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Malaysia and Singapore

In: Other Topics

Submitted By graceweny92
Words 942
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In 1963, Malaysia was formed when the federation of the eleven Peninsula states was joined by Singapore, British North Borneo (renamed Sabah) and Sarawak (Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2008). Yet, Singapore was expelled from it after two years to become an independent country. Although both of them belong to the same geographical area which is ASEAN, the acronym for Association of South-East Asian Nations, they seem to be different in their development levels (Association of South-East Asian Nations, 1967). It is undeniable that these two countries are sharing several similarities since they are located relatively close to one another. However, there is still a difference in many aspects. These similarities and differences will be apparent with the comparison based on geography, language, education and political system.

From the geographical point of view, Malaysia and Singapore are neighbors because Singapore is the islands between Malaysia and Indonesia. Both of them are located in South-East Asia and having the same climate which is tropical (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). The situation is absolutely different when it comes to their physical geography. Most of Malaysia is covered by forests and mountains as it consists of a large area of land which is about 330,000 square kilometers whereas Singapore is covered by a small area of land which is approximately 700 square kilometers. In addition, the highest mountain in Malaysia, Mount Kinabalu, is 4100 meters above the sea level compared to Singapore’s highest mountain, Bukit Timah with a relative height of 166 meters. Indeed, Malaysia is 471 times larger than Singapore. Because of the different geographic location, Malaysia and Singapore have different monsoon seasons. For Malaysia, Northeastern monsoon starts from April to October and Southwestern monsoon starts from October to January. Singapore has the same monsoon seasons but they start and end earlier compared to Malaysia. Northeastern monsoon start from December until March and Southwestern monsoon starts from June until September in Singapore (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013).

Next, every country has their own official language and it may be more than one. The same goes for Malaysia and Singapore. As we know, Malaysia and Singapore are well known as multi-racial and multicultural countries. In other words, they are multilingual countries. Even though Malaysia and Singapore are having the same national language which is Malay, their official languages are dissimilar. According to the World Factbook on Central Intelligence Agency, the official language in Malaysia is Malay while Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil are recognized as official languages in Singapore. In Malaysia, you will not be entertained by the government’s staff if you are not speaking in Malay because he has no obligation to look for a colleague who speaks in your language to serve you. This is same for Singapore but with 4 choices of official languages. Furthermore, the major language for Malaysia and Singapore are different. There are 60. 4 percent of Muslims in Malaysia hence undeniably Malay becomes its major language. Unlike Malaysia, Mandarin and English are major languages in Singapore as it consists about 42.5 percent of Buddhist. The official and major languages of Malaysia and Singapore are different, albeit multilingual.

Another difference is education system. The education system in Malaysia and Singapore is slightly different even though most of the children and teenagers from these two countries are learning in the same languages which are English, Mandarin and Malay. English is instructed in all schools in Singapore but not all in Malaysia (School Advisor. My, 2013). Many Malaysians would argue that this is not true as some of the subjects such as science and mathematics are taught in English. However, the statement that English is instructed in all schools in Singapore but not in Malaysia can be seen when government of Malaysia began to phase out English and Chinese language by replacing them with Malay language or increasing the time of Malay classes. They declare that education in Malay language is necessary for a Malaysian. In contrast, Singapore’s government emphasis on English education because it is international language and is to communicate or work with people worldwide. In a nutshell, it can be said that English is important in Singapore while Malay is important in Malaysia.

Finally, there may be some similarities for the political systems in Malaysia and Singapore since both of them are democracies. They have representatives elected by popular votes to serve not exceeding 5 years and these votes are from citizens, without any discrimination, who meet the requirements to vote in elections (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). Though they have some similarities but those similarities are not entirely the same. Parliamentary democracy with constitutional monarchy is practiced in Malaysia while republic is practiced in Singapore. In Malaysia, there are 9 sultans and among these 9 sultans, a King will be chosen. After 5 years, another sultan will be elected to serve as King. These 9 sultans take turns to be elected and cannot be changed or replaced for 5 years unless the King passed away. Contrastively, Singapore has a president rather than a King. Singapore’s president is the Head of State and appointed to hold office for 6 years (Elections Department Singapore, 2013). Concisely, Singapore and Malaysia are having quite different political systems although they are democracy countries.

In conclusion, even though Malaysia and Singapore are located near to each other, this does not mean that they share all the similarities. A comparison between these two countries shows that they share several characteristics but also differences. Based on the comparison of geography, language, education and political system, they may be similar in some aspects. Yet, more differences can be found than similarities in these aspects.

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