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Malaysia vs. Singapore: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 17, 2023
Malaysia is a southeast Asian country with diverse culture and landscapes. Singapore is an independent city-state and island country in Southeast Asia.

Key Differences

Malaysia is a country located in Southeast Asia, known for its rich cultural diversity and beautiful landscapes. Singapore, on the other hand, is an island city-state off southern Malaysia, famous for its global financial center and multicultural population.
The geography of Malaysia includes both peninsular and insular regions, featuring mountains, rainforests, and beaches. Singapore, being a city-state, has a highly urbanized landscape with limited natural resources.
Malaysia's economy is diversified, including sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, and services. Singapore has one of the most advanced economies in the world, with strengths in finance, trading, and technology.
In terms of governance, Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Singapore operates as a parliamentary republic, known for its efficient and pragmatic approach to governance.
Malaysia is characterized by its multicultural society, with significant Malay, Chinese, and Indian communities. Singapore is also highly multicultural, with a cosmopolitan mix of various ethnic groups and expatriates.

Comparison Chart


Both peninsular and insular regions
Island city-state


Diversified, includes manufacturing
Advanced, finance and technology-driven


Federal constitutional monarchy
Parliamentary republic


Multicultural, with various ethnic groups
Highly cosmopolitan and multicultural


Mountains, rainforests, and beaches
Highly urbanized with limited natural areas

Malaysia and Singapore Definitions


Nation comprising peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's island.
The rainforests in Malaysia are among the oldest in the world.


Financial and technological hub with diverse culture.
Singapore's skyline is dotted with impressive skyscrapers.


A country with a mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences.
Malaysia celebrates a variety of festivals due to its cultural diversity.


A modern city-state and island country in Southeast Asia.
Singapore is renowned for its clean streets and strict laws.


Southeast Asian nation known for its natural beauty and cuisine.
Malaysian cuisine is a delicious blend of various culinary traditions.


Independent nation known for its efficient governance.
Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world.


A country with a federal constitutional monarchy system.
Malaysia has a unique political system with a king and elected parliament.


Cosmopolitan city with a mix of ethnic communities.
Singapore celebrates cultural diversity through various festivals.


A culturally diverse country in Southeast Asia.
Malaysia is known for its stunning beaches and diverse cultures.


Small but highly developed and urbanized country.
Despite its size, Singapore plays a significant role in global finance.


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.


The capital of Singapore; one of the world's biggest ports


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


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


An island south of the Malay Peninsula


What is Malaysia?

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country located partly on a peninsula of the Asian mainland and partly on the northern third of the island of Borneo.

Is Malaysia a single island?

No, Malaysia consists of both Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia on the island of Borneo.

What is the capital of Malaysia?

Kuala Lumpur.

Which seas surround Malaysia?

The South China Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, and the Strait of Malacca.

What languages are spoken in Malaysia?

The official language is Malay, but English, Chinese, Tamil, and various indigenous languages are also spoken.

Which countries border Malaysia?

Thailand, Indonesia, and Brunei. It also has maritime borders with Vietnam and the Philippines.

How did Singapore get its name?

It's believed to derive from the Malay word "Singapura", meaning "Lion City".

What languages are spoken in Singapore?

The official languages are English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil.

Is Singapore part of Malaysia?

No, but it was part of Malaysia from 1963 to 1965.

What is the main religion in Singapore?

Singapore is religiously diverse, with Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, and Hinduism being practiced by significant portions of the population.

What currency does Malaysia use?

The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR).

What is the main religion in Malaysia?

Islam is the official religion, but there are also significant Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu communities.

What is Singapore?

Singapore is a sovereign city-state and island country in Southeast Asia.

Where is Singapore located?

At the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north.

What type of government does Singapore have?

It's a unitary parliamentary republic.

What's Malaysia's form of government?

It's a federal constitutional elective monarchy and parliamentary democracy.

Is Malaysia a member of the Commonwealth?

Yes, Malaysia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

What is the currency of Singapore?

The Singapore Dollar (SGD).

Is Singapore a member of the Commonwealth?

Yes, Singapore is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

What's the capital of Singapore?

Singapore is both a city and a country, so Singapore City is the capital.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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