Malaysian universities are making their mark in leading university rankings. Source: Mohd Rasfan/AFP

If you’re still exploring your study abroad options, it’s about time you consider Malaysia. Malaysian universities are making their mark in leading university rankings. The country is also the preferred choice for international students to further their studies, said Malaysia’s Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad.

She was quoted saying by Bernama, the country’s national news agency, that although the number of applications to further studies in Malaysia has declined slightly following the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation improved in 2021 as the number rose again to up to 32%.

“The situation was strengthened when Kuala Lumpur was ranked second in the QS Top Universities’ Most Affordable City for Students’ for the year 2018 and 2019. In other words, the tuition costs are affordable,” she said at Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) 10th-anniversary dinner on Monday (June 27).

Source: Mohd Rasfan/AFP

Malaysian universities: A world-class education

Ahmad said other factors that could attract and encourage more international students to study in the country include its quality of education. “QS World University Rankings in its report a few weeks ago recorded that four of our universities are listed in the top 200 in the world, and one of them — Universiti Malaya — is in the top 100,” she said. 

Four Malaysian public universities were featured in the top 150 in the QS World University Rankings 2023: Universiti Malaya (70th), Universiti Putra Malaysia (123rd), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (joint 129) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (joint 143). The highest-ranking private university is Taylor’s University (=284). 

For the first time, a total of 24 Malaysian universities were listed in this year’s ranking. “This will definitely increase outsiders’ confidence in the quality of higher education in our country,” she said.

malaysian universities

Malaysia is split between the mainland peninsula and the island of Borneo, each teeming with beaches, wildlife, rainforest and sites of natural wonder to explore. Source: Mohd Rasfan/AFP

Improved management of international students

Education Malaysia Services (EMGS) chief executive officer Radzlan Jalaludin was quoted saying in the report that the company was committed to achieving greater success in its efforts to promote Malaysia as the higher education hub of choice globally.

Since its inception in 2012 until the present day, it said EMGS has improved its services as the main body managing the movement of international students in Malaysia, including facilitating the visa management process.

“The achievement can be seen by the number of applications which has surpassed the target for 2021, where a total of 40,000 applications were received from international students to further their studies at Malaysian IPTs [institutions of higher learning],” he was quoted saying. 

“This is indeed a great success for EMGS and we will continue to support the government’s aspiration to meet the target of 250,000 international students by 2025.”

More international students are flocking to Malaysian universities

EMGS previously said public and private Malaysian universities saw a total of 11,161 international applicants for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme in 2021. Compared to 2020, the application numbers have almost doubled, with only 6,348 applications received in that year. 

“Over the recent years, Malaysia has become the education hub of choice for international students seeking higher education,” read EMGS’ statement. “It is interesting to know that a relatively large number of international students are currently pursuing PhD in Malaysia.” 

Source: Mohd Rasfan/AFP

Its capital was listed as one of the best student cities by QS

Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, was ranked =31 in QS’s Best Student Cities 2022. It is home to the famous Petronas Twin Towers — the tallest twin towers in the world — while the cost of living is also said to be among the cheapest in the region, according to data by iPrice Group Sdn Bhd. 

Whether you seek a luxurious lifestyle to more affordable living, Kuala Lumpur offers the best of both worlds.

Cheap eats are widely available, while many expats are also happy to call the city home. An InterNations survey — Expat City Ranking 2021 — ranked Kuala Lumpur as the World’s Best City for expatriates. 

Malaysia also has plenty of tourist attractions, from beaches to jungles and bazaars. Its location makes it convenient to travel to neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand.