Polygamy is allowed in Malaysia although not widely practiced. The overwhelming majority of unions are monogamous. Under Islamic law, Muslim men can take up four wives but they must be mentally and financially stable, have an in-depth knowledge of Islam and be fair to all wives, Abdullah said. Married Muslims receive identification cards that contain a photograph of themselves and their spouse. Men with four wives get four identification cards, one for each wife.

Liz Gooch wrote in the New York Times: “Under Malaysian law, it is legal for Muslim men to marry as many as four wives, although they must obtain permission from an Islamic, or shariah, court to marry more than one. Women’s groups say it has become easier for men to obtain permission to take multiple wives in recent years, a development they say coincides with a rise in Islamic conservatism in Malaysia. While some states require men to obtain the consent of their existing wives before seeking court permission to marry another wife, Sa’adiah Din, a family lawyer who practices in the shariah courts, said other states no longer required the wives’ consent. [Source: Liz Gooch, New York Times, January 5, 2010 ]

“In 2008, 1,791 men applied to the shariah courts, which apply only to the country’s Muslim population, for permission to take another wife, up from 1,694 in 2007. The government could not provide figures on the total number of polygamous marriages, but researchers including Norani Othman, a sociologist at the National University of Malaysia, said the number could be as high as 5 percent of all marriages.”

Easing of the Rules on Polygamy in Malaysia

Amendments to the Islamic family law, regarding polygamy, once considered among the most progressive in the world, has whittled away Muslim women's rights. Alyaa Azhar wrote in Free Malaysia Today: For a polygamous marriage to be justified, it has to be ‘just and necessary’, not ‘just or necessary’, a forum was told. Sisters in Islam (SIS) executive director Ratna Osman, said that Malaysia’s Islamic Family Law Act 1984 was one the most progressive in the Muslim world. However, later amendments diluted the rights of Muslim women, said Ratna at a forum entitled, ‘Equality in the Muslim Marriage: Challenges and Possibilities’ recently’.“The trend has been discriminatory against Muslim women where it has made it easier for a husband in a polygamous marriage to simply divorce his wife,” she said. [Source: Alyaa Azhar, Free Malaysia Today, December 8, 2012 /*/

“The 1984 Islamic family law stated that a polygamous marriage must be ‘just and necessary’, however it has been amended to ‘just or necessary’. “This lessened the need for a husband to justify polygamous marriages. They can now inform the Syariah court that the marriage is necessary with the excuse that is, ‘to prevent zina’. “He does not have to convince the court that he will be just. We hope for the conditions of a polygamous marriage to be switched back to ‘just and necessary’ or solely ‘just’,” she said. Ratna said according to a SIS research, if ‘giving turns’ is the benchmark for ‘being just’ then according to experience of wives, most are not satisfied with the ‘turns’ that they are getting. “If dissatisfaction is the daily experience of wives, then how can it be said that a husband is being ‘just’? And furthermore, with more wives, financial contribution from a husband decreases. So the question is, how do these men get permission to take a second wife (or a third, and a fourth), when they cannot provide financial support?” asked Ratna. /*/]

She said the country also has problems with judges who lack gender sensitivity. “There have been cases where a woman complains about the physical abuse, only to have the judge dismiss it as ‘just a harmless slap from the husband’.” National University of Singapore associate professor Maznah Mohamad cited the case of Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar who was fined just RM 1,000 for marrying without the consent of a Syariah registrar. “This shows how bad the Syariah system in the country is. It definitely does not show itself as a credible institution. “Furthermore, cases such as divorce through smses and simply uttering the talak should be taken seriously because such instances lead to the high divorce rate,” she said. /*/

University of London professorial research associate Ziba Mir Hosseini pointed out to the fact that conditions change with moving times. “Actually there is no such thing as Islamic family law but there is Muslim family law and as such, it changes, and there’s nothing really sacred about it,” she said. /*/

