Supporting The Public Sector of Malaysia



Public spending on education was 5.1 per cent of GDP in 2010. There are six years of compulsory education starting at the age of six. Primary school comprises six years and secondary seven. Some 99 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2009). Literacy among people aged 15–24 is 98 per cent (2010).

The tertiary education sector comprises 20 public universities, 22 polytechnics, 37 community colleges, and many private universities and colleges. The longest-established universities are the University of Malaya and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in Skudai. Open and distance education is provided by the Open University Malaysia, which was established as a private university by a consortium of 11 public universities in 2000. The female–male ratio for gross enrolment in tertiary education is 1.30:1 (2010).

In January 2009, three organisations in Malaysia were selected as finalists in the 2009 Commonwealth Education Good Practice Awards.

In 2010, Malaysia launched its fully integrated private four-year graduate medical school and teaching hospital – Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine. The university was formed under a public–private partnership initiated by the Public Private Partnership Unit at the Prime Minister’s Department and Academic Medical Centre.



Public spending on health was two per cent of GDP in 2010. There are 32 medical schools in Malaysia (2014). Infant mortality was six per 1,000 live births in 2011 (73 in 1960).

Malaysia has a well-established and efficient health sector with many public and private health care providers. The public health care programme is subsidised by the government and is available to everyone; as such the majority of the Malaysian population uses it. The private, commercial health care sector targets well-off members of the population. Malaysia is a popular destination for medical tourism.

The domestic pharmaceutical industry consists of manufacturers engaged in the process of drug production including research, development and licensing. The Malaysian Organisation of Pharmaceutical Industries is the key sector body and the Drug Control Authority regulates the sector.



There are 93,110 km of roads, 80 per cent of which are paved. A good network exists in Peninsular Malaysia, including a motorway running from the north to the south of the region. Private groups have built toll motorways, such as parts of the North–South Expressway. Public–private partnerships have been widely implemented for transport infrastructure development in Malaysia over the last few decades, with many more currently under way or planned for the near future. Examples include the implementation of several build–operate–transfer type projects on roads throughout the country and the planned construction of a 400-km high-speed rail network between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Ports: Ferry services run between ports on the peninsula and link the peninsula with Sabah and Sarawak. River transport is well developed in the east and the only form of transport in remote areas.

Rail: There is a railway network of 1,665 km operated by the state-owned Malaysian Railway (or Keretapi Tanah Melayu) in Peninsular Malaysia, linking with Singapore in the south and Thailand to the north. Sabah has a coastal line, but Sarawak has no railway. Kuala Lumpur’s light railway system, also state-owned, began operations in the late 1990s. It combines underground and raised tracks and covers the entire city, connecting the city centre with airports and suburbs.

Airports: The new Kuala Lumpur International Airport at Sepang, 55 km to the south of Kuala Lumpur, was completed in 1998, in time for the Commonwealth Games. Other international airports are at Penang, 16 km south of George Town; Kota Kinabalu in Sabah; and Kuching in Sarawak.