The two groups mostly live in the urban areas of the Malay Peninsula's west coast, and their sometimes competing, sometimes parallel influences shape the shared life of Malaysia's citizens.Sarawak and Sabah, the two Malaysian states located in north Borneo, tend to be less a influential part of the national culture, and their vibrant local cultures are shrouded by the bigger, wealthier peninsular society. Malaysia is physically split between west and east, parts united into one country in 1963.To address Malay criticisms and to promote counter-insurgency, the British undertook a vast range of nation-building efforts.Local conservatives and radicals alike developed their own attempts to foster unity among the disparate Malayan population.These population figures have an important place in peninsular history, because Malaysia as a country was created with demography in mind.Malay leaders in the 1930s and 1940s organized their community around the issue of curbing immigration.
The most important Malaysian demographic statistics are of ethnicity: 60 percent are classified as Malay, 25 percent as of Chinese descent, 10 percent of Indian descent, and 5 percent as others.
Since ethnic diversity rules out the use of kin or blood metaphors to stand for Malaysia, the society often emphasizes natural symbols, including the sea turtle, the hibiscus flower, and the orangutan. ) is meant to encourage even greater accomplishments.
The country's economic products and infrastructure also provide national logos for Malaysia; the national car (Proton), Malaysia Airlines, and the Petronas Towers (the world's tallest buildings) have all come to symbolize modern Malaysia. A more humble, informal symbol for society is a salad called rojak, a favorite Malaysian snack, whose eclectic mix of ingredients evokes the population's diversity. The name Malaysia comes from an old term for the entire Malay archipelago.
Outsiders often mistakenly refer to things Malaysian as simply "Malay," reflecting only one of the ethnic groups in the society.
Malaysians refer to their national culture as kebudayaan Malaysia in the national language. Within Malaysian society there is a Malay culture, a Chinese culture, an Indian culture, a Eurasian culture, along with the cultures of the indigenous groups of the peninsula and north Borneo.