Harems in the 19th Century and Marrying Single Mothers Today

“The following little adventure was told me during my stay at Sarawak by Dr. Treacher,” Henry Keppel wrote 1841 in “Expedition to Borneo of H.M.S. Dido for the Suppression of Piracy.” “It appears that Dr. Treacher received a message by a confidential slave, that one of the ladies of Macota's harem desired an interview, appointing a secluded spot in the jungle as the rendezvous. The doctor, being aware of his own good looks, fancied he had made a conquest; and, having got himself up as showily as he could, was there at the appointed time. He described the poor girl as both young and pretty, but with a dignified and determined look, which at once convinced him that she was moved to take so dangerous a step by some deeper feeling than that of a mere fancy for his person. She complained of the ill-treatment she had received from Macota, and the miserable life she led; and avowed that her firm resolve was to destroy (not herself, gentle creature! but) him, for which purpose she wanted a small portion of arsenic. It was a disappointment that he could not comply with her request: so they parted — he full of pity and love for her, and she, in all probability, full of contempt for a man who felt for her wrongs, but would not aid in the very simple means she had proposed for redressing them. [Source: “The Expedition to Borneo of H.M.S. Dido For the Suppression of Piracy” by Henry Keppel and James Brooke (1847)]

In May 2007, the Malaysian state of Terengganu urged Muslim men to marry single mothers to reduce the number of women bringing up children alone. The Star quoted Abdullah Che Muda, head of the Islamic and welfare committee in northeast Terengganu state, as saying there were 18,000 single mothers in the state alone. “In my constituency alone, there are now some 300 single mothers and those intending to marry more than once should consider these women,” he was quoted as saying. “Those who are eligible can look after these single mothers by accepting them as wives,” he added. [Source: AP, May 14, 2007]

Leo Lewis wrote in The Times, “A legislator in the northeastern state of Kelantan has formally proposed that MPs help to reduce the country’s (very limited) ranks of single mothers by marrying lots of them. Prizes should be awarded, she said, for politicians who wed their way to a large, socially responsible “quota” of wives and pay for their children to be educated.”

Many Secret Polygamous Marriages In Malaysia

Stephanie Sta Maria of the Association for Women Rights in Development wrote: When Danish anthropologist, Miriam Koktvedgaard Zietzen, arrived in Malaysia to research her thesis in the late 1990s, she had no intention of carrying out any fieldwork on polygamy. After all, most of the literature she had read before her trip had either declared polygamy non-existent in Malaysia or had estimated its rate at an insignificant 3 percent. "So I came here thinking there was no polygamy," Zietzen told a forum called "Love & Lives: Polygamy Across the Muslim World," organised by Sisters In Islam (SIS). "Then I began my research among the upper and upper-middle class Malays in Kuala Lumpur and I found that there is a lot of polygamy here." [Source: Stephanie Sta Maria, Association for Women Rights in Development, January 11, 2013 =]

“Surveys of 1,300 families concluded that the practice of polygamy today has deviated from its original purpose of providing justice and welfare to women and orphans, to merely satisfying men's sexual desires. More than 77 percent of the men surveyed admitted that they were polygamous to avoid infidelity. The sin of infidelity also played a part in the decision of first wives to allow their husband's second marriage. A first wife interviewed by Indonesian academic Nina Nurmila confessed that she had reluctantly agreed to this arrangement because she didn't want to be the person who drove her husband to sin. However the SIS video included a first wife who took credit for her husband's second marriage. She believed that the marital happiness she enjoyed should be shared with another woman who wasn't so fortunate. And so she approached her best friend. =

“Meanwhile the religious experts interviewed on the subject collectively agreed that Islam only permits polygamy if five conditions are fulfilled and that none of the five included satisfying man's desires. Zietzen's discovery of the existence of polygamy in Malaysia deeply intrigued her and she spent two years in Kuala Lumpur researching a marital practice that "wasn't quite really there". "No anthropologist had written about it and it wasn't something that was talked about openly," she said. According to her findings, most polygamous marriages in Malaysia are often conducted in secret and that there were more unregistered marriages than people waiting to be registered. Zietzen however didn't provide any further research details, interview snippets or statistics. =

“Nina, who is the author of "Women, Islam and Everyday Life: Renegotiating Polygamy in Indonesia", has categorised Muslims into three groups where their views on polygamy are concerned. According to her, the first group comprises Muslims who see polygamy as permitted in Islam (the literalists), the second who see it as permitted with certain conditions (the semi-literalists) and the third who see it as indirectly prohibited (the contextualists). More often than not, Nina said, Muslims failed to read and understand the Quranic verse on polygamy in its full context. "If you believe that Islam allows polygamy or that it is a God-given right, then you are going by the human interpretation of the Quran," she said. “ =

