Malaysia - Economic Indicators

Asia-Pacific Daily Briefing: Malaysia's Softer Start to 2019

May 16, 2019

Download the full Asia-Pacific Daily Briefing Malaysia's economy endured a broad-based slowdown in the March quarter, as GDP growth cooled to 4.5% y/y, from 4.7% in the December quarter. On an expenditure basis, private consumption—which accounts for around 55% of GDP—cooled to 7.6% y/y, after printing at 8.4% in the fourth quarter and 8.9% in the third. Household spending has retreated since the second half of 2018, coinciding with the...

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GDP Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Private Consumption 2019 Q1 215,170 212,434 Mil. MYR, NSA Quarterly
Nominal Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2019 Q1 84,476 83,903 Mil. MYR, NSA Quarterly
Nominal Gross Domestic Product 2019 Q1 361,893 379,383 Mil. MYR, NSA Quarterly
Government Consumption 2019 Q1 39,556 54,521 Mil. MYR, NSA Quarterly
Real Private Consumption 2018 Q4 174,550 179,339 Mil. 2010 MYR, NSA Quarterly
Real Gross Domestic Product 2018 Q4 322,596 311,704 Mil. 2010 MYR, NSA Quarterly
Real Government Consumption 2018 Q4 49,985 37,369 Mil. 2010 MYR, NSA Quarterly
Real Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2018 Q4 72,420 76,819 Mil. 2010 MYR, NSA Quarterly
Real Investment 2017 298,783,000,000 281,316,000,000 NCU Annual
Investment 2017 344,369,000,000 318,285,000,000 NCU Annual
Price Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Consumer Price Index (CPI) May 2019 121.4 121.1 2010=100, NSA Monthly
Producer Price Index (PPI) Mar 2018 106.29 106.69 2010=100, NSA Monthly
Wholesale Price Index 2016 101.13 102.21 Index 2010 = 100 Annual
Labor Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Wage & Salaries Apr 2019 3,995 4,060 Mil. MYR, NSA Monthly
Unemployment Mar 2019 521.3 516.4 Ths. #, NSA Monthly
Unemployment Rate Mar 2019 3.4 3.3 %, NSA Monthly
Labor Force Employment Mar 2019 15,035 15,026 Ths. #, NSA Monthly
Labor Force Mar 2019 15,556 15,543 Ths. #, NSA Monthly
Agriculture Employment 2017 1,700,710 1,718,845 # Annual
Trade Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Balance of Goods Apr 2019 10,856 14,384 Mil. MYR, NSA Monthly
Exports of Goods Apr 2019 85,201 84,063 Mil. MYR, NSA Monthly
Imports of Goods Apr 2019 74,345 69,678 Mil. MYR, NSA Monthly
Current Account Balance 2019 Q1 16,387 10,835 Mil. MYR, NSA Quarterly
Imports of Goods and Services 2019 Q1 207,839 232,913 Mil. MYR, NSA Quarterly
Exports of Goods and Services 2019 Q1 239,852 261,889 Mil. MYR, NSA Quarterly
Real Net Exports 2019 Q1 29,793 25,978 Mil. 2015 MYR, NSA Quarterly
Net Exports 2019 Q1 32,013 28,976 Mil. MYR, NSA Quarterly
Real Exports of Goods and Services 2018 Q4 224,884 218,949 Mil. 2010 MYR, NSA Quarterly
Real Imports of Goods and Services 2018 Q4 197,176 194,318 Mil. 2010 MYR, NSA Quarterly
Government Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Gross External Debt 2018 Q2 0 0 USD, NSA Quarterly
Markets Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Stock Market Index 25 Jun 2019 1,676 1,676 Index, NSA Business Daily
Monetary Policy Rate 2016 3 3.25 % - End of period Annual
Consumer Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Retail Sales 2016 403,816,152 371,499,833 Ths. MYR, NSA Annual
Business Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Real Change in Inventories 2019 Q1 -5,059 -1,995 Mil. 2015 MYR, NSA Quarterly
Change in Inventories 2019 Q1 -9,322 -451 Mil. MYR, NSA Quarterly
Industrial Production Feb 2018 109.46 114.54 Index 2015=100, SA Monthly
Demographics Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Population 2018 32,385 32,022 Ths. # Annual
Net Migration 2017 250,000 # Annual
Birth Rate 2017 15.89 16.1 # per Ths. pop., NSA Annual
Death Rate 2017 5.25 5.1 # per Ths. pop., NSA Annual



During the late 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain established colonies and protectorates in the area of current Malaysia; these were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula except Singapore formed the Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957. Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore, as well as Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo, joined the Federation. The first several years of the country's independence were marred by a communist insurgency, Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's withdrawal in 1965. During the 22-year term of Prime Minister MAHATHIR bin Mohamad (1981-2003), Malaysia was successful in diversifying its economy from dependence on exports of raw materials to the development of manufacturing, services, and tourism. Prime Minister Mohamed NAJIB bin Abdul Razak (in office since April 2009) has continued these pro-business policies.


Southeastern Asia, peninsula bordering Thailand and northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia, Brunei, and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates:
2 30 N, 112 30 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
total: 329,847 sq km
land: 328,657 sq km
water: 1,190 sq km
country comparison to the world: 68
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than New Mexico
Area comparison map:
Land boundaries:
total: 2,742 km
border countries (3): Brunei 266 km, Indonesia 1,881 km, Thailand 595 km
4,675 km (Peninsular Malaysia 2,068 km, East Malaysia 2,607 km)
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation; specified boundary in the South China Sea
tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons
coastal plains rising to hills and mountains
mean elevation: 419 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Gunung Kinabalu 4,095 m
Natural resources:
tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, bauxite
Land use:
agricultural land: 23.2%
arable land 2.9%; permanent crops 19.4%; permanent pasture 0.9%
forest: 62%
other: 14.8% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land:
3,800 sq km (2012)
Population - distribution:
a highly uneven distribution with over 80% of the population residing on the Malay Peninsula
Natural hazards:
flooding; landslides; forest fires
Environment - current issues:
air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea

People & Society

31,381,992 (July 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
noun: Malaysian(s)
adjective: Malaysian
Ethnic groups:
Bumiputera 61.7% (Malays and indigenous peoples, including Orang Asli, Dayak, Anak Negeri), Chinese 20.8%, Indian 6.2%, other 0.9%, non-citizens 10.4% (2017 est.)
Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai
note: Malaysia has 134 living languages - 112 indigenous languages and 22 non-indigenous languages; in East Malaysia there are several indigenous languages; most widely spoken are Iban and Kadazan
Muslim (official) 61.3%, Buddhist 19.8%, Christian 9.2%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 1.3%, other 0.4%, none 0.8%, unspecified 1% (2010 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.83% (male 4,493,084/female 4,238,991)
15-24 years: 16.81% (male 2,677,834/female 2,598,958)
25-54 years: 41% (male 6,507,499/female 6,358,762)
55-64 years: 8.27% (male 1,316,331/female 1,277,558)
65 years and over: 6.1% (male 907,850/female 1,005,125) (2017 est.)
population pyramid:
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 44.6
youth dependency ratio: 36.1
elderly dependency ratio: 8.5
potential support ratio: 11.8 (2015 est.)
Median age:
total: 28.5 years
male: 28.2 years
female: 28.8 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
Population growth rate:
1.37% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
Birth rate:
19.1 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
Death rate:
5.1 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
Net migration rate:
-0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
Population distribution:
a highly uneven distribution with over 80% of the population residing on the Malay Peninsula
urban population: 76% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 2.19% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population:
KUALA LUMPUR (capital) 6.837 million; Johor Bahru 912,000 (2015)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
Maternal mortality ratio:
40 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
Infant mortality rate:
total: 12.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 14.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.2 years
male: 72.4 years
female: 78.2 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
Total fertility rate:
2.1 children born/woman (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
52.2% (2014)
Health expenditures:
4.2% of GDP (2014)
country comparison to the world: 163
Physicians density:
1.53 physicians/1,000 population (2015)
Hospital bed density:
1.9 beds/1,000 population (2015)
Drinking water source:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 93% of population
total: 98.2% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 7% of population
total: 1.8% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
urban: 96.1% of population
rural: 95.9% of population
total: 96% of population
urban: 3.9% of population
rural: 4.1% of population
total: 4% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.4% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
97,000 (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
7,000 (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
15.6% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 125
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
12.4% (2015)
country comparison to the world: 58
Education expenditures:
4.8% of GDP (2016)
country comparison to the world: 46
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.6%
male: 96.2%
female: 93.2% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 13 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2015)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 10.7%
male: 9.9%
female: 11.8% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124


Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Malaysia
local long form: none
local short form: Malaysia
former: Federation of Malaya
etymology: the name means "Land of the Malays"
Government type:
federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
note: all Peninsular Malaysian states have hereditary rulers (commonly referred to as sultans) except Melaka (Malacca) and Pulau Pinang (Penang); those two states along with Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia have governors appointed by government; powers of state governments are limited by federal constitution; under terms of federation, Sabah and Sarawak retain certain constitutional prerogatives (e.g., right to maintain their own immigration controls)
name: Kuala Lumpur; note - nearby Putrajaya is referred to as a federal government administrative center but not the capital; Parliament meets in Kuala Lumpur
geographic coordinates: 3 10 N, 101 42 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
13 states (negeri-negeri, singular - negeri); Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu; and 1 federal territory (Wilayah Persekutuan) with 3 components, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, and Putrajaya
31 August 1957 (from the UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day (or Merdeka Day), 31 August (1957) (independence of Malaya); Malaysia Day, 16 September (1963) (formation of Malaysia)
history: previous 1948; latest drafted 21 February 1957, effective 27 August 1957
amendments: proposed as a “bill” by Parliament; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Parliament membership in the bill’s second and third readings; a number of constitutional sections are excluded from amendment or repeal; amended many times, last in 2010 (2017)
Legal system:
mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Federal Court at request of supreme head of the federation
International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Malaysia
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 out 12 years preceding application
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: King MUHAMMAD V (formerly known as Tuanku Muhammad Faris Petra) (selected on 14 October 2016; installed on 13 December 2016); note - the position of the king is primarily ceremonial, but he is the final arbiter on the appointment of the prime minister
head of government: Prime Minister MAHATHIR Mohamad (since 10 May 2018); Deputy Prime Minister WAN AZIZAH Wan Ismail (since 10 May 2018)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among members of Parliament with the consent of the king
elections/appointments: king elected by and from the hereditary rulers of 9 states for a 5-year term; election is on a rotational basis among rulers of the 9 states; election last held on 14 October 2016 (next to be held in 2021); prime minister designated from among members of the House of Representatives; following legislative elections, the leader who commands support of the majority of members in the House becomes prime minister
election results: Mohamed NAJIB bin Abdul Najib Razak (UMNO) sworn in as prime minister for second term on 3 April 2009
Legislative branch:
description: bicameral Parliament or Parlimen consists of the Senate or Dewan Negara (70 seats; 44 members appointed by the king and 26 indirectly elected by 13 state legislatures; members serve 3-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Dewan Rakyat (222 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held on 9 May 2018 (next to be held in 2023)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party/coalition - People's Alliance 45.6%, BN 33.8%, PAS 16.9%, WARISAN 2.3%, other 1.4%; seats by party/coalition - People's Alliance 113, BN 79, PAS 18, WARISAN 8, STAR 1, independent 3
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Federal Court (consists of the chief justice, president of the Court of Appeal, chief justice of the High Court of Malaya, chief judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak and 7 judges); note - Malaysia has a dual judicial hierarchy of civil and religious (sharia) courts
judge selection and term of office: Federal Court justices appointed by the monarch on advice of the prime minister; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; Sessions Court; Magistrates' Court
Political parties and leaders:
National Front (Barisan Nasional) or BN: Malaysian Chinese Association (Persatuan China Malaysia) or MCA [LIOW Tiong Lai]
Malaysian Indian Congress (Kongres India Malaysia) or MIC [S. SUBRAMANIAM]
Progressive Democratic Party or PDP [TIONG King Sing]
Sarawak People's Party (Parti Rakyat Sarawak) or PRS [James MASING]
Sarawak United People's Party (Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sarawak) or SUPP [Dr. SIM Kui Hian]
United Malays National Organization or UMNO [Ahmad ZAHID Hamidi]
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organization (Pertubuhan Pasko Momogun Kadazan Dusun Bersatu) or UPKO [Wilfred Madius TANGAU]
United Sabah Party (Parti Bersatu Sabah) or PBS [Joseph PAIRIN Kitingan]
United Sabah People's (Party Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah) or PBRS [Joseph KURUP]
United Traditional Bumiputera Party (Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersata) or PBB [
Coalition of Hope (Pakatan Harapan) or PH (formerly the People's Alliance):: Democratic Action Party (Parti Tindakan Demokratik) or DAP [TAN Kok Wai]
Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia) or PPBM [MAHATHIR Mohamad]
National Trust Party (Parti Amanah Negara) or AMANAH [Mohamad SABU]
People's Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) or PKR [WAN AZIZAH Wan Ismail]
Other: Homeland Solidarity Party or STAR [Jeffrey KATINGAN]
Islamic Party of Malaysia (Parti Islam se Malaysia) or PAS [Abdul HADI Awang]
Sabah Heritage Party or WARISAN [Shafie APDAL]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Bar Council
BERSIH (electoral reform coalition)
ISMA (Muslim NGO)
PERKASA (defense of Malay rights)
other: religious groups; women's groups; youth groups
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador ZULHASNAN Rafique (since 9 January 2017)
chancery: 3516 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 572-9700
FAX: [1] (202) 572-9882
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Kamala Shirin LAKHDIR (since 21 February 2017)
embassy: 376 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur
mailing address: US Embassy Kuala Lumpur, APO AP 96535-8152
telephone: [60] (3) 2168-5000
FAX: [60] (3) 2142-2207
Flag description:
14 equal horizontal stripes of red (top) alternating with white (bottom); there is a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a yellow crescent and a yellow 14-pointed star; the flag is often referred to as Jalur Gemilang (Stripes of Glory); the 14 stripes stand for the equal status in the federation of the 13 member states and the federal government; the 14 points on the star represent the unity between these entities; the crescent is a traditional symbol of Islam; blue symbolizes the unity of the Malay people and yellow is the royal color of Malay rulers
note: the design is based on the flag of the US
National symbol(s):
tiger, hibiscus; national colors: gold, black
National anthem:
name: "Negaraku" (My Country)
lyrics/music: collective, led by Tunku ABDUL RAHMAN/Pierre Jean DE BERANGER
note: adopted 1957; full version only performed in the presence of the king; the tune, which was adopted from a popular French melody titled "La Rosalie," was originally the anthem of Perak, one of Malaysia's 13 states


