The outstanding characteristic of Malaysia’s population today is its highly variegated ethnic mix. This makes it one of the prime examples of a multi-racial society. The multi-ethnic character of Malaysia’s population has come into being over the course of the last 150 years. Broadly speaking, Malaysia’s ethnic groups fall into two main categories:
(1) Those with cultural affinities indigenous to the region and to one another; classified as bumiputera and,
(2) Those whose cultural affinities lie outside.
Malaysia is a multi-cultural nation of friendly, warm- hearted people. It has a population of 20.1 million people. Peninsular Malaysia has 16.2 million people while Sabah and Sarawak have 3.9 million people. It was shown in the 1995 statistic that Sabah has 2 million population, the fourth highest populated state in terms of number among the 13 states and territory of federation (source: Dept. of Statistic, Malaysia, 1996).