Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam.
Kuala Lumpur is the national capital, largest city and the seat of the legislative branch of the federal government. With a population of over 32 million, Malaysia is the world's 45th-most populous country.
Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire, along with the British Straits Settlements protectorate.
The country is multiethnic and multicultural, which has a significant effect on its politics. About half the population is ethnically Malay, with minorities of Chinese, Indians, and indigenous peoples. The country's official language is Malaysian, a standard form of the Malay language. English remains an active second language.
While recognising Islam as the country's established religion, the constitution grants freedom of religion to non-Muslims. The government is modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is an elected monarch, chosen from among the nine state sultans every five years. The head of government is the Prime Minister.