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The country is ruled by Yang di-Pertuan Agong, an elected monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The head of government is the Prime Minister. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on English Common Law. The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, factors that influence its culture and play a large role in politics.
A federation in SE Asia (within the Commonwealth), consisting of Peninsular Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula, and East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), occupying the N part of the island of Borneo: formed in 1963 as a federation of Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah, and Singapore (the latter seceded in 1965); densely forested and mostly mountainous.
Initiatives by topic
Eats, Shoots & Roots
Founded in 2012, Eats, Shoots & Roots is a social enterprise that aims to empower urban communities to grow their own food. Eats, Shoots & Roots specializes in edible gardens, garden programs, and green products for communities both small and large. The core of their initiative is "permaculture," where product agriculture is grown without the use of chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers. The soil they use is made from organic materials, in what they refer to as "nature condition nature." Their headquarters in Petaling Jaya is a demonstration of this, with every inch of the garden supporting potted plants and perennial vegetables. Since 2012, Eats, Shoots & Roots has become famous for their workshops and bring-home seed boxes of different variety. 
The Lost Food Project
The Lost Food Project is the hidden force behind this busy urban Kuala Lumpur. Every Tuesday and Thursday, volunteers travel to shopping complexes in Kuala Lumpur to pick up bread, fresh fruits, and surplus food that would otherwise be thrown away, and then distribute these nutritious food to those in need. Since its founding in 2016, this project has managed to transfer over 1.5 million meals to people in need, simply by holding a contractual understanding between the supermarkets and organizations such as Lighthouse Orphanage, Kechara Soup Kitchen, Women's Aid Organization, Malaysian Social Research Institute, and the Alliance of Chin Refugees. Volunteers at The Lost Food Project were quick to realize that most of the food being thrown out were fruits and vegetables, sources of nutrients that were expensive for the soup kitchens to obtain. The project now has become so vast that they themselves are in need of a warehouse to store all the food before arranging for delivery. 
Kebun-Kebun, which in Malay means gardens, is a community garden in the heart of the country's capital city Kuala Lumpur. The garden, which is eight and a half acres, was previously left abandoned due to its unattractive setting overlooking electricity towers. But founder Ng Seksan remained persistent, fighting through four years of legal paperwork with the local authorities to obtain the land. Since its founding in 2017, volunteers have been plenty for Kebun-kebun. The wooden structures seen around the garden were designed by art students from the nearby Taylor's University. Although it first faced criticism from neighbors who were fearful that the community garden would destabilize the slope and cause mudslides, the sentiment has since turned positive. For Seksan, the entire initiative was more than about community gardening — it was about creating a shared experience where Malaysians, segregated by technology and concrete walls, could come together. 
Kebun-Kebun Bangsar on facebook
Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle
Zero Waste Malaysia
Zero Waste Malaysia is a lifestyle movement as much as it is an institution. According to the group's founder, Aurora Tin, it focuses on promoting the idea of a zero-waste lifestyle. Both online and offline, the group conducts workshops and forums focused on promoting a zero-waste living. They work closely with schools, local state governments, and community leaders. The group has also developed Asia's first zero-waste map, listing over 400 businesses and organizations that provides services or products that produce little to no waste. The project began after Aurora started a zero-trash experiment in early 2016. Since then, the group has expanded into a 19,000-strong membership force for good. "The growth of this group reminds us that Malaysians are ready for change, people are looking for better solutions to reduce their personal impact to the environment," Aurora says. 
Sustainable transport activism
States of Malaysia
Malaysia is a federation which consists of thirteen states (Negeri) and three federal territories (Wilayah Persekutuan). Eleven states and two federal territories are located on the Malay Peninsula while the remaining two states and one federal territory are on the island of Borneo.
Kuala Lumpur (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur)
State Capital: Kuala Lumpur Largest City: Kuala Lumpur Population: 1,627,172
Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city of Malaysia in terms of population, and it is a seat of the Parliament of Malaysia. The city was once home to the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, but they have since moved to Putrajaya starting in 1999.
Labuan (Federal Territory of Labuan)
State Capital: Victoria Largest City: Victoria Population: 85,272
Labuan comes from Malay word Labuhan which means anchorage. Labuan is the main island of the Malaysian Federal Territory of Labuan. Labuan's capital is Victoria and is best known as an offshore financial centre offering international financial and business services via Labuan IBFC since 1990 as well as being an offshore support hub for deepwater oil and gas activities in the region. It is also a tourist destination for nearby Bruneians and scuba divers.
Putrajaya (Federal Territory of Putrajaya)
State Capital: Putrajaya Largest City: Putrajaya Population: 67,964
Putrajaya is a well planned city that is located south of Kuala Lumpur, that serves as the federal administrative centre of Malaysia. The seat of government was shifted in 1999 from Kuala Lumpur due to the overcrowding and congestion there. Nevertheless, Kuala Lumpur remains Malaysia's national capital, as the seat of Parliament, as well as the country's commercial and financial centre. Putrajaya was the brainchild of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad. In 2001, Putrajaya became Malaysia's third Federal Territory after Kuala Lumpur and Labuan.
State Capital: Johor Bahru Largest City: Johor Bahru Population: 3,233,434
Johor (also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Ta'zim, or "Abode of Dignity"), also known as Johore in English, is a Malaysian state, located in the southern portion of Peninsular Malaysia. It is one of the most developed states in Malaysia. The state capital city and royal city of Johor is Johor Bahru, formerly known as Tanjung Puteri (Malay for Princess' Cape). The old state capital is Johor Lama.
