Peninsular Malaysia (or Semenanjung Malaysia in the Malay language) is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula, and shares a land border with Thailand in the north. It is connected via a causeway and bridge to the island of Singapore to the south. Across the Strait of Malacca to the west lies the island of Sumatra. East Malaysia (on the island of Borneo) lies to the east across the South China Sea.
It consists of the following 11 states and two federal territories (starting from the North going to the South):
Peninsular Malaysia is also known as West Malaysia (Malaysia Barat) or Malaya (Tanah Melayu). The term Peninsular Malaysia is used more often than West Malaysia (to avoid the idea that West and East Malaysia are separate countries like West Germany and East Germany) or Malaya (which is now becoming obsolescent due to its connotations of the British colonial era). Nonetheless, all three terms are correct, and the older term "Malaya" can still be found in many institutional titles, e.g. the High Court of Malaya, the University of Malaya, Malayan Railway, etc., as well as in legal contexts in the phrase The States of Malaya (Negeri-negeri Tanah Melayu). Note that until 1946, the term Malaya usually included Singapore.
The distinction between West and East Malaysia is significant beyond the sphere of geography, because as well as having a different court structure, the Eastern states have more autonomy than the original States of Malaya, controlling e.g. immigration from the peninsula.
Last updated: 09-03-2005 18:37:12