Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country comprising 13 states and three federal territories. It is rich in culture, diversity, and natural resources. With a population of over 33 million people, the country is the 43rd most populous. Here, we highlight every interesting fact about Malaysia and its people.
1. Malaysian Authorities Banned A Toyota Ad Featuring Brad Pitt Because the Actor Was Too Handsome
In 2002, Malaysia’s deputy information minister banned a Toyota Altis ad featuring Brad Pitt from airing in the country because the actor was “too handsome.” According to the official, Brad Pitt’s looks made Malaysian countrymen feel inferior. He thought that if Toyota wanted to advertise in the country, they should have used native men.
2. A Malaysian Airplane Vanished into Thin Air On Board 227 Passengers
The vanishing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 into thin air is something that has never been conclusively explained to date. On March 8, 2014, the plane left the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia for Beijing Capital International Airport – it disappeared from the radar somewhere along the route. All the 227 passengers and crew have never been found. There is no trace of the plane’s wreck, leading to many conspiracy theories.
3. The Movie “Zoolander” Was Banned in Malaysia for Portraying the Country in Bad Light
Zoolander is a movie featuring Ben Stiller, who plays a brainwashed male model tasked with killing Malaysia’s prime minister. Even though the film registered commendable success, it was banned in some countries, including Malaysia and Singapore. Zoolander highlighted Malaysia’s poverty levels and extreme dependence on sweatshops, something that did not go well with the country’s authorities.
4. A Conundrum Once Ensued When A Malaysian Astronaut Had to Observe Ramadhan While in Space
In 2007, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor became the first Malaysian astronaut. However, there was a problem: his mission coincided with Ramadan; he was supposed to fast and pray. Usually, Muslims pray while facing Mecca, but it would be almost impossible for the astronaut to locate the region from space.
For about a year, Islamic scholars tried to devise a plan on how Shukor could attend to his mission without compromising his prayers. They didn’t find a workable plan, so the astronaut saved his Ramadan fasting until he returned.
5. Malaysia Banned a Kids Show Because of Its Name
The Mighty Morphin (a shortening of morphing) Power Rangers is a kids’ action show that premiered in 1993. Even though the program is widely adored by children and adults alike across the globe, Malaysia thought otherwise and banned it. The authorities said the show’s “Morphin” name was too similar to the drug morphine.
6. It Once Hosted The World’s Tallest Building
The period between 1998 and 2004 saw Malaysia’s Petronas Towers reign as the world’s tallest buildings. Even though they were surpassed by Taipei 101 and eventually the Burj Khalifa, the Twin Towers remain the globe’s second tallest twin skyscrapers. They only rank behind The Exchange 106, who surpassed them in 2019.
7. The Malaysian Crown Prince Once Wore Hulk Hands to Mock Islamic Religious Hardliners
Tunku Ismail, a Johor Crown Prince, once wore giant Hulk Hands to mock religious hardliners. The royal had been informed that he was supposed to wear gloves before shaking hands with women. He went all out and wore the Hulk Hands as if to mock them.
8. Malaysia Is Home to the World’s Largest Cave Chamber
First discovered by three British cavers in 1981, Malaysia’s Sarawak Chamber is the largest cave by area. It ranks second by volume, only behind China’s Miao Room. Located in Gunung Mulu National Park, the cave measures 600 meters long by 435 meters wide and 115 meters high. The story of how it was discovered is narrated in the book called “Giant Caves of Borneo.”
9. The Highest Point in Malaysia Is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Standing at 4,095 meters (13,435 feet), Mount Kinabalu is the tallest in Malaysia and 4th tallest in Southeast Asia. Consequently, it is the highest point in the country and is categorized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Other designated World Heritage Sites in Malaysia include Lenggong Valley, Gunung Mulu National Park, and Kinabalu Park.
10. A Malaysian Woman Once Gave Birth to Nine Children
In 1999, a Malaysian woman set the record for the most children born in a single birth when she delivered nine children (nonuplets). This has only ever happened in Australia in 1971 and Mali in 2021. As for the Malaysian woman’s case, all the infants sadly passed away.
11. The Philippines Could Have Been Malaysia
Interestingly, modern-day Malaysia is only called so because it won the race against the Philippines. In 1962, Filipino politicians presented a bill to the senate proposing that the country’s name be changed to “Malaysia.” Unfortunately for them, the current Malaysia “snatched” the name as the Filipinos debated.
12. A 29-Year-Old Architect Designed the Malaysian Flag
Often referred to as the Stripes of Glory, the national flag of Malaysia was designed by a 29-year-old architect, Mohamed Hamzah. He wasn’t alone, though; Hamzah defeated other competitors called upon to help develop the country’s flag. He entered with two designs, but one was chalked off in favor of the other, which actually won.
13. Malaysia’s Borneo Island Is Among the Largest in the World
Borneo is an island that forms a part of Malaysia and covers an area of 748,168 square kilometers. Its majestic size means it is shared among other countries: Brunei and Indonesia. Regarding the total covered land mass, Borneo ranks third in the world, behind Greenland and New Guinea.
14. Kuala Lumpur Is Malaysia’s Capital City
Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia. Given its strategic location and size (the biggest city), Kuala Lumpur is the country’s administrative, economic, and academic center.
15. Malaysian Currency Is Called Malaysian Ringgit
The national currency of Malaysia is called the Ringgit, which translates to “jagged” in the Malay language. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the country used Spanish silver dollars serrated on the edges; the name ringgit was adopted from these.
16. Malaysian Malay is Malaysia’s National Language
A standardized form of the Malay Language, Malaysian Malay is Malaysia’s official and national language – more than 31 million people speak it. Despite there being more than 130 other native languages, English is Malaysia’s second language.