States of Malaysia

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I updated the population data to show the final 2010 census results, acquired from source [7].

FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 10, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2006-03-23. It assigns a new FIPS code to the new federal territory.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number I-5, dated 2003-09-05, shows the new Putrajaya territory (which was reported over two years ago on this page). It also changes all of the ISO codes for the divisions of Malaysia. The new numeric codes are those used by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation & Management Planning Unit (MAMPU). For the old alphabetic codes, see "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries".

The Malaysian Department of Statistics has released preliminary figures from the 2000 census.

Country overview: 

Short nameMALAYSIA
ISO codeMY
LanguageMalay (ms), English (en)
Time zone+8
CapitalKuala Lumpur, Putrajaya


In 1900, the term Malaysia referred to the Malay Archipelago, roughly equivalent to Indonesia and the Philippines. The area which we now call Malaysia was a motley collection of British-dominated entities. On the Malay Peninsula, there were the Straits Settlements, the Federated States of Malaya, other native states (unfederated states), and dependencies. On and near the island of Borneo, North Borneo was administered by the British North Borneo Company under charter, and Sarawak was a British colony. Japan occupied the whole area during World War II. After Japan's defeat, a series of proposals for union were considered and tried. On 1957-08-31, Malaya became independent. Malaysia was formed six years later.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Malaysia
  2. Dutch: Maleisië, Federatie Maleisië (formal)
  3. English: Federation of Malaysia (formal)
  4. Finnish: Malesia
  5. French: Malaisie f
  6. German: Malaysia n
  7. Icelandic: Malasía
  8. Italian: Malaysia f
  9. Malay: Persekutuan Tanah Malaysia (formal)
  10. Norwegian: Malaysia
  11. Portuguese: Malásia, Malaísia (Brazil), Federação f da Malásia f (formal)
  12. Russian: Малайзия
  13. Spanish: Malasia f
  14. Swedish: Malaysia
  15. Turkish: Malezya

Origin of name: 

French malais: Malay (ethnic name) + -ia territorial suffix

Primary subdivisions: 

Malaysia is divided into thirteen states and three wilayah persekutuan (federal territories).

JohorMY.JH01JMY012,466,32018,9857,330Johor Baharu80-86
KedahMY.KH02KMY021,899,7519,4253,639Alor Star02, 05-09
KelantanMY.KN03DMY031,380,24214,9315,765Kota Baharu15-18
Kuala LumpurMY.KL14WMY141,588,75024494Kuala Lumpur50-60, 68
Negeri SembilanMY.NS05NMY05835,3716,6432,565Seremban70-73
PerakMY.PK08AMY071,916,98721,0058,110Ipoh30-36, 39
Pulau PinangMY.PG07PMY091,526,3241,033399Georgetown10-14
SabahMY.SA12SAMY163,117,40573,71128,460Kota Kinabalu88-91
SelangorMY.SL10BMY125,288,0997,9103,054Shah Alam40-48, 62-64
TerengganuMY.TE11TMY131,011,36312,9555,002Kuala Terengganu20-24
16 states26,006,550329,845127,354
  • State: Except for Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, and Putrajaya, which are wilayah persekutuan (federal territories).
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global context, prefix "MY-" to the code (ex: MY-09
    represents Perlis).
  • Old: Original ISO codes, 1998, based on road vehicle designations.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 2010-07-06 census (source [7]).
  • Postcodes: Malaysia uses five-digit postal codes. These are the first two digits or ranges assigned to
    each state, as far as I've observed.

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Malaysia page.

The states are subdivided into 144 administrative districts.

The census report (source [7]) shows the districts subdivided into 149 other units, a few of which overlap multiple districts. They have the status designations D.B., L.B., L.K., M.B., M.D., M.D.L.B., M.P., and Perbadanan. They are further subdivided into about a thousand local authority areas, which also may overlap the districts.

Territorial extent: 

(Island names are usually preceded by Pulau, the Malay word for island.)

