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Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Guide to Building Trust, Inspiring Respect, and Creating Long-Lasting Business Relationships by Sharon Schweitzer, Bob Waisfisz, Liz Alexander

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Chapter 9Malaysia

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Every one of us must respect each other's rights and feelings, be tolerant of each other's religions, customs, and habits.

—Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, First Prime Minister of Malaysia

Introduction

Malaysia has many unique competitive advantages in Southeast Asia, with its land mass and capacity for the expansion of corporate and manufacturing projects. The magnificent dual Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur were an important project of former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad and are Malaysia's signature landmark worldwide.

During the 20 years after independence from Britain in 1957, Malaysia was one of the early Asian Tigers, and its economy developed into one of the fastest-growing in the region. The population comprises some of the world's oldest civilizations: the Bumiputra (including Malays, Dayaks, Ibans, Kadazans and Muruts), Chinese, and Indians.1 Although the constitution generally allows for religious freedom, more than 60 percent of the country's population practices the Islamic religion. Malays are Muslim by definition, and the official religion of Malaysia is Islam.2

For those in the oil and gas business, A.T. Kearney's Global Services Location Index, which ranks the top 50 countries worldwide in their attractiveness as potential locations for offshore services, has placed Malaysia as number three since the inception of the index in 2004.3

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