Introduction to Malaysia (Part 3) – Economy, Healthcare, Education

Developing Malaysia

Imports and Exports

Rich in natural resources, Malaysia has moved on from relying strongly on the export of raw materials such as rubber and tin in the 70s, to a multi-sector economy these days based on services and manufacturing.

Guess what? The semiconductor in your computer was probably made in Malaysia.

November 2017 exports at all time high of RM83.5b [Source: The Star]


Our economy is also one of the most competitive in the world, higher than countries like China, South Korea, Qatar and Mexico. 

We are also very competitive in terms of corruption, ranking 62nd out of 180 countries. We have our very own (ex) number 1 official to thank for that. The country’s initial plan was to strive to beat the Philippines and maybe even compete among the African countries next, but we’ll see. A new government just got elected, and hope is in the air for a massive cleanup.

[Source: Zunar Kartunis]
Thankfully, in spite all the corruption that is going on, Malaysia is one of the wealthiest and most developed in South East Asia. Our infrastructure of roads, highways, railways, ports and air travel are one of the best in the region, making it a great place to live and invest in.

I’d like to point out, however, that the budget for infrastructure development unfortunately does not cover the cost to fill the pothole in front of my family’s apartment building in Kota Kinabalu.

Healthcare in Malaysia

With healthcare services ranking as among the best in the world (no kidding), it has become a favorite destination for medical tourists. Not only do healthcare services rank as the best, they are also a lot cheaper than most developed countries. Citizens also pay next to nothing for public healthcare.

A whopping 25% cheaper relative to the cost of healthcare in the US [Source: Suraj Kumar]
Healthcare Cost in Malaysia [Source: Astro Awani]

Malaysia’s Education System

The education system in Malaysia is comprised of non-compulsory kindergarten education followed by six years of compulsory primary education, and five years of optional secondary education. Schools in the primary education system are divided into two categories: national primary schools, which teach in Malay, and vernacular schools, which teach in Chinese or Tamil. Secondary education is conducted for five years. In the final year of secondary education, students sit for the Malaysian Certificate of Education examination.

The problem with the education system in Malaysia, is that it is often changing, most notably after each general election. Once a new Education Minister comes along, he comes up with his own Great Big Plan and disrupts practices started four years ago, so no one sees any long term improvements.

Random piece of information: Students mostly adorn a uniform, like so. We don’t dress our kids in everyday clothes for school.

Slightly more difficult to play hooky – NOT. [Source: Tallypress]
Education in Malaysia, while lacking a few steps behind its neighbour and main ASEAN competition Singapore, has been allocated a massive RM56 billion, twice that allocated for education by other ASEAN nations. Plans are in place to transform the nation into an advanced high-income economy in line with the National Transformation 2050 (TN50).

Read on to find out more about the people of Malaysia.

Interested to find out about the cost of living in Malaysia? Check this out, then.

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