Norani Othman, a Professor of Sociology and a founding member of SIS, agreed with Nina and added that the gradual Islamisation and creation of a dual judicial system post 1988 had posed a new challenge in the area of syariah law. "There is no rule of law when it comes to polygamy and no real respect to the written law," she said. "For Muslim religious authorities - even those in the syariah court or the religious departments - their conscience as a Muslim comes before the law." "So they claim that under syariah law, a religiously- sanctioned process (is considered) a legal marriage whether or not it was done (in secret) at the Thai border." Norani pointed out that many men resorted to secret second marriages without obtaining permission from their first wife (one of the five pre-conditions to polygamy) because they were afraid she would refuse. "But they only have to pay a mere RM30 fine for the syariah court to register that marriage without adhering to the spirit of the law on the five conditions," she said. "Part of the syariah legal fraternity is arguing that as good Muslims our laws are not Islamic enough. But in Muslim countries, like Turkey and Tunisia, polygamy was banned many years ago. So what's the problem?" =

Polygamous Marriages in Malaysia

Liz Gooch wrote in the New York Times: “Rohaya Mohamad, 44, is an articulate, bespectacled medical doctor who studied at a university in Wales. Juhaidah Yusof, 41, is a shy Islamic studies teacher and mother of eight. Kartini Maarof, 41, is a divorce lawyer and Rubaizah Rejab, a youthful-looking 30-year-old woman, teaches Arabic at a private college. The lives of these four women are closely entwined — they take care of each others’ children, cook for each other and share a home on weekends. They also share a husband. [Source: Liz Gooch, New York Times, January 5, 2010 ]

“The man at the center of this matrimonial arrangement is Mohamad Ikram Ashaari...With 17 children among them, ages 6 to 21, Mr. Ikram’s four wives all have their own homes near their workplaces, but on weekends they gather at the family’s five-bedroom house on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Most of the older children are at boarding school or university, but the children of primary-school age stay at the family house, where they are usually cared for by the first wife, Juhaidah, during the week.

“Mr. Ikram takes turns spending nights with each of his four wives. “It’s like one, two, three, four,” said Dr. Rohaya, pointing to each of the wives. The wives usually meet Mr. Ikram at the family house but they say there is no strict arrangement, and Mr. Ikram sometimes comes to their individual homes during the week. On weekends, at the family house, the women take turns doing the cooking. “We share clothes,” Dr. Rohaya said. “We’re like sisters, really.”

“None of the women grew up in polygamous families, and although they admit to having had some initial reservations, they all said they were happy and would recommend polygamous marriage to their daughters. Mr. Ikram rejected suggestions from the women’s groups that polygamous marriages may benefit men while causing hardship for women. “Actually, in a polygamous marriage it’s more of a burden to a man than to a woman because the husband has to face four different women, and that’s not easy,” he said, prompting laughter from his wives.

In May 2008, a Malaysian with three wives and 18 children asked an Islamic court to let him marry again with the blessing of all his spouses. Associated Press reported: “Mohamed Nor Awang, aged 51, filed a petition to take another wife in the Shariah High Court in eastern Terengganu state, a court employee said. His three wives told the court on Thursday they supported Mohamed Nor's decision, the court worker said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol. Mohamed Nor's first wife, Wan Rukiah Mat Yusof, aged 52, was quoted by The Star newspaper saying he could "go ahead, I have no problems." "We all could live blissfully under one roof," his third wife, 40-year-old Noraini Daud, was reported as saying by The Star. Judge Sheikh Ahmad Ismail Hakim told Mohamed Nor to return to court on Sunday with bank account statements to show he can financially support another spouse, the court worker said. [Source: AP, May 17, 2008]

