a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch in southeast asia, consisting of 11 states (west malaysia) on the malay peninsula and two states (east malaysia) on the island of borneo. It is also called the federation of malaysia. Its capital is kuala lumpur. Before 1963 it was the union of malaya. It reorganised in 1948 as the federation of malaya, becoming independent from british malaya in 1957 and becoming malaysia in 1963 as a federation of malaya, sabah, sarawak, and singapore (which seceded in 1965). The form malay- probably derives from the tamil malay, mountain, with reference to its geography.