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1 . Malaysia     Malaysia
Malaysia is a large country split into two land areas: Peninsular Malaysia and east Malaysia. The latter, comprising the states of Sarawak and Sabah, is located along the northern and western edge of the island of Borneo. All of these areas are located on the Sunda Shelf, although the edge of this continental shelf comes relatively close to the land around Sabah.

Although Peninsular Malaysia has a relatively high relief its coastline, particularly in the south and west, is dominated by low-lying land and mangroves or former mangrove areas. Offshore a number of small islands are important for reef development. These include the Pulau Langkawi group in the northwest, Pulau Semblian in the west, and the Pulau Tioman and Pulau Redang groups in the east. East Malaysia also has a very high relief, although in the west there is a generally wide coastal strip with extensive wetlands and mangrove development. Further east, and particularly in Sabah, the coastline is more complex and indented, with a generally narrow coastal strip. Again, a number of offshore island groups are important for reef development, particularly around Sabah.

There is relatively little reef development along the mainland coast of Peninsular Malaysia, but reefs occur around all the offshore islands. Conditions for reef development are generally poor in the Strait of Malacca, however there are small low diversity reefs on the mainland close to Port Dickson. There are also reported to be some minor mainland fringing communities on the east coast between Terengganu and Chukai.

Reef development is highly restricted off the coast of Sarawak, although there are some reefs around the offshore islands of Pulau Talang and Pulau Satar. The most extensive reef development in the country is in the waters around Sabah, which is the region with the highest diversity and optimal conditions for reef development. This is close to the global center of coral reef diversity. Around the southeast coast there are extensive fringing reefs and a small barrier reef. Offshore from the town of Semporna lie a number of islands of volcanic origin with extensive reef developments. Just off the continental shelf lies Pulau Sipadan, a small coral cay with a surrounding reef with high coral cover and diversity. Further north, onshore reef development is restricted, but there are fringing reefs around the Turtle Islands. Off the north and west coasts, and particularly around the offshore islands, there are significant areas of fringing reefs. Over 200 kilometers off the west coast of Sabah there is a coral atoll, Layang Layang, with high biodiversity, although coral cover on the outer slopes was only recorded at 29 percent. Overall some 346 species of scleractinian coral have been identified in Malaysian waters. The impact of the 1998 bleaching appears to have been highly varied, but no widespread mortalities were recorded. At the same time, declines in coral cover were noted throughout eastern Malaysia in the decade up to 1999, linked to various anthropogenic impacts.
Source: Spalding, M.D., C. Ravilious and E.P. Green , 2001 , World Atlas of Coral Reefs . Prepared at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. University of California Press,Berkeley,USA.421p. (See Document)

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