In October 2008, AFO reported: “A 57-year-old Malaysian Muslim man assaulted his wife and threatened to shoot her after she failed to secure him a young second wife, news reports said. Mohamad Haris Daud, a local police chief in Kuantan in central Pahang state, said the man forced his 60-year-old wife to seek the consent of a woman in her 30s to be his second wife. The frightened wife then went to the woman's house but found out that she was already married, he said. "After she told her husband that the woman was married, he ran amok and started beating her and threatened to cut her with a machete", Mohamad was quoted as saying by the Malay-language Utusan Malaysia newspaper. Mohamad said the man, a security guard and member of civil volunteer corps RELA, which rounds up illegal immigrants, also threatened to shoot her with a shotgun after she failed to obtain the consent from the other woman. Police have detained the husband and he is being investigated for criminal intimidation. [Source: AFP, October 29, 2008]

Two in Five of First Wives in Malaysian Polygamous Marriages Forced to Find Extra Income

A study on polygamy in Malaysia showed that 44 percent of first wives are forced to find extra work after their husbands take on a second wife. The study by non-governmental organisation Sisters in Islam (SIS) and the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (Ikmas) of the National University of Malaysia (UKM) surveyed some 1,200 participants from polygamous families throughout peninsular Malaysia since 2008. “The husband’s contribution to his first wife’s family decreased after his second marriage,” said SIS senior research officer Adibah Mohd. Jodi. “About 44 percent of first wives have to take on extra work after their husbands take on a second wife,” she added. [Source: Boo Su-Lyn, The Insider, July 15, 2010 ||||]

Boo Su-Lyn wrote in The Insider, “Centre of Research on Women’s Development (Kanita), University of Science Malaysia (USM) director Rashidah Shuib said that many first wives are unable to get financial aid from the government as they are told to rely on their husbands. The debut study also revealed that only 28 percent of first wives and 47 percent of second wives were satisfied with their husbands’ method of alternating nights between them. “The system of the husband taking turns (between his wives) is not discussed and it is as if the husband has unilateral power (in this matter),” said Rashidah, who is one of the lead researchers. “How does the court then evaluate the husband’s ability to be fair?” she asked. ||||

According to Syariah law, husbands need to fulfil either criterion of “fair” or “necessary” before he is allowed to marry another woman. “Husbands find that spending time equally with his family members is very difficult compared to other factors like spreading finances, communication or affection equally,” added Rashidah. The study also showed that 70 percent of first wives cited a need for more counselling after their husbands’ second marriage, while about 53 percent of them cited an increase in domestic violence. “Most first wives isolate themselves and turn to their children for support instead. Where do these children then turn to?” asked Rashidah. ||||

Rashidah also criticised the syariah court’s removal of the fifth condition for polygamy which states that there is to be no decrease in quality of life, saying “this condition can never be fulfilled.” “First wives are the most dissatisfied (parties) in almost all aspects, such as time, emotion, resources and communication (with their husbands),” she said. When asked why majority of children of either the first or second wife remarked that they “did not care” about being in a polygamous family, head researcher Norani Othman said that their lax attitude could be a psychological defence mechanism.

Majority of the research participants were from Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang as they were more open to answering surveys than their urban counterparts in Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan, added Norani. About 47 percent of husbands and 35 percent of second wives surveyed were either self-employed or blue collar workers, while about 52 percent of first wives were homemakers. “Academics tried to apply for funds (for this project), but they were all rejected by the Ministry of Higher Education,” said Norani. “This study (on polygamy) is the first in this country or even outside. (Before this), there were only two small studies on polygamy done in Saudi Arabia in 2001 and Indonesia in 2009,” she added.

Malaysian Polygamy Club

Supporters of polygamy have recently set up clubs in both Malaysia and Indonesia, encouraging women to be totally obedient to their husbands and insisting the practice can solve social problems such as prostitution.

Liz Gooch wrote in the New York Times: Mr. Ikram is “the 43-year-old stepson of Hatijah Aam, 54, a Malaysian woman who in August established a club to promote polygamy. “Men are by nature polygamous,” said Dr. Rohaya, Mr. Ikram’s third wife, flanked by the other three women and Mr. Ikram for an interview on a recent morning. The women were dressed in ankle-length skirts, their hair covered by tudungs, the Malaysian term for headscarf. “We hear of many men having the ‘other woman,’ affairs and prostitution because for men, one woman is not enough. Polygamy is a way to overcome social ills such as this.” [Source: Liz Gooch, New York Times, January 5, 2010 ]

“The Ikhwan Polygamy Club is managed by Global Ikhwan, a company whose businesses include bread and noodle factories, a chicken-processing plant, pharmacies, cafes and supermarkets. Mr. Ikram is a director of the company. The Ikhwan Polygamy Club says it has 1,000 members across Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, the Middle East and Europe. It recently started a branch in Bandung, Indonesia, and plans to open another one in Jakarta. Members get together regularly for meetings and relationship counseling, which is given by senior members of the group. The club has also been criticized by women’s groups like Sisters in Islam, a nongovernmental organization based in Malaysia.

