Malaysia at a Glance

Overview of Malaysia


Enter Malaysia – a tropical, Muslim-majority country in Southeast Asia where its citizens live in multi-racial and multi-religious harmony. Comprising of 13 states and three federal territories and headed by the only elected constitutional monarch in the world, Malaysia is a vibrant and diverse parliamentary democracy with a population of over 30 million, making is the world’s 44th most populous country in the world.

The federal territories host the nation’s largest city of Kuala Lumpur which houses the country’s largest commercial and financial institutions, as well as the federal administrative capital city of Putrajaya. While English is commonly spoken, the official and national language of Malaysia is Bahasa Melayu (Malay language). Malaysian English, a local vernacular more commonly known as Manglish, is a mish-mash of Malay, English, Mandarin and Tamil.

Living Environment

Home to a diverse group of races and religions, the melting pot that is Malaysia is reflected in the languages used on a daily basis, as well as its rich traditional and modern influences on the country’s architecture and gastronomical delights. A culinary haven for many, Malaysian food has influences from all around the region. Dishes from Malay, Chinese, Eurasian, Indian, Thai, Javanese, and Sumatran cultures often feature more frequently. From staples like rice and noodles to exotic meats, Malaysian cuisine has it all and no picky eater will go hungry. More commonly sought out are its street vendors who dish up mouth-watering fare but do ensure food is served piping hot to dissuade any upset stomach.

Places of InterestStateDistance from
Kuala Lumpur (KM)
Lenggong Valley – UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site (Archeology)Perak272
Melaka City – UNESCO World Heritage Site (Culture)Melaka145
George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site (Culture)Penang358
Gunung Mulu National Park – UNESCO Wrold Heritage Site (Nature)Sarawak1460
Kinabalu National Park – UNESCO World Heritage Site (Nature)Sabah1680
Peninsular Malaysia National Park – UNESCO World Heritage Site (Nature)Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu241
FRIM Selangor Forest Park – UNESCO World Heritage Site (Nature)Selangor20
Sipadan IslandsSabah1886
Genting HighlandsPahang55

Home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, amongst them, Kinabalu National Park boasts one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia. An ecotourism hotspot, the country is home to an estimated 20% of the world’s animal species. The Malaysian landscape is as varied as it is culturally diverse. Pristine beaches line its coast and its biodiversity-rich rainforest offer many adventures to those who venture forth.

Most of Malaysia’s inhabitants reside in major cities and many are a collection of Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences. The commercial capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to old colonial buildings, modern busy shopping districts such as Bukit Bintang and skyscrapers such as the iconic, 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers. Most of the population are settled in the centre of peninsula Malaysia, where 70% out of approximately 32.6 million Malaysians reside in developed cities.

Transportation throughout Malaysia reflects its status as an emerging economy. Paved roads and bustling highways link small towns to large cities. Rail transport is available in most parts of the country and comprises heavy rail (KTM) and rapid transit system such as MRT, LRT and Monorail (Rapid Rail). Heavy rail is mostly used for intercity passenger and cargo transport, while Rapid Rail are used for intra-city urban public transport. More rapid transit networks, including in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor and Sarawak, are currently under construction to improve the overall’s public transport system.

The main gateway to the rest of the world, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is also Malaysia’s busiest airport. In 2019, KLIA was the world’s 22nd-busiest airport in terms of total passenger traffic.


Malaysia has developed from a mainly agriculture- and primary industry-based economy to a successful exporter of electrical and electronic parts and appliances, chemicals, heavy machineries, as well as IT and financial services.

Data from the Malaysia Economic Monitor, World Bank shows that growth in Malaysia accelerated for the past few years with year-on-year growth projected at 4.5 percent for 2020.

Accelerated growth has been fueled by strengthening domestic demand, improved labour market conditions, and wage growth, as well as improved external demand for Malaysia’s manufactured products and commodities.

Study Environment

Home to some of the top universities in the region, notable tertiary institutions include the University of Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia. In 2020, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings ranked Universiti Malaya at the 70th place in the world, 13th place in Asia, 3rd in Southeast Asia and the top-ranked learning institution in Malaysia.

Technology has been a forte of Malaysia’s economy, and catering to that demand are institutions like Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). UTP, for example, places a strong emphasis on research and development as it strives to achieve the status of an internationally renowned research university.

As a culturally rich nation, Malaysia has produced regional- and internally-acclaimed stars in both the arts and sports. Notable figures include Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh, renowned designer Jimmy Choo, badminton star Lee Chong Wei, singer/songwriter like Siti Nurhaliza and Yuna. A thriving arts scene to wow all tastes, be it traditional dances or modern musical acts, Malaysia has it all.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Stay up to date upcoming events from Education Malaysia Global Services Community.

Sarah Azreen Abdul Samat

Sarah has over 22 years of experience in corporate finance transactions involving equity issuance, mergers and acquisitions, fundraising, corporate restructuring, and corporate valuation, amongst others. She began her career in investment banking with Malaysian International Merchant Bankers Berhad in 2001 after obtaining her professional qualifications from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Later in her career, she joined other investment banking institutions in Malaysia such as AmInvestment Bank Berhad, Maybank Investment Bank Berhad and RHB Investment Bank Berhad.

Presently, Sarah sits as Non-Independent Non-Executive Director of Reneuco Berhad and Independent Director of Pharmaniaga Berhad. She is currently the Executive Director of 3p Capital Advisers Sdn. Bhd., a company licensed with the Securities Commission Malaysia to provide advisory services to the capital market players.

Tuan Haji Ismail Bin Mohamed

Tuan Haji Ismail Mohamed sits on the Board of Director for Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS). He obtains his Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

Prior to sitting on the EMGS Board, he was also appointed to be the Board of Director to KEJORA from 2013 to 2018, and several companies such as Permodalan Darul Takzim Sdn Bhd, Perbadanan Usahawan Johor Sdn Bhd, PIJ Holding and Ranhil SAJ Sdn Bhd. Tuan Haji Ismail Mohamed also co-founded Pertama.

He started his career by setting up a company and being the founder of JYBB Enterprise. His career came to prominence when he became the co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Pertama Polyerethane Technology (M) Sdn Bhd and subsequently became the Special Officer to the Minister of Education in 2013.

Ismail Mohamed is acknowledged for his expertise in Agriculture and Agro-based industry, landing him being appointed as the Chairman of the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Committee of the Johor State, the Chairman of Agro KEJORA and the Chairman of the Johor State Agriculture, Agro-based industry, Entrepreneurial Development and Cooperatives Committee.