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Fun Facts about Malaysia

Graphics and Words by Caitlin Chuah

Many students are opting to stay in Malaysia to further their studies rather than going abroad. This is due to the ever-increasing quality of teaching, academic institutions and standards of living here in Malaysia. Hence, to encourage this trend, here are 20 fun facts about Malaysia that will instil in you a newfound interest in our country!

1. Our national currency, the Ringgit, means 'jagged' in Malay; it refers to the serrated edges of the Spanish silver dollars that were used in the 16th and 17th centuries.

2. Before our country was named Malaysia, or even Malaya, it was called Aurea Chersonesus, which means “peninsula of gold”; the name was given by a Greco-Roman geographer named Ptolemy.

3. The Sarawak Cave Chamber is the largest cave chamber in the world; it’s so vast that it can fit 40 Boeing 747s without the planes overlapping their wings.

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Sarawak Cave

4. Perak Man, found in 1991, is the oldest (11,000 years old) and only complete human skeleton to have been found in Southeast Asia.

5. The Petronas Twin Towers used to be the tallest building in the world until 2004; it is still currently the tallest twin towers in the world.

6. The Malaysian flag was designed by Mohamad Hamzah, a 29-year-old architect who won the flag designing contest in 1963.

7. The English word ketchup is believed to have been derived from the Hokkien word' ke-tsiap', which refers to a fermented sauce; the sauce was brought to Malacca by Chinese traders, where Europeans first stumbled across it.

8. The biggest roundabout in the world is located in Putrajaya, with a total diameter of 3.5km.

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Putrajaya Roundabout

9. Malaysia is the only country in the world to possess territory on the mainland of Southeast Asia as well as on the islands that stretch between Asia and Oceania.

10. Borneo is the third-largest island in the whole world, after Greenland and New Guinea.

11. Malaysia has 65,877 kilometres of highway roads altogether; longer than the circumference of the Earth (40,075 kilometres).

12. The Malayan Tiger is native to Malaysia; unfortunately, the species is now critically endangered, with less than 350 Malayan Tigers existing on the entire planet.

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Rawr!

13. The richest unrecovered treasure from a sunken ship lies on the seafloor in the Strait of Malacca. In December 1511, a Portuguese ship was returning home carrying the largest treasure that the Portuguese navy had collected when the ship sank. Today, the area is patrolled by modern-day pirates.

14. Established in AD 1136 on the Malay Peninsula, the Sultanate of Kedah is one of the oldest sultanates in the world.

15. Malaysia is home to one of the tallest tropical trees of the world, the Tualang, which has a base diameter of over 10 feet and grows up to 262 feet in height.

16. Malaysia is the third-largest natural rubber producer in the world and the world's largest supplier of rubber gloves.

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No, it's not coconut milk

17. The Iban community calls a newborn baby 'ulat', which means a worm, till the baby is named. According to tradition, the baby must be named after a deceased relative. When a few names have been shortlisted, rice balls representing each name are prepared and the first rice ball that the fighting cock pecks at decides the name.

18. 17-year-old Kok Shoo Yin was the first-ever Malaysia citizen certificate holder when he got his official documentation on 14th November 1957.

19. The Bintagor Trees, which can only be found in Sarawak, are believed to have qualities that can possibly cure AIDS.

20. Malaysia's Kinabalu National Park is home to the Rafflesia arnoldii, the largest flower in the world; it is also known as the “corpse flower” due to its strong odour that is similar to a rotting corpse.

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Rafflesia

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