PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is home to one of the strongest higher education systems in Asia, according to the latest QS University Rankings: Asia 2023.

The latest edition of the ranking sees the country having the highest concentration of top 50 and top 100 universities in Asia.

Overall, however, its ranking has declined, with more declines than gains among the 36 ranked establishments. Of these, 12 improved, five remained stable and 19 decreased.

Leading the pack is Universiti Malaya (UM) which ranks 9th and is also the second most reputable international research institution in Asia.

It is also the most popular university among international employers and scholars, according to QS reputation surveys.

It ranks among Asia’s top 10 for employer reputation and top 20 for academic reputation.

UM also produces some of the most impactful research in Malaysia, with its work on liver and heart disease attracting particular interest.

Next in the rankings are Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 27th and 30th place respectively.

They are followed by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) which fell from 35th to 32nd place and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), which fell one place from 38th to 39th this year.

Taylor University is the top private university in Malaysia, having climbed four places to rank 49th.

Other private universities are Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) (68th), UCSI University (72nd), Sunway University (122nd), Universiti Tenaga Nasional (144th), Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (174th) and Management and Science University (177th) among the top 200 in Asia.

The 15th edition of the ranking notes that Malaysian institutions collaborate intensely in terms of international research, but still struggle in terms of research quality and impact.

Malaysia is intensely collaborative in terms of cross-border research, with three universities in Asia’s top 10 for international research network, more than any other location in this ranking.

UPM’s research is supported by the highest staff expertise in Malaysia, according to the Staff with PhD indicator, in which it ranks 27th regionally.

Malaysia also has one of the most cosmopolitan cohorts of international students in Asia, indicating that it is an attractive study destination.

QS senior vice president Ben Sowter said Malaysia should invest in expanding its research capacity and reform and simplify its immigration policy and visa rules to attract more international faculty.

“The expansion and internationalization of the higher education system will support Malaysia’s next stage of development.

“As Malaysia transitions to a high-income economy, to remain competitive, economic growth will need to be fueled by technology and innovation,” he said in a statement on Tuesday (November 8th).

For the first time in eight years, a Singaporean university does not rank first and Singapore does not dominate the top three.

Instead, Peking University in China ranks first, followed by National University of Singapore and Tsinghua University, China.

Assessing the region’s institutions on the basis of academic and employer recognition, research, resources and internationalization, this year’s Asia ranking is the largest ever, with 760 universities.

The full list can be viewed at