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Malaysia vs. Singapore — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on November 30, 2023
Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country with diverse cultures and landscapes, while Singapore is a city-state and island south of Malaysia known for its modernity and business hub status.
Malaysia vs. Singapore — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Malaysia and Singapore

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Key Differences

Malaysia, located in Southeast Asia, encompasses parts of both the Asian mainland and Borneo island. It is famed for its rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty, spanning beaches to rainforests. Singapore, on the other hand, is a small city-state and island nation that lies at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, known for its advanced infrastructure, skyscrapers, and as a global financial hub.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 30, 2023
Malaysia consists of 13 states and three federal territories, with a constitutional monarchy system in place. Its King, or "Yang di-Pertuan Agong," is elected from the Malay sultans every five years. Singapore operates as a parliamentary republic with a single city that serves as its capital, its largest city, and its own state.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 30, 2023
Diversity is a hallmark of Malaysia, evident in its multiracial and multicultural population, which includes Malays, Chinese, Indians, and indigenous groups. Malay is the official language, but numerous languages are spoken. Singapore's population is also diverse, with Chinese, Malays, Indians, and expatriates, but its four official languages are English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 30, 2023
While Malaysia is known for its traditional markets, street food, and UNESCO-listed sites like George Town and Malacca, Singapore is often recognized for its modern architecture, shopping hubs like Orchard Road, and attractions such as Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay.
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Nov 30, 2023
Malaysia's economy is export-driven, focusing on natural resources, palm oil, and electronics. Singapore, by contrast, has a highly developed and diversified economy, excelling in sectors like banking, shipping, and aviation, with its port being one of the busiest globally.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 30, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Type

Country
City-state
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Area

Larger, includes parts of mainland Asia and Borneo
Smaller, consists of one main island and 62 islets
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Nov 30, 2023

Governance

Constitutional monarchy with 13 states
Parliamentary republic with one city-state
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Major Ethnic Groups

Malays, Chinese, Indians, and indigenous groups
Chinese, Malays, Indians, and expatriates
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Economic Focus

Natural resources, palm oil, electronics
Banking, shipping, aviation, and trade
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Compare with Definitions

Malaysia

A Southeast Asian nation spanning two regions.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital, boasts the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.
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Singapore

Known for its advanced infrastructure and cleanliness.
Singapore's efficient public transport system is admired by many.
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Oct 14, 2023

Malaysia

Has both urban centers and natural wonders.
While Malaysia's Penang offers street food delights, Borneo beckons with wildlife adventures.
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Singapore

A city-state in Southeast Asia.
Singapore's skyline is a blend of greenery and towering skyscrapers.
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Oct 14, 2023

Malaysia

Known for diverse cultures and landscapes.
Malaysia offers travelers a mix of modern cities and ancient rainforests.
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Oct 14, 2023

Singapore

A global hub for business and trade.
Companies from around the world have regional headquarters in Singapore.
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Malaysia

A country with a rich historical tapestry.
The UNESCO-listed city of Malacca in Malaysia tells tales of ancient traders.
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Oct 14, 2023

Singapore

Has a strategic location with a busy port.
Ships from various nations dock at Singapore's port, one of the world's busiest.
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Oct 14, 2023

Malaysia

Home to multiple ethnic groups and languages.
In Malaysia, celebrations range from Malay Hari Raya to Chinese New Year.
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Singapore

Rich in cultural diversity and modern attractions.
Singapore's Chinatown and Little India showcase its multicultural heritage.
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Malaysia

A country in Southeast Asia including the former nation of Malaya on the Malay Peninsula, and part of Borneo; sometimes still referred to as Malaya.
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Oct 10, 2023

Singapore

The capital of Singapore; one of the world's biggest ports
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Oct 10, 2023

Malaysia

A constitutional monarchy in southeastern Asia on Borneo and the Malay Peninsula; achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1957
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Oct 10, 2023

Singapore

A country in southeastern Asia on the island of Singapore; achieved independence from Malaysia in 1965
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Oct 10, 2023

Singapore

An island south of the Malay Peninsula
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Common Curiosities

What currency does Singapore use?

Singapore uses the Singapore Dollar (SGD).
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Which is bigger in land area, Malaysia or Singapore?

Malaysia is significantly larger in land area compared to Singapore.
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Where is Malaysia located?

Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia, covering parts of the Asian mainland and Borneo island.
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Is Singapore a part of Malaysia?

No, Singapore is an independent city-state, though it was part of Malaysia from 1963 to 1965.
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Nov 30, 2023

What languages are spoken in Malaysia?

Malay is the official language, but English, Chinese, Tamil, and various indigenous languages are also spoken.
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Is Singapore known for its food culture?

Yes, Singapore is renowned for its diverse food culture, including hawker centers and cuisine from various ethnicities.
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Nov 30, 2023

Are there rainforests in Malaysia?

Yes, Malaysia has ancient rainforests, especially in Borneo.
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Nov 30, 2023

Which has a more diverse economy, Malaysia or Singapore?

While both are diverse, Singapore has a more diversified economy, spanning numerous sectors.
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Is English spoken in Singapore?

Yes, English is one of the four official languages of Singapore.
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Does Malaysia have islands?

Yes, Malaysia has several islands, including Langkawi, Penang, and Tioman.
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What is Malaysia's capital city?

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia.
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What are some major tourist attractions in Singapore?

Major attractions include Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa Island, and Orchard Road.
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Which country is a global financial hub, Malaysia or Singapore?

Singapore is recognized as a global financial hub.
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What is the primary religion in Malaysia?

Islam is the official religion of Malaysia.
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How do Malaysia and Singapore celebrate their independence days?

Malaysia celebrates Merdeka Day on August 31, while Singapore observes National Day on August 9.
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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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