  1. Johor includes Tinggi, Sibu, Aur, Pemanggil, and Babi Besar on the east, and Kukub on the west.
  2. Kedah includes Langkawi and adjacent small islands (Dayang Bunting, Singa Besar, Langgon, etc.).
  3. Labuan is an island in the Gulf of Brunei, off the coast of Borneo.
  4. Pahang includes Tioman and Seriburat.
  5. Perak includes Pangkor and the Sembilan Islands (of which Rumbia is the largest).
  6. Pinang consists mainly of the island of Pinang and a slightly larger coastal region called Province Wellesley.
  7. Sabah includes Banggi, Jembongan, Balembangan, the northern half of Sebatik, Timbun Mata, Bum Bum, Malawali, Kanawi, Timbang, Sakar, Gaja, Mengalum, Tabawan, Tambisan, Tiga, and Mantanani Besar.
  8. Sarawak includes Bruit, Patok, Satang Besar, Talang Talang Besar, and Lakei.
  9. Selangor includes Kelang, Lumut, Pintu Gedong, and Ketam.
  10. Terengganu includes Redang, Tenngol, Kapas, Perhentian Kecil, and Perhentian Besar.
  11. Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur is an enclave within Selangor.
  12. Malaysia claims part of the Spratly Islands, south of about 8° N. latitude in the South China Sea. The group as a whole has been given the FIPS 10-4 country code PG.

The UN LOCODE page  for Malaysia lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Johor: local word meaning "to tie", referring to the strait
  2. Kuala Lumpur: Malay kuala: river mouth, lumpur: muddy, referring to the Klang River
  3. Melaka: Malay for refuge
  4. Negeri Sembilan: Malay for nine states
  5. Perak: after the Perak River, from Malay perak: silver
  6. Pinang: from the island Pulau Pinang, from Malay pulau: island, pinang: areca nut
  7. Putrajaya: after Malaysia's first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, with the suffix "jaya": success.
  8. Sarawak: corruption of Malay sarakaw: small harbor

Change history: 

  1. In 1900, the Straits Settlements consisted of Malacca, Penang, and Singapore. The Federated Malay States consisted of Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, and Selangor. Johore was an unfederated state (British dependency). Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, and Trengganu were dependencies of Siam (Thailand). Labuan was a dependency of North Borneo; Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands were dependencies of Singapore; and Dindings and Province Wellesley were dependencies of Penang.
  2. 1900: Christmas Island became part of Singapore settlement.
  3. 1903: Cocos (Keeling) Islands became part of Singapore.
  4. 1905: Labuan transferred from North Borneo to Straits Settlements.
  5. 1907: Labuan merged with Singapore.
  6. 1909: Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, and Trengganu became unfederated states.
  7. 1912: Labuan became a separate settlement in the Straits Settlements.
  8. 1935: Dindings dependency (Pulau Pangkor and adjacent mainland) merged with Perak state.
  9. 1946-04-01: Singapore split from Straits Settlements to become a British colony. The Federated States, the unfederated states, and the other Straits Settlements (Malacca and Penang) joined to form the Malayan Union.
  10. 1946-07-15: British North Borneo Company ceded to Britain its sovereign rights to North Borneo. Labuan merged with this area to form the British colony of North Borneo.
  11. 1947: Capital of North Borneo moved from Sandakan to Jesselton.
  12. 1948-02-01: Malayan Union became Federation of Malaya.
  13. 1955-11-23: Cocos (Keeling) Islands transferred from Singapore to Australia.
  14. 1958-10-01: Christmas Island transferred from Singapore to Australia.
  15. ~1960: Capital of Pahang state moved from Kuala Lipis to Kuantan.
  16. 1963-09-16: Federation of Malaysia formed by the union of Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, and North Borneo. Name of North Borneo changed to Sabah.
  17. 1965-08-09: Singapore split from Federation of Malaysia.
  18. 1974-02-01: Kuala Lumpur federal territory split from Selangor. Capital of Selangor moved from Kuala Lumpur to Shah Alam.
  19. ~1980: Spelling of some state names and capitals changed. Johore state became Johor, Malacca became Melaka, Negri Sembilan became Negeri Sembilan, Penang became Pinang, Trengganu became Terengganu. Johore Bahru became Johor Baharu, Alor Star became Alor Setar, etc.
  20. 1984-04-16: Labuan federal territory split from Sabah state.
  21. 1999-06-04: Administrative capital of Malaysia moved from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya. The name comes from Malaysia's first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, with the suffix "jaya": success.
  22. 2001-02-01: Wilayah Persekutuan (federal territory) Putrajaya split from Sepang district of Selangor state (source [4]).
  23. 2003-12-21: Name of capital of Kedah changed back to Alor Star (source [3]).

