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Kuala Lumpur Fast Facts
Airport
Visas
Currency
Credit Cards
Tipping
Useful Numbers
Electricity
Health Risks
Time Zone
Business Hours
Holidays
Climate
Clothing
GDP Growth Rate
Inflation
Major Exports
Major Imports
Major Trading Partners
Major Industries
Teledensity
Government
Geography
Population
Ethnic Groups
Language
Literacy
Religion

Airport
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang is approximately 50 km. south of Kuala Lumpur; 35-45 minutes via the highway. Tel: +603 8787-4212

Visas
Visa requirements vary. Visa-free stay of up to three months is allowed citizens of the United States, Japan, Western European countries (France, Germany, Italy, etc.), among others. Those from ASEAN countries do not need visas for visits of up to a month. Citizens of most countries of the British Commonwealth (except those in the Indian subcontinent) do not need visas. Business travelers attending meetings and conducting business negotiations in Malaysia may be issued passes at the point of entry. However, anyone who is to be employed in Malaysia must apply for a business or professional pass prior to arrival in Malaysia. Recently, Malaysia has tightened its entry rules for foreign skilled and semi-skilled workers.

Currency
The unit of currency is the Malaysian ringgit (RM), which is divided into 100 sen. It comes in RM1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 notes. There are no RM500 or RM1000 notes, both of which were withdrawn in 1998 and ceased to be legal tender in July 1999. Bank Negara reintroduced the RM1 banknote into circulation in November 2000, the sixth and last denomination to be issued in the current local currency note series. With the reissuance of the RM1 note, RM2 notes will be gradually withdrawn from circulation (although the RM1 coins will still be accepted). Click here for currency conversion.

Credit Cards
All major credit cards are accepted at upmarket hotels, restaurants. and shops. If you have a credit card with a personal identification number (PIN) attached, you can obtain cash advances from ATMs. Banks in Malaysia are linking up with international banking networks, which will allow you to withdraw money from overseas savings accounts through ATMs. Before your trip, check with your bank to see if you can withdraw money from your home account while in Malaysia.

Tipping
Tipping is usually not necessary, unless service is excellent. Most hotels and large restaurants automatically add a 10% service charge in addition to the 5% government tax to the bill.

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Useful Numbers
Police/Fire/Ambulance: 999
Tourist Police: 241-5522; 243-5522; 249-6590
Visa Card Hotline: 1-800-800-159
MasterCard Hotline: 1-800-804-594

Electricity
240-volt, 50-cycle system

Health Risks
Major Malaysian cities like Kuala Lumpur are generally safe from most sanitation-related diseases. However, it is still wise to take extra precautions, like making sure meat is cooked very well, avoiding local dairy products and peeling fresh fruit and raw vegetables. Tap water in the cities is considered safe, but bottled water is a safer bet when traveling to rural areas. Malaria is present in Sabah, Sarawak and some remote areas in peninsular Malaysia. Use insect repellant when visiting the countryside. Ask your doctor about vaccinations.

Time Zone
GMT + 8, same as Hong Kong and Singapore

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Business Hours
Department stores and supermarkets: From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Shops: From 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (in Kuala Lumpur, as well as in most major towns, there are several 24-hour stores)
Banks: From 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Mon.-Fri.); 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (Sat.); closed on Sundays in most states.

Holidays
Jan 1 2005 New Years Day
Jan 23 Hari Raya Haji (Feast of the Sacrifice)
Feb 9-11 Chinese New Year
Feb 10 Hari Raya Tussa (Islamic New Year)
Apr 22 Birth of the Prophet Muhammad
May 1 Labour Day
May 23 Vesak Day (Birth of the Buddha)
Jun 4 Official Birthday of HM the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Aug 31 National Day
Nov 1 Deepvali Festival
Nov 3-5 Hari Raya Puasa (End of Ramadan)
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Climate
Tropical, with annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons. Average temperature is between 21C and 32C. Humidity is high. Click here for 3-day weather forecast for Kuala Lumpur

Clothing
As Malaysia's climate is sunny almost year-round, light clothing is ideal. However, this is a predominantly Muslim country and modest dress is advisable. For men, a long-sleeved white or plain-colored shirt and a tie is the norm for business meetings. A jacket can be added when meeting senior officials. A long-sleeved batik shirt and long trousers are often worn for evening events. Shorts and casual shirts should be avoided. Women should dress for business as in Western countries, remembering to cover the shoulders and avoid very short skirts and shorts.

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GDP Growth Rate
2%

Inflation
4%

Major Exports
Electronic equipment, petroleum and petroleum products, palm oil, wood and wood products, rubber, textiles

Major Imports
Manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment

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Major Trading Partners
United States, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, UK, Thailand, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea

Major Industries
Rubber and oil palm processing and manufacturing; light manufacturing industry; electronics; tin mining and smelting; logging and processing timber; petroleum production; agriculture processing

Teledensity
5.1 persons per telephone

Government
Federal constitutional monarchy; nominally headed by the paramount ruler (king) and a bicameral Parliament consisting of a non-elected upper house and an elected lower house

Geography
The city is located in west-central West (Peninsular) Malaysia, midway along the west coast tin and rubber belt and about 25 miles (40 km) east of its ocean port, Port Kelang, on the Strait of Malacca.
Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia, along the Strait of Malacca and the southern South China Sea. The country is divided into two main regions -- Peninsular Malaysia, which lies just south of Thailand, and East Malaysia, which is north of Indonesia on the island of Borneo. These two regions are divided into 13 states and federal territories. Total land area is 328,550 square kilometers.

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Population
Malaysia: 23 million
Kuala Lumpur: 1.8 million

Ethnic Groups
50% Malay, 33% Chinese, 9% Indian, plus indigenous tribes such as Orang Asli and Iban

Language
Malay is the official language. English is widely spoken, especially in business, and is a compulsory subject in all schools. Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malalalam, Panjabi and Thai are spoken in some areas. In East Malaysia, several indigenous dialects are spoken, the major ones being Iban and Kadazan

Literacy
83.5% (total population); 89.1% (among males); 78.1% (among females)

Religion
Islam is the official religion, which is practiced primarily by Malays. Other religions in the country include: Buddhism (mainly among Chinese), Hinduism (among Indians), Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism and tribal religions.

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