most of the capital controls imposed by the government during the crisis. Long term, the country needs further reforms in the corporate sector. Although industrialization has been a major economic factor in the past 20 years, Malaysia’s agricultural sector remains important to the economy, accounting for 12% of gross domestic product and employing nearly 17% of the work force in 1998.

G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$10,700 (purchas- ing power parity), 5% growth rate, 2.8% inflation (all 1999 estimates).

Currency: Malaysian ringgit. May 14, 2001 exchange rate: 3.8 ringgits per U.S. dollar.

Exports: U.S.$83.5 billion (1999), elec-tronics, petroleum and liquefied natural gas, palm oil, rubber and wood products.

Imports: U.S.$61.5 billion (1999), machinery and equipment, food, chemicals, lubricants.

Major crops/agricultural products: Palm oil, rubber, cocoa.

Wheat: Malaysia grows no wheat. Consumption averaged 1.04 million tonnes a year, with imports averaging 1.245 million.

Maize: Maize output is negligible. Total use in the past five years averaged 2.392 million tonnes annually, with feed use put at 2.234 million. Imports average 2.323 million tonnes, primarily sourced from the U.S., Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Rice: Although annual milled production averaged 1.31 million tonnes in the past five years, that amount failed to meet average annual domestic demand of 1.889 million, with imports making up the difference. Malaysia imports rice in various forms, including semi-milled, wholly milled and broken, primarily from Thailand, Vietnam, China and India.

Transportation: Highways, 94,500 km, 70,970 paved; rail, 1,801 km, mostly 1.000-m gauge; ports include Bintulu, Pasir Gudang, Port Dickson, Port Klang, Sandakan, Sibu.

(1,000 tonnes)

Production

Consumption

Exports

Imports

Wheat

6,600

12,950

0

6,200

Flour

4,793

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

Maize

5,800

10,300

0

4,500

Rice

3,900

2,950

500

0

2000-01 marketing year estimates for wheat, maize and rice; 1997 for flour.

All rice figures are on a milled basis.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, International Grains Council

Partners