State Capital: Alor Setar Largest City: Baling Population: 1,890,098
Kedah (also known by its honorific, Darul Aman, or "Abode of Peace") is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. Kedah has a relatively heterogeneous populace constituted by the three major ethnic groups; the Malays, Chinese and Indians, similar to most of the other Malaysian states.
State Capital: Kota Bharu Largest City: Kelantan Population: 1,459,994
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ("The Blissful Abode"). Kelantan is positioned in the north-east of Peninsular Malaysia. It is bordered by Narathiwat Province of Thailand to the north, Terengganu to the south-east, Perak to the west, and Pahang to the south. To the north-east of Kelantan is the South China Sea.
Kelantan is located in the north-eastern corner of the peninsula, Kelantan, which is said to translate as the "Land of Lightning" (see alternate theories below), is an agrarian state with lush paddy fields, rustic fishing villages and casuarina-lined beaches. Kelantan is home to some of the most ancient archaeological discoveries in Malaysia, including several prehistoric aboriginal settlements.
State Capital: Bandar Melaka (Malacca Town) Largest City: Jasin Population: 788,706
Malacca (Malay: Melaka, dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south. The capital is Malacca City, which is 148 km south east of Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumpur, 235 km north west to Johor's largest city Johor Bahru and 95 km north west to Johor's second largest city Batu Pahat.
State Capital: Seremban Largest City: Seremban Population: 997,071
The Arabic honorific title of Negeri Sembilan is Darul Khusus ("the Special Abode"). Negeri Sembilan, is one of the 13 states that constitutes Malaysia that is located on the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, just south of Kuala Lumpur and is bordered in the north by Selangor, in the east by Pahang and in the south by Malacca and Johor. The name is believed to derive from the nine districts or negara (now known as luak) settled by the Minangkabau, a people originally from West Sumatra (in present-day Indonesia). Minangkabau features are still visible today in traditional architecture and the dialect of Malay spoken.
State Capital: Kuantan Largest City: Temerloh Population: 1,443,365
The Arabic honorific of Pahang is Darul Makmur ("Abode of Tranquility"). Pahang is the third largest state in Malaysia, after Sarawak and Sabah, occupying the huge Pahang River river basin. It is bordered to the north by Kelantan, to the west by Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, to the south by Johor and to the east by Terengganu and the South China Sea. Its state capital is Kuantan, and the royal seat is at Pekan. Other important towns include Jerantut, Kuala Lipis, Temerloh and the hill resorts of Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands, Bukit Tinggi and Fraser's Hill.
State Capital: Ipoh Largest City: Ipoh Population: 2,258,428
Perak is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. It is the second largest state in Peninsular Malaysia bordering Kedah and Yala Province of Thailand to the north, Penang to the northwest, Kelantan and Pahang to the east, Selangor southward and to the west by the Strait of Malacca. Perak means silver in Malay. The name comes most probably from the silvery colour of tin. In the 1890s, Perak, with the richest alluvial deposits of tin in the world was one of the jewels in the crown of the British Empire. However, some say the name comes from the "glimmer of fish in the water" that sparkled like silver. The Arabic honorific of the State is Darul Ridzuan, the Land of Grace.
State Capital: Kangar Largest City: Kuala Perlis Population: 227,025
Perlis is the smallest state in Malaysia. It lies at the northern part of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and has Satun and Songkhla Provinces of Thailand on its northern border. It is bordered by the state of Kedah to the south. The capital of Perlis is Kangar and the Royal capital is Arau. Another important town is Padang Besar, at the Malaysian-Thailand border. The main port and ferry terminal is at the small village of Kuala Perlis, linking mostly to Langkawi Island. Perlis has a famous snake farm and research centre at Sungai Batu Pahat and Gua Kelam and Perlis State Park are tourist attractions.
Pulau Pinang (Penang Island)
State Capital: Georgetown Largest City: Georgetown Population: 1,520,143
Penang is a state in Malaysia, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the eighth most populous. It is also widely recognised as the most socially progressive, being the home of both the Consumer's Association of Penang, and of the reform group Aliran. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite.
State Capital: Shah Alam Largest City: Subang Jaya Population: 5,411,324
Selangor (also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Ehsan, or "Abode of Sincerity") is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. It is on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and is bordered by Perak to the north, Pahang to the east, Negeri Sembilan to the south and the Strait of Malacca to the west. It completely surrounds the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, both of which were once under Selangor's sovereignty.
State Capital: Kota Kinabalu Largest City: Kinabatangan Population: 3,120,040
Sabah is one of 13 member states of Malaysia that is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is the second largest state in the country after Sarawak, which it borders on its south-west. It also shares a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south. In spite of its status as a Malaysian state, Sabah remains a disputed territory; the Philippines has a dormant claim over much of the eastern part of the territory. The capital of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu, formerly known as Jesselton. Sabah is often referred to as "The land below the wind", because of its location just south of the typhoon-prone region around the Philippines.
State Capital: Kuching Largest City: Kuching Population: 2,420,009
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang ("Land of the Hornbills"), Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.
State Capital: Kuala Terengganu Largest City: Hulu Terengganu Population: 1,015,776
Terengganu (formerly spelled Trengganu or Tringganu) is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The state is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Iman ("Abode of Faith"). The coastal city of Kuala Terengganu which stands at the mouth of the broad Terengganu River is both the state and royal capital as well as the largest city in Terengganu.
News and comment
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