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Johor: Johor Darul Takzim (formal); Johore (variant)
  2. Kedah: Kedah Darul Aman (formal)
  3. Kuala Lumpur: Federal Territory, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur (variant); Territoire Fédéral (French); Território Federal (Portuguese)
  4. Labuan: Labouan (French-variant); Pulau Labuan, Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan (variant)
  5. Melaka: Malacca, Malaka (variant)
  6. Negeri Sembilan: Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus (formal); Negri Sembilan (variant)
  7. Pahang: Pahang Darul Makmur (formal)
  8. Perak: Perak Darul Ridzuan (formal)
  9. Perlis: Perlis Indra Kayangan (formal)
  10. Pinang: Penang and Province Wellesley, Penang, Pulau Pinang (variant)
  11. Sabah: North Borneo (obsolete)
  12. Selangor: Selangor Darul Ehsan (formal)
  13. Terengganu: Terengganu Darul Iman (formal); Trengganu (variant)
  14. Note: When it was the only federal territory, Kuala Lumpur was often called Wilayah Persekutuan. When Labuan became a second federal territory, that name became ambiguous. The correct name now is Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur. I have chosen to use the less cumbersome Kuala Lumpur.

Population history:

Kuala Lumpur 919,6101,145,3421,305,7921,588,750
Labuan7,50777,67214,904 26,41354,24170,87183,920
Negeri Sembilan233,799267,668364,524481,563551,442692,897829,774835,371
Pulau Pinang340,259446,321572,100776,124900,7721,064,1661,231,2091,526,324
Putrajaya       68,361
  1. Notes: 1931: Dindings included in Perak; Sarawak population is estimate.
  2. 1947: Malaya census of that date; Labuan and Sabah populations from North Borneo census of 1951-06-03 (Labuan includes a section of Sabah called "Interior"); Sarawak population from census of 1947-11-26.
  3. 1957: Malaya census of that date; Labuan and Sabah populations from North Borneo census of 1960-08-09; Sarawak population from census of 1960-06-14.
  4. Kuala Lumpur included in Selangor until after they split apart, in 1974. Labuan was part of Sabah until 1984, but most census reports showed a breakout of separate data for Labuan.
  5. 1980-2000: Source [1].


  1. [1] Preliminary Count Report , Population and Housing Census of Malaysia 2010. Department of Statistics, Malaysia (p. 36, retrieved 2011-07-23). This document has a map of states and districts (p. 64). It shows proleptic populations for 1991 and 2010.
  2. [2] Fifth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. Vol. II. New York: United Nations, 1991.
  3. [3] Substantiation for the name change of Alor Star comes from a sports background page (, dead link, retrieved 2007-11-10).
  4. [4] Map  of Putrajaya (retrieved 2001-05-07).
  5. [5] Malaysia Buku Tahunan Perangkaan 1987 (Yearbook of Statistics). Jabatan Perangkaan (Department of Statistics), Malaysia, July 1988.
  6. [6] Courtenay, P.P., and Kate K.Y. Van. Cartographic Frames for Peninsular Malaysia District Statistics 1947-1982. Malaysia Society of the Asian Studies Association of Australia, Queensland, AU, 1983.
  7. [7] Population Distribution by Local Authority Areas and Mukims, 2010 . Department of Statistics, Malaysia (retrieved 2013-08-06).
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