In our sixth article from the Malaysia series, we’re bringing you a list of 10 interesting fact that you may not know about Malaysia.
- The Malay language has no script
We know that Malays speak a specific language (Malay) with many dialects which has evolved over time. But did you know that the language, in its modern usage, has no script? Therefore it borrows from the Roman alphabets of the English language. So when you travel to Malaysia, you might able to read the language. But how much of it you’ll understand, is beyond my guess.
- Land of the Palm Tree Plantation
As you fly into the city, you’ll notice acres of land growing Palm trees. From afar, they look like the star-shaped icing drawn on a cake with a Wilton-tip. These plantations are nothing but systematically cultivated Palm Oil trees seen throughout the land. At one point, Malaysia was the highest exporter of Palm Oil to the world and even today, India is one of its biggest clients.
- Colloquial words – La
You’ll often hear a Malay say ‘La’ at the end of his/her sentence. It’s not a real word so don’t bother translating. Just as we use ‘Arey!’ in Mumbai or ‘Da’ in Bangalore or ‘Maccha’ in Chennai, ‘La’ is the local slang in Malay.
Hope you get that la!
- Electric F1 at Putrajaya
Of the Formula One racing being held in March, you may be aware, but did you know that there is an Electric car Formula One racing held in Putrajaya? It’s called the Formula E Putrajaya EPrix held in the month of June.
- The KLCC Grand Prix
Tying into our previous point, starting this year and continuing for the next five years, Malaysia will be hosting its own Kuala Lumpur City Centre Grand Prix. Set against the backdrop of the Petronas Towers, and in addition to F1 and Moto Grand Prix, car racers from all over the world will compete at the ‘Golden Triangle’ area of Kuala Lumpur. The track, with its shape of a reversed ‘7’ and with 11 turns, is unofficially dubbed the ‘7/11’ course. So if you’re in KL from the 7-9 of August, then book your tickets to this magnificent event to enjoy the adrenaline rush.
- Titles of Respect
The Malays have a long and complicated system of honouring an individual by bestowing them with a title. These titles are in the form of a Knight-ship& Knight-hood, conferred onto individuals who have made significant contribution to the society. The usage is in the order given below and at the end of which the name is said.
So depending on the honours you have earned, you begin with:
– Honorary Style, Professional Rank, Royal Hereditary Title, followed by
-Federal Title,(such as Tun-highest honour conferred by the King, Tan Sri or Datuk), followed by
– State Title, (such as Dato’ Sri, Datuk Seri or Dato), Non-royal Hereditary Title,
– Doctor (of medicine or philosophy),
– Haji/Hajjah (for Muslim men and women who have performed the Hajj),
And ultimately, the name of the individual.
Shahrukh Khan has been the first Indian movie star to be honoured with the title ‘Datuk’ by the State of Malacca for his contribution to tourism by shooting in the state. He is now referred to as Datuk Shahrukh Khan in Malaysia.
- Adoption of the new Plastic notes
Just recently, Malaysia is amongst the few countries to have transitioned to the use new Polymer notes in its currency. These notes are made of plastic material to last longer and have special security features. While only a few denominations of it are transitioned, within the next few years, the country will be the shift to using Polymer notes alone. Try imitating that one!
- The National Car : Proton and Perodua
If you’re into cars and want to know what the Malaysians drive, then here’s an interesting fact for you. Though there are several imported cars, the average middle-class Malaysian is usually seen driving either a Proton or a Perodua. The two cars, developed and manufactured in Malaysia, are the national cars, sold at a subsidized rate in a bid to promote the country’s manufacturing.
- The government is Democratic & hasa Monarchy
We are aware of Malaysia being an Islamic Nation. But the government in Malaysia has an interesting mix of governing styles, similar to the British.
It is democratic and has a constitution with a single parliamentary system, headed by the Prime Minister. At the same time, it is also governed by the King, the head of the Islamic Monarchy. Of the 13 states, 9 of them (known as the Malay states) are ruled by Sultans, a Muslim of a royal descent. They are the head of the state and the head of Islam, in their state.
On a rotational basis of 5 years, one of each of these 9 royal families is electedas the supreme head, the King (Yang di-PertuanAgong). In fact, the current King, His Majesty Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, is one of the only rulers to have gotten a chance to be the King twice (He was a king at a very young age and 45 years later has gotten elected to being the king again).
In the remaining 4 states, the Governor is appointed by the Sultan and is the Yang di-PertuaNegeri. Mayors or Chairman are the Head of the State for Federal Territories.
Though there are many non-muslim parties in Malaysia, it is necessary for the Prime Minister and the King to be Muslim.
10.Marrying a Muslim Malay requires you to convert
Irrespective of the gender, if you marry a Muslim Malay, you’ll have to convert for the State to recognize your marriage. Like most Islamic nations, inter-faith marriage is allowed but will require conversion.