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International Coffeehouses: Malaysia

This guide will provide links to resources related to the countries featured in the International Coffeehouses.

Malaysia's largest tea plantation in the Cameroon highlands outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Photo by Farrukh


Map of Malaysia


The Champion


U-Wei Haji Saari


Sabri, Yunus, Normah Damanhuri, Khalid Salleh


Based on the novel, Juara, by S. Othman Kelantan, Mamat, a Malaysian, works in Southern Thailand as a trainer in bullfighting (a jogho). In this small village, the winnings from the gambling during bull-fights, maintains the village economy. But when a village leader is killed during a bull-fight, Mamat has to uphold the village's honour by taking revenge. But a cycle of violence soon follows. U-Wei bin Haji Saari is the key Malaysian filmmaker preceding the rise of the Malaysian New Wave in 2000. His seminal work was his feature debut, Woman, Wife and Whore (1993). In 1995, his third feature, The Arsonist (1994), became the first Malaysian film to be selected in Cannes. The Champion (Jogho) is his fourth work and his latest feature, Hanyut (2011), based on Joseph Conrad's Almayer's Folly will be released in 2011.


Won 1998 Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Best Actor,Won 1999 Malaysian Film Festival, Best Actor,Won 1999 Malaysian Film Festival, Best Director,Won 1999 Malaysian Film Festival, Best Film,Nominated 1998 Singapore International Film Festival, Silver Screen Award


The Federation of Malaysia, situated in South-East Asia, consists of 13 states. The 11 states of Malaya, under British protection, were united as the Malayan Union in 1946 and became the Federation of Malaya in 1948. Malaya was granted independence, within the Commonwealth, in 1957. Malaysia was established in 1963, through the union of the independent Federation of Malaya (renamed the States of Malaya), Singapore, and the former British colonies of Sarawak and Sabah. Subsequently, Singapore left the federation and the States of Malaya were styled Peninsular Malaysia. The Supreme Head of State is an elected monarch. The United Malays National Organization (UMNO) was the dominant political party from independence until 2018, providing the first six Prime Ministers to have held office. However, at the general election of May 2018 the former UMNO Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad joined the opposition and unexpectedly defeated the ruling coalition. Mahathir became Prime Minister of a Government formed by the coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH—Alliance of Hope). In February 2020 the PH coalition Government collapsed, after the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and some members of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat left the alliance. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of Bersatu was sworn in as Prime Minister on 1 March at the head of a new governing coalition, the Perikatan Nasional (PN—National Alliance). In August 2021 Muhyiddin and his Cabinet resigned after the Government lost its parliamentary majority following the withdrawal of several UMNO legislators. Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob, the Vice-President of UMNO and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, was sworn in as Prime Minister. Following a general election in November 2022, at which no single party or coalition of parties won a majority of seats, Dato’ Seri Haji Anwar bin Ibrahim, the Chairman of the PH coalition, which had secured the largest number of seats, was sworn in as Prime Minister, having been appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. With the exception of those comprising the PN coalition, all the parties that had secured legislative representation agreed to participate in a ‘unity’ government. Kuala Lumpur is the capital, although Putrajaya has been developed as the administrative capital. The official language is Bahasa Malaysia.

Head of State

HM Yang di-Pertuan Agong HRH Sultan Ibrahim Ismail ibni al-Marhum Sultan Iskandar (Sultan of Johor)

Head of Government

Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Haji Anwar bin Ibrahim


330,241 sq km

Population  (preliminary, mid-2023)




Learn to Speak Malay

Mango Language Logo




Fighting Sea Dragons, part of a wall painting

Street Corner in Kuala Lumpur: The Blind Basket-Seller and the Itinerant Restaurant


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