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Welcome to the Education in Malaysia Wikia!

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"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." John Dewey

Hello there!

Welcome to our wiki on Education in Malaysia! The purpose of this wiki is to understand Malaysia as a country and to learn more about its education system. The wiki is intended not only to fulfill the requirements of our course on Education in Islamic Asia, but it also aims to be an interactive space for contributions that aid our understanding of the role of Islam in informal and formal education. 

We hope that you will enjoy our wiki, as we gradually begin to understand how education and religion shape the lives of learners and students in Malaysia. 

Jennifer and Zinhle


Watch this brief tourism video to get a feel of the richness and diversity of Malaysia.

Malaysia Truly Asia TVC 2015 Global-0

Malaysia Truly Asia TVC 2015 Global-0

Now visit our page on the Geography of Malaysia to learn more Malaysia place in the world.

Quick Navigation: Our Pages

Malaysia: Geography and Demographics

Schooling in Malaysia

News and Recent Events

Malaysian Diaspora

Malaysia estimates that there are currently 785,000 Malaysians working overseas, the majority of whom are in Singapore. The chart below shows the distribution of the Malaysian diaspora.

Tim 2

Malaysian Diaspora in Australia

Australia has the second largest Malaysian diaspora after Singapore. The 2011 Australian census recorded 116,196 Malaysian-born people living in Australia. This number does not include Australian-born children of Malaysian immigrants.

Prior to the 1970s, the numbers of Malaysians in Australia remained small due to heavy restrictions on immigration of non-Europeans to Australia under the Immigration Restriction Act, although a small number of students did arrive post-World War II under the Colombo Plan. After the repeal of the immigration restrictions in 1973, the number of Malaysians arriving in Australia began to rise rapidly as shown in the graph of the number of Malaysians in Australia below


Hugo, 2011

As data from the 2011 Australian census shows below, the majority of Malaysian immigrants to Australia are of Chinese ancestry, with only 13% identifying as ethnic Malay. Most speak Mandarin or Cantonese at home and identify as Buddhist or Catholic with only 6% identifying as Muslim. About half have a university degree and are employed as skilled professionals.


The reason for the large percentage of ethnic Chinese in the Malaysian diaspora in Australia is related to Malaysia's affirmative action policies for bumiputeras. Because bumiputeras are given preference in university entrance exams and hiring, non-bumiputeras are more motivated to seek better opportunities abroad.

Malaysian Diaspora in the United Kingdom

Malaysia and the UK have maintained strong relations in the areas of trade, investment, science and innovation, education and defense cooperation. Since the 1970s, there have been a significant number of Malaysian students studying in universities across the UK. In 2008, Malaysian students were the fourth largest group of non-EU foreign students in the UK. In addition, there are over 80 tertiary institutions based in Malaysia where students can obtain tertiary qualifications, either fully or partly delivered in Malaysia. Many Malaysians have settled in the UK after their tertiary education, particularly graduates in law, medicine and engineering who are recruited by companies in the UK.

The 1990s saw a second wave of Malaysian migration to the UK due to economic reasons. This is tied to the Asian financial crisis of 1997, which crippled many economies in the region.

According to the International Organization for Migration, gathering information about the size of the Malaysian diaspora in the UK has proved challenging because of a lack of up-to date statistics about the number of foreign nationals in the UK. The figures cited in the 2001 census data were approximate and based on self-identification. Malaysians often identify themselves primarily by race (Malay, Chinese or Indian) as opposed to nationality. Nevertheless, in 2001, the UK census listed 49 883 Malaysians living in the UK. There is no doubt that these figures have risen significantly over the years.

Figure: Breakdown According to Age (2001)

Age Citizens
0-14 2 416
15-29 12 766
30-44 16 738
45-59 12 936
60-74 3 958
75 or older 1 069

In 2013, the Office for National Statistics estimated that there were about 59 000 Malaysian-born immigrants living in the UK.

UK Committed to Reducing Overall Number of Immigrants

&quot;When thinking about government policy, which of the following people do you think of as an immigrant&quot;

Like many states in the international system, the UK government has expressed a renewed commitment to reducing the overall number of immigrants in the country. In 2014, there was widespread debate about whether or not international students should be accounted for as immigrants. A study conducted by Universities UK and British Future revealed that the British public do not view international students as immigrants and the government should remove international students from the category. The research poses a challenge to government because international students are the largest group of migrants from outside the UK counted in the government's net migration figures, representing around a third of all people coming to Britain. Yet only 22% of the British public consider international students immigrants at all.

Blog Article: Why I joined the Malaysian Diaspora (Malaysian-born, UK-Educated, US Resident)


Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011). Community information summary: Malaysian born. Community Relations Section of DIAC

Hugo, G. (2011) Malaysian migration to Australia. Malaysian Journal of Economic Studies. 48 (2), 147-174.

International Organization for Migration: Malaysia Mapping Exercise, London 2009.

UK Census 2011, Data.

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