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|Location of Malaya||On the Malay Peninsula, south of Siam, north of Sundarapore.|
|Official language||Malay (others co-official in individual states)|
|Capitals|| Kuala Lumpur|
|Largest Metros|| Kuala Lumpur|
|Currency||Malayan Ringgit (MYR) (In Malaya, "Ringgit Malaya" or "RM")|
|Our Timeline Equivalent||Peninsula Malaysia and the Thai provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala|
Malaya is a multi-ethnic country, known for the contrast of large, modern cities, historical sights, and large swaths of primary rain forest.
Malaya has 14 states, which are:
- Northern Region: Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala, Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak
- Central Region: Selangor, Kelantan1, Terengganu, Pahang
- Southern Region: Negeri Sembilan, Melaka (Malacca), Johor
Malaya has been at the crossroads of many trading cultures throughout history, which has influenced its history to a great extent, including its current economy and demographics. Inhabited by Semang Orang Asli, and later adding Proto-Malays to the mix in ancient times, it was the influence of India and the sprouting of Sri Vijaya and other kingdoms that exposed the people of the Malayan Peninsula to the rest of the world. Sri Vijaya was a major force in the region, but while occupying far-flung areas, it only generally controlled the coastal areas. This was true with Malaya, too. The Malays, as a cultural-linguistic group, were spread throughout southeastern Sumatra (now the nation of Jambi), the Malay Peninsula, and some coastal areas of Borneo, though they are related to many other groups in Macronesia.
The eventual dissolution of Sri Vijaya led to smaller kingdoms arising. It was this situation that the British and Netherlanders took advantage of, signing treaties with many of the rulers, in exchange for protection from invaders (which included the British and Netherlanders when rulers were hostile). Many kingdoms signed treaties delineating and limiting their boundaries. The colonial powers took nominal control over much of the remaining land, though only few places were settled or directly controlled by Europeans. The areas with no settled populations thusly maintained formed the basis of the numerous "nature protection areas" that now make up more than 50% of Macronesia. At any rate, Jambi and the Malayan Peninsula drifted further apart culturally, because of the Netherlander influence over the former, and the British influence over the latter.
During the colonial years, vast numbers of Chinese (particularly Gwong, Hokkien, and Hakka peoples), as well as Indians, and not an insignificant number of Europeans came to inhabit Malaya, too. The Straits Settlements were colonies directly under British control (whereas the kingdoms were protectorates), and generally acted as magnets for immigrants. These included "Penang and Prai", "Pangkor and Dinding/Manjung", "Melaka", and "Sundarapore". Pangkor and Dinding never took off economically, but the rest prospered greatly. Later, after decolonization of Malaya, Sundarapore would become an independent country, while the rest joined the protectorates and became known as the "Federation of Malaya".
The Pan-Global War was disastrous for the future Malaya and Sundarapore, as the British retreated from the Japanese to Sundarapore in a matter of a few months, and Sundarapore was subsequently lost. 1946 saw the resumption of colonial Malaya, but plans were in the works for independence, and in 1957, this occurred.
Since independence, Malaya has become the third-richest nation in Southeast Asia (after Sundarapore and Brunei). Particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, its economy was one of the fastest-growing in the world.
Natural Preservation Areas and National Parks
Malaya has a wealth of NPAs. Almost the entire coastal area of Johor is protected. Starting from just outside of JB, and continuing to the west of the Malaya Trunk Line all the way to the coast, and running nearly to Melaka is the western portion of the Ujong Tanah National Park and NPA. The eastern portion goes up the eastern side of the peninsula, to near Mersing, and including most of the the offshore islands. (Thus, both east and west include all of the OTL districts of Kota Tinggi and Pontian, as well as western Batu Pahat and southern Mersing.) Taman Negara, Malaya's first National Park, was first delineated by the British in 1938 and 1939 and included 4,343 km² of primary rain forest. Since then, it and its bordering NPA have grown to include 17,104 km², including much of the main mountain range running from just west of Kuala Lumpur to just west of Ipoh. In addition, many of the eastern offshore islands are protected. Of course, smaller parks exist as well.
The population distribution for Malaya is highly uneven, with over 75% of Malayans living on the west coast, and most of the rest living near the sea on the east coast, or along the main throughfares linking the west to the east. This is particularly true for the Chinese and Indians, the vast majority of which live on the west coast. The Semang people, however, tend to live farther inland. Approximately 89% of Malaya is forested (excluding tree plantations).
- 76% Vegetarian
- 24% Non-Vegetarian
Malaya's population is extremely heterogeneous and uneven. On the rural east coast, the Malay population comprises more than 90% of the total in most towns. However, on the west coast, which was more economically important and dominated by the British for more than a century, Malays made up less of the population. In fact, the city of Ipoh is 70% ethnic Chinese and only 17% Malay. Other cities like George Town (on Penang), Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, and Johor Bahru have nearly even Chinese and Malay populations, with Indians also thrown into the mix. In the sparsely-inhabited, mostly forested interior, the Semang make up the majority.
- 58% Malay
- 50% Settled Malays
- 08% Malay Orang Asli*
- 20% Chinese
- 09% Indian
- 08% Semang Orang Asli*
- 03% multiple race (including Peranakans, Eurasians, etc)
- 02% other
(*16% Orang Asli of any group)
- 56% Malay
- 18% Chinese languages (Min Nan, Hakka, Jyut, etc)
- 07% Semang languages
- 07% Tamil
- 06% Malayic Orang Asli languages
- 04% English
- 02% other
Note: Malay and English are in widespread use for communication between ethnic groups.
- 46% Hindu (mostly Vaishnava)
- 15% Buddhist
- 14% freethinker
- 10% agnostic
- 04% atheist
- 09% Indigenous beliefs
- 07% Muslim (Nusantara Islam predominant)
- 06% Jain
- 02% Christian
- 01% others
1Kelantan is the only semi-autonomous state, owing to its demographics. 94% of the population of Kelantan are of non-Malay "Semang" ethnicity.