Geography of Malaysia


Terrain shapes and bedrock

According to COUNTRYAAH, Western Malaysia is penetrated by a number of parallel, north-south mountain ranges. The highest reaches with Tahan 2,189 meters above sea level. About half of the area’s area is more than 150 meters above sea level. The bedrock consists largely of Precambrian granites and gneisses, but also of stored rocks from Paleozoic and Mesozoic times. Karst forms are common. Especially on the western side of the peninsula are wide coastal plains; in the east they are narrow and swampy. Among the rivers are Pahang and Perak. The soil is mostly laterite, which is heavily leached and affected by soil erosion.

East Malaysia has a coastal plain along the South China Sea, 40-65 km wide in Sarawak but narrow in the east (Sabah), where the coastline is rugged and rocky. Inward, hill and valley topography prevails. Along the border with Indonesia, the terrain is mountainous with ravines, plateaus and ridges of about 2 400 m above sea level. The highest peak, Kinabalu (4 101 m above sea level), is found in the alpine mountains to the northeast. The river network is dense. Rajang is the longest and like the Kinabatangan partially sailable. The earth is leached and eroded; only in the east is it fertile.


According to BRIDGAT, Malaysia has a tropical monsoon type rainforest climate with high humidity. The temperature is high and even year round, about 25-28 ° C on average in the low countries. The northeast monsoon prevails in November – March, the southwest monsoon in June – October.

The rainfall in Western Malaysia is on average 2,500 mm/ year but can vary from 1,650 to 5,000 mm/year. East Malaysia receives its largest amounts of rainfall through the northeast monsoon, in Sarawak 2,500-4,000 and in Sabah 1,500-3,000 mm/year.

Plant Life

The plant life is very rich and houses about 8,000 species, of which about 2,000 orchids, 200 palms, 150 species of spices and 500 ferns. The flora also includes many endemic species of begonia and gloxinia plants. The species richness in the genus is also evident. Among the odd features of the flora are the large flesh-colored flowers of the genus Rafflesia. The mangrove forests, which occur in sheltered locations along shallow coasts, are richer than elsewhere in the world, but where the salinity of the water is low, screw and nip palm grow instead.

The Taman Negara National Park in the northern part of the country consists mainly of unspoiled, continuous lowland rainforest, dominated by different genus dipterocarpus plants. In the past, most of western Malaysia and northern Borneo were covered by tropical rainforest, but this has largely been harvested or replaced with monocultures of economically important tree species. The flora of these and the occurring karst formations is very rich and contains many endemic species.

On the mountains, the rainforest gradually becomes more and more sparse, and at levels above 1,000 m above sea level. are species of the family beeches (the genera Lithocarpus, Castanopsis and oaks) and stock plants are the most common trees. At higher altitudes, the elements of various heather plants also become noticeable, e.g. a variety of rhododendron species. In these areas there is often very strong growth of mosses and lichens as well as epiphytic orchids and other plants. In the mountains, plants from different flora areas meet. Here, for example, the genus from temperate regions, such as gentian and Rubus, along with southern elements, such as Stypheʹlia.

East Malaysia has tropical rainforest, which is being harvested at an ever faster rate. Mount Kinabalu has an extremely rich flora and may have more species than any other place in the world with a similar surface.


Malaysia Wildlife

In Western Malaysia there are about 200 species of mammals, of which about 80 are bats. Other mammals include several species of gibbons, leaf monkeys and macaques, furthermore half-monkeys, malaysian bear, Indian elephant, ox-beast gaur, scabies, tiger and tree leopard. Mainly due to the harvesting of the lowland rainforest, many species have decreased significantly in number in recent decades.

Birds are particularly noticeable in hornbills (seems to be moderately forestry), beards, pigeons, sunbirds, timalies and bulbils. Beautiful but rarely seen terrestrial birds in the forests include jewel clusters, argus pheasants and several other species of pheasants and green peacocks (Paʹvo muʹticus).

In Western Malaysia, there are also 110 species of snakes. delta crocodile, false gavial and upwards of one hundred species of frogs. Of the at least four species of sea turtles that lay eggs in the area, mushroom turtles are the most common. The coral reef has a limited extent, but in return is very rich.

About 200 species of mammals are also known from eastern Malaysia. The leaf-eating endemic species of nose monkey is found in mangrove and coastal forests. Orangutan is now only spotless. Sumatranos horn occurs very rarely in eastern Sabah (as well as Indian elephant) and in one place in northern Sarawak. Among some 500 species of birds are 14 endemic rock species.

Nature conservation

Malaysia officially has 26 national parks; however, most of these are rather regional parks than national parks, which cover 4.5% of the country’s area. On the Malacca Peninsula there are seven national parks of which Taman Negara is the most famous. This has both lowland rainforest and mountain rainforest and is one of Southeast Asia’s largest. In Sarawak there are 15 national parks and many game reserves. The biggest threat to the forest is wood burning and logging. The only national park in Sabah is the Crocker Range; there are also a number of other protected areas.