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Malaysia, Land and Resources

East and West Malaysia are separated by about 640 km (about 400 mi) of the South China Sea, and together comprise an area of 329,758 sq km (127,320 sq mi), with West Malaysia accounting for about 60 percent of this total. Peninsular Malaysia extends more than 800 km (500 mi) from north to south and spans 330 km (205 mi) at its widest point. In the north lies the Main Range, a mountainous spine that separates the east and west coastal plains. The Main Range rises to a maximum elevation of 2,187 m (7,175 ft) at Mount Tahan, West Malaysia’s highest point. The southern portion of the peninsula is relatively flat. Numerous small islands lie off the coast, including Langkaw (Pulau Langkawi) and Pinang off the northwest coast, and Tioman, a popular tourist destination off the southeast coast.

The states of Sarawak and Sabah (on Borneo), and the federal territory of Labuan (an island off the coast of Sabah) make up East Malaysia. On Borneo, East Malaysia has a maximum width of 275 km (171 mi) and extends about 1,130 km (about 700 mi) in length. Its jagged coastline is about 2,250 km (about 1,400 mi) long. Sarawak, occupying the southwestern section of East Malaysia, consists of swampy lowlands along the coast rising to high mountains in the interior, especially in the east. Sabah, in the northeast, has extensive lowlands in its eastern section. Along Borneo’s northern coast in Sabah is the Crocker Range, which rises to a maximum elevation of 4,101 m (13,455 ft) at Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Malaysia. Several small islands, most notably Labuan and Banggi, lie off the coast of Sabah.

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