Forget about the negative news you may have read about Malaysia in Ozzie papers! They are by and large highly distorted.
On the other hand, take the pretty-picture reports in government handouts with a pinch of salt. Yes the beaches are white and the seas are blue, but they fail to mention about the empty sardine tin.
Having stayed in Australia and elsewhere, but now back in ol' Malaysia, I can assure you this country is as safe as anywhere else.
It has its fair share of trouble makers but you've got to be somewhat unlucky to bump into them.
Bone up on a fair spread of material on the country and you'll have a balanced and truer picture than otherwise.
Lonely Planet is a good start if somewhat dry. Try a sampling of Malaysian newspapers available at your main public library. You may not be able to relate to the news but it will provide the colour.
Then actually being here will round off your knowledge, experience and, hopefully, enjoyment.