Difference Between Malaysia and Indonesia

Malaysia vs Indonesia

It is a well known fact that Asia is indeed a melting pot of culture and vibrancy. It is because of this very fact that one finds multitudes of people from all over the world visiting this part of the world, keen to discover its many wonders. However, it is not quite easy to discern between some of these Asian countries because of the many similarities they portray in their cultures and way of life. Malaysia and Indonesia are two such countries that are often mistaken for one another in this way.


Malaysia that is located in Southeast Asia is a federal constitutional monarchy comprised of 3 federal territories and thirteen states. Its total landmass is 329,847m2, and this area of land is divided into two regions which are East Malaysia and Peninsular Malaysia. The origins of the land can be traced back to the Malay Kingdoms which during the 18th century were subject to the British Empire.

Malaysia is rich in its ethnic and cultural diversity and although the constitution declares Islam to be the state religion, freedom of religion is protected. Its legal system is based upon common law while its government system is modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system. With one of the best economic records in Asia, its economic systems have been fuelled by natural resources but shows growth in areas such as tourism, medical tourism, science and commerce. It is also known as the 42nd most populated country in the world.


Located in Southeast Asia, The Republic of Indonesia is an archipelago consisting of 13,466 islands. It is a sovereign state with a population of over 238 million comprised of 33 provinces and one Special Administrative Region. With forests covering about 60% of the country, the varied geography of Indonesia is highly conducive to its varied biodiversity which places it second only to that of Brazil. The economy of the country is considered the largest in Southeast Asia with the title of being the 27th biggest exporting country in the world in the year 2010. There are 300 native ethnic groups in Indonesia using 742 different languages and dialects. The largest of these is Javanese who make up 42% of the population while the ethnic Malays, Sundanese and Madurese are the largest non-Javanese groups. The official national language of Indonesia is a form of Malay that is based on the prestige dialect of Malay. The government, although religious freedom is practiced, officially recognizes six religions; Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, Islam, Confucianism, Protestantism and Hinduism. In Indonesia, education is compulsory for twelve years with the choice of either private/semi-private religious schools financed and supervised by the Department of Religious Affairs or state-run, non-sectarian public schools supervised by the Department of National Education.

Indonesia vs Malaysia

Both Malaysia and Indonesia are countries that are located in Southeast Asia. Because of the proximity of the two, one may sometimes be confused about differentiating these two countries. However, several major cultural, societal and financial aspects of the countries give them both unique identities.

 • The official language of Malaysia is Malay. The Indonesian vocabulary while being based on the Malay in Riau is of Javanese and Dutch origin.

• Indonesia possesses the best economy in Southeast Asia. The economy of Malaysia is placed lower to Indonesia.

• The alphabet of Malay is a modified form of the Arabic alphabet. The alphabet of Javanese is influenced by English.

• Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy. Indonesia is a republic.

• Indonesia is an archipelago. Malaysia is not an archipelago.