Financial Facts

The unit of currency is the Malaysian Ringgit (RM) which equals 100 sen. Currency notes are in denominations of RM1, RM5, RM10, RM50, and RM100. Coins are issued in 5, 10, 20, and 50 sen pieces. Licensed foreign money changers are found in all urban centres, key entry/exit points and shopping complexes.

Traveller’s Cheques
Travellers cheques can be exchanged for Malaysian Ringgit at commercial banks, hotels or at authorised money changers. All major hotels are only licensed to buy, but not sell, foreign currencies in the form of notes and travellers cheques. Credit cards including American Express, Visa, Master Card and Diners Club are accepted at most hotels, shopping centres and major restaurants.

Business Hours
* In 10 states, the government’s business hours begin at 8.30 am, with a one-hour lunch break at 12.45 pm before continuing at 2 pm until 4.30 pm from Mondays to Thursdays.
* On Fridays, the afternoon break is from 12.15 pm until 2.45 pm. This is to allow Muslim workers time to attend Friday afternoon prayers.
* On Saturdays, office hours end at 12.45 pm. The public sector in Terengganu, Kedah and Kelantan keeps different hours. The working week is from Saturday to Wednesday from 8 am to 4 pm. Thursday is a half-day, ending at 12.45 pm. Friday is considered the weekend.
* Private sector hours are generally from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday and from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.

Banking Hours
Banking hours are normally from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on weekdays. Saturdays are a half-day from 9.30 am to 11 am. Every first and third Saturday of the month is an official day off, though this may vary among individual banks or financial institutions.

In 2010, Malaysia had the 30th largest economy in the world and the 3rd largest in South East Asia by purchasing power parity, with a GDP of an estimated $387 billion (USD). GDP contracted slightly in 2009, but it is expected to expand by at least 5% in 2011 – the government is aiming for a year-on-year increase of 6% by to reach a gross domestic income of RM38,850 by 2015.

The petroleum industry still tops the list in terms of contribution to GDP. In line with the government’s emphasis on technology-intensive industries, the export-oriented manufacturing sector has been given strong emphasis, resulting in the setting up of many industrial estates. A big contributor to this sector is the country’s national car which is marketed under the name Proton. Besides the domestic market, Proton cars have penetrated many foreign markets amidst fierce competition from car manufacturers worldwide.

Although industrialisation has taken a bigger role in recent years, agriculture is still important with palm oil, rubber, rubber wood, pepper and cocoa beans being major exports. Another major source of income is the tourism industry, coming a close second to the manufacturing sector. Another area of growth is the Islamic Banking & Finance sector, with Malaysia being the world leader in this area.


2009 2010


28.3 million

28.9 million


RM512.4 billion

RM512.4 billion

GDP Growth



Per Caipta Income



Inflation Rate (CPI)



Labour Force

12.1 million

12.2 million




Total Exports

RM553.3 billion

RM559.0 billion

Total Imports

RM439.9 billion

RM452.8 billion
Major Exports


electrical and electronic products
palm oil and palm oil based products
liquefied natural gas
crude petroleum
chemicals and chemical products
refined petroleum products
Major Imports


electrical and electronic products
machinery, appliances and parts
chemicals and chemical products
metal products
transport equipment

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