Malaysian Polygamy Club’s Linked to Banned Religious Cult

Liz Gooch wrote in the New York Times: Ikhwan Polygamy Club “has come under fire from the government and religious leaders, who suspect it may be an attempt to revive Al-Arqam, a defunct Islamic movement headed by Mrs. Hatijah’s husband, Mr. Ashaari Mohamad, who is the founder and owner of Global Ikhwan. Al-Arqam was banned in 1994 for “deviant” religious teachings. The club denies allegations that it is trying to revive Al-Arqam, and says that the aim of the club is to help single mothers and women past “marrying age” find husbands. Most of the members are employees of Global Ikwan or former members of Al-Arqam. [Source: Liz Gooch, New York Times, January 5, 2010 ]

“Despite the growing number of polygamous marriages, the club’s effort to promote the practice has put it in the sights of the authorities. The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, a government department that is responsible for the promotion and administration of Islam, is investigating the activities of the Ikhwan Polygamy Club and says it believes Mr. Ashaari and his family may be promoting teachings contrary to Islam. A spokeswoman would not provide further details, saying the investigation was continuing.

“Al-Arqam had asserted that Mr. Ashaari had the power to forgive the sins of Muslims, an act Muslims believe can be done only by God. Some reports have suggested that the movement had as many as 10,000 members when it was banned. A leading religious official, Harussani Bin Haji Zakaria, the mufti of Perak State, said followers of Al-Arqam had claimed that Mr. Ashaari had the power to send people to heaven or hell. Mr. Harussani said he believed the polygamy club could be a front to resurrect Al-Arqam. “I think because they have been banned they want to attract people to come to him again,” he said, referring to Mr. Ashaari.

Views by Malaysians in Polygamous Marriages

Liz Gooch wrote in the New York Times: “Ms. Norani, the sociologist, who is the lead researcher in a Sisters in Islam project investigating polygamy, said the practice could be harmful to women and children, particularly those born to first wives. She and her fellow researchers have interviewed 2,000 men, women and adult children who have experienced polygamous marriage. [Source: Liz Gooch, New York Times, January 5, 2010 ]

“Although she stressed that her comments were based on preliminary observations, Ms. Norani said many of the first wives interviewed reported feelings of resentment and depression after their husbands took a second wife, and “a significant number” had considered divorce. She said she knew some well-educated, financially independent women in Kuala Lumpur, including business executives and lawyers, who had chosen to become second or third wives. “Usually they marry late, they do a second or third degree, they put off marriage until later and they find it difficult to find an unmarried man,” she said. “One of them said ‘all the good men are either married or gay.”’

Sean Yoong of Associated Press wrote: “The vast majority of young Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia appear to disapprove of the traditional acceptance of polygamy but remain reluctant to openly support interfaith marriages or premarital sex, a new survey shows. In the survey coordinated by two German-based cultural organizations, 86.5 percent of 1,496 Indonesians interviewed and 72.7 percent of 1,060 Malaysians said they were against polygamy. More females opposed polygamy compared to males, who are permitted four wives under Islamic law. [Source: Sean Yoong, AP, July 12, 2011 ^^]

“The findings indicate that opinions among the young in both Muslim-majority nations "have shifted from the traditional viewpoint that sees polygamy as an Islamic precept," according to a survey summary the Goeth-Institut and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. The all-Muslim respondents who participated in face-to-face interviews were from 15 to 25 years old. ^^

“Polygamy has become widely debated in Indonesia and Malaysia—home of Southeast Asia's largest Muslim populations—in recent years. Women's groups say many men who enter polygamous marriages neglect their existing wives and children financially and emotionally. Activists estimate polygamous unions in Malaysia account for about 5 percent of new marriages. The practice is thought to be more widespread in Indonesia, but many marriages are performed secretly at mosques and are not recorded by the state. ^^

