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23 February, 2021updated 30 Oct 2021 05:04

Investing in Malaysia: what you need to know

All of the key data and information needed when considering investing in Malaysia.

By Carmen

As of 2021, Malaysia has a population of 33.4 million, making it the 44th largest country in the world by this measure. There are 51.4% males and 48.6% females.

There are 14.9 million people employed in Malaysia, with an unemployment rate of 4.3% – 503,474 people.


Malaysia is the 34th largest economy in the world with a GDP of $363.9bn. Malaysia’s GDP has grown by 47% between 2010 and 2021 and is expected to grow by 32% by 2025.

As of 2021 there are 1.4 million students in tertiary education in Malaysia, with 2.7 million students in secondary and 3.1 million in primary education. Malaysia spent 4.7% of its GDP on education in 2019.

Malaysia ranked 12th in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report (2020). In the 2019 report it finished 15th. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2019), Malaysia finished 27th, after ranking 27th in 2018.

Public healthcare expenditure totalled $7.1bn and private healthcare expenditure equalled $7.1bn in 2018.

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The largest urban areas in Malaysia are Kuala Lumpur (6.6 million people), Penang (2.6 million) and Johor Bahru (1.7 million).

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