Malaysia is a small but proud nation. And who can blame us? With our sun-kissed beaches and mouth watering dishes, we pretty much have everything.
It’s been 63 years since we first achieved our independence from the British colonial powers. So, we thought we’d check out some pretty cool accomplishments and facts about Malaysia we thought you should know.
#1. The Petronas twin tower is actually the world’s tallest twin towers
Up to 2004, the Petronas Twin Towers, the crown jewel of modern Malaysia, was the tallest building in the world. Standing at 452 metres, this record was eventually surpassed by China’s 508metre tall Taipei 101.
Since then, a number of other skyscrapers have claimed the number one spot for the tallest building but rest assured, we still have the tallest twin towers in the world. In fact, if you stack our twin towers on top of one another, we still technically own the tallest building, right? Is that a thing?
#2. We have 2 national days
Okay, so technically, one is our independence day from back when we were known as the Federation of Malaya and the other is the day when we actually became Malaysia.
On 31 August 1957, Malaya was officially independent from decades of British colonial rule. To commemorate this momentous occasion, we celebrate our Hari Merdeka (Freedom Day) on 31 August of every year.
We also celebrate Malaysia Day on 16 September every year to commemorate the date when Malaysia is established. The holiday is to celebrate the union of West Malaysia with Sabah and Sarawak, forming the country that we know today.
#3. We’re the only country that uses the rotating monarchy system
Malaysia has some unique qualities that set it apart from other countries. One of it is the fact that we have a pretty unique political system.
Much like the Westminster system, our democracy is led by the King, commonly referred to as the Agong, as the Head of State and the Prime Minister as the Head of the Government. However, unlike Britain and its Queen Elizabeth II, our Agong changes every 5 years.
As the only country in the world that practises the rotating constitutional monarchy system, our Agong is always chosen from one of the nine Sultans that lead the nine Malay royal families. Our current Agong is His Majesty Sultan Abdullah from the Pahang royal family.
#4. Our Taman Negara is one of the oldest rainforests in the world
Can you guess how old our national park is? Nope, you’re wrong. It’s actually 130 million years old.
First established as the King George V National park, it was renamed to Taman Negara after we achieved our independence. This virgin rainforest runs through 3 different states — Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu.
The park is now an ecotourism destination and is also home to countless wildlife including the rare Malayan tiger and Malayan peacock-pheasant.
#5. We have the world’s largest cave chamber
We not only have one of the world’s oldest rainforests, we also have the world’s largest cave chamber.
Gunung Mulu is noted for many things, chief among them is its high biodiversity and the Sarawak Chamber. At 600 metres by 415 metres and 80 metres high, the Sarawak Chamber is purported to be twice the size of Britain’s Wembley Stadium — and that stadium supports 90,000 seats.
So you can imagine for yourself how big the chamber is.
#6. Malaysians have achieved greatness overseas and in space
Famed shoemaker Jimmy Choo is actually a Penang-born Malaysian. A favourite of the late Princess Diana, the shoe designer was even awarded with an O.B.E., a prestigious recognition award from Britain.
Next up is Perak-native Michelle Yeoh who is best known for her role in James Bond’s Tomorrow Never Dies and the critically acclaimed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In one scene from Star Trek: Discovery, her character even mentioned Malaysia, claiming to have hailed from Langkawi. How cool is that?
Of course, we can’t forget Malaysia’s very own astronaut. While he didn’t actually go to the moon, Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, went to the next best thing — the International Space Station. According to him, Malaysia looked beautiful even from way up there.
They’re not the only ones. There are so many great Malaysians doing great things and we’re super proud of each and every one of them.
#7. We also own the biggest roundabout in the world
We truly are a nation of superlatives. Do you know that we also have the biggest roundabout in the world?
Surprisingly, we’re not talking about any of the roundabouts in Shah Alam, so called the Land of Roundabouts. The world’s biggest roundabout, at 3.2 kilometres, is actually in Putrajaya. If you want to give it a try, head on over to the Persiaran Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, also known as the Putrajaya Roundabout.
It’s been disputed by the government of Trinidad and Tobago, who claimed that their one-way road circling Queen’s Park Savannah is bigger. At 3.7 kilometre circumference, it is slightly bigger than ours but there’s a slight problem with their roundabout not being a proper circle.
#8. We’re home to the King and Queen of fruits
Yes, we’re talking about none other than the highly divisive durian and the purple-stained mangosteen.
Often dismissed by foreigners for its smell, the durian is famously banned by airlines and hotels. The spiky fruit is certainly not for everyone as even some Malaysians have a hard time smelling — and eating — it.
On the other hand, the mangosteen, with its soft silhouette and sweet taste, is the exact opposite of the durian. Loved by many, there was even a rumour going around in 1890 about how Queen Victoria would grant knighthood to anyone who brought her a fresh mangosteen as the fruit spoils easily.
Who would have known that our country has so many interesting facts? While we may just be a strip of land on the map, Malaysia is more than just meets the eye.
So what do you think? Did we miss anything?