“The rejection of polygamy among respondents in the survey was "remarkable considering otherwise overwhelmingly favorable attitudes toward social and religious conservatism," the summary's authors wrote. Ninety-two percent of the Indonesian respondents and 62 percent of the Malaysians said they were unwilling to wed someone from a different religion, the summary said "Even if they are willing to marry a spouse of a different faith, they wish for them to convert to Islam," it said. ^^

In May 2008, a Malaysian MP told parliament that there would be fewer marital problems and a lower divorce rate if Muslim women were taught to accept polygamy. AFP reported: “Ibrahim Ali, an independent parliamentarian, proposed moves to address the issue in response to complaints that women were always blamed for marital issues. "Such problems happen because women cannot accept polygamy. From a preventive point of view, what about doing a big campaign so that women can accept polygamy?" Ibrahim was quoted saying in the Star daily. [Source: AFP, May 23, 2008]

“The ethnic Malay Muslim lawmaker said women who are pregnant or who have "problems" when they hit their 50s do not understand that men still want to "have fun". Fuziah Salleh, an opposition politician, had earlier questioned the qualifications of Islamic sharia court counsellors as she had received complaints from women that they were forced to take the blame for most marital problems. "They are not counselled but given 'advice'. And every time, they are told that the woman is to be blamed. If it is a family problem, they must be patient. If they are beaten up, they must also be patient," she said. [Ibid]

107-year-old Malaysian Woman Seeks 23rd Husband and Man Marries for the 53rd Time

In September 2009, AFP reported: “A 107-year-old Malaysian woman says she is ready to marry for the 23rd time because she fears her current drug addict husband might leave her for a younger woman, a report. Wook Kundor made headlines four years ago when she married Muhammad Noor Che Musa, a man 70 years her junior in northern Terengganu state, with pictures of the couple's wedding splashed across regional newspapers. But Wook is now looking for new love as she fears that Muhammad, 37, who is undergoing voluntary drug rehabilitation treatment in the capital Kuala Lumpur, will leave her once the programme ends, she told the Star newspaper. [Source: AFP, September 14, 2009]

"Lately, there is this kind of insecurity in me," the paper quoted her as saying, showing a photograph of the smiling, wrinkled-faced centenarian wearing a Muslim headscarf. "I realise that I am an aged woman. I don't have the body nor am I a young woman who can attract anyone." "My intention to remarry is to fill my forlornness and nothing more than that," she said, adding that she felt lonely without her husband by her side to celebrate the coming Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr next week. Wook said she planned to visit Muhammad on the second day of Eid if her neighbours were willing to drive her to the capital. Muhammad, who was a lodger in Wook's house, had previously said it was "God's will" that the couple fell in love.

In February 2009, Associated Press reported: “A Malaysian septuagenarian tied the knot in 1957, and tied it again and again — 53 times. This week, he's gone back to where he started, remarrying wife No. 1. "I am not a playboy. I just love seeing beautiful women," Kamaruddin Mohammed, 72, was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times newspaper. Kamaruddin's latest bride, now 74, also was the first woman he married and divorced. In between marrying Khadijah Udin, in 1957 and again in 2009, the "easy going charmer" married 51 times, including to an Englishwoman and a Thai. He stayed with the Thai the longest, for 20 years, the Times said. His shortest marriage lasted two days. All his previous marriages ended in divorce except with the Thai woman, who died of cancer, he said. "After she died I thought of Khadijah and sent several people to inquire. I didn't expect her to accept it," said Kamaruddin, who worked for several multinational companies before retiring in 1992.

Despite all the repeat marriages, Kamaruddin says he is a one-woman man. "I don't like flings. I also don't believe in marrying more than one woman at a time," he told the Times. He said he is very happy to be reunited with Khadijah, to whom he was married the first time for only a year. Khadijah told the Times that she accepted Kamaruddin's marriage offer because she was now living alone after the death of her third husband. "Kamaruddin also promised to look after me until the end of our lives and said he did not want to continue his habit of remarrying repeatedly," she said. [Source: AP, February 11, 2009]

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated June 2015

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