Economy - overview:
Malaysia, an upper middle-income country, has transformed itself since the 1970s from a producer of raw materials into a multi-sector economy. Under current Prime Minister NAJIB, Malaysia is attempting to achieve high-income status by 2020 and to move further up the value-added production chain by attracting investments in high technology, knowledge-based industries and services. NAJIB's Economic Transformation Program is a series of projects and policy measures intended to accelerate the country's economic growth. The government has also taken steps to liberalize some services sub-sectors. Malaysia is vulnerable to a fall in world commodity prices or a general slowdown in global economic activity.
The NAJIB administration is continuing efforts to boost domestic demand and reduce the economy's dependence on exports. Domestic demand continues to anchor economic growth, supported mainly by private consumption, which accounts for 53% of GDP. Nevertheless, exports - particularly of electronics, oil and gas, and palm oil - remain a significant driver of the economy. In 2015, gross exports of goods and services were equivalent to 73% of GDP. The oil and gas sector supplied about 22% of government revenue in 2015, down significantly from prior years amid a decline in commodity prices and diversification of government revenues. Malaysia has embarked on a fiscal reform program aimed at achieving a balanced budget by 2020, including rationalization of subsidies and the 2015 introduction of a 6% value added tax. Sustained low commodity prices throughout the period not only strained government finances, but also shrunk Malaysia’s current account surplus and weighed heavily on the Malaysian ringgit, which was among the region’s worst performing currencies during 2013-17. The ringgit hit new lows following the US presidential election amid a broader selloff of emerging market assets.
Bank Negara Malaysia (the central bank) maintains adequate foreign exchange reserves; a well-developed regulatory regime has limited Malaysia's exposure to riskier financial instruments, although it remains vulnerable to volatile global capital flows. In order to increase Malaysia’s competitiveness, Prime Minister NAJIB raised possible revisions to the special economic and social preferences accorded to ethnic Malays under the New Economic Policy of 1970, but retreated in 2013 after he encountered significant opposition from Malay nationalists and other vested interests. In September 2013 NAJIB launched the new Bumiputra Economic Empowerment Program, policies that favor and advance the economic condition of ethnic Malays.
Malaysia signed the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement in February 2016, although the future of the TPP remains unclear following the US withdrawal from the agreement. Along with nine other ASEAN members, Malaysia established the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, which aims to advance regional economic integration.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$926.1 billion (2017 est.)
$878.4 billion (2016 est.)
$842.8 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 27
GDP (official exchange rate):
$309.9 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.4% (2017 est.)
4.2% (2016 est.)
5% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$28,900 (2017 est.)
$27,800 (2016 est.)
$27,000 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 70
Gross national saving:
28% of GDP (2017 est.)
28.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
28.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
GDP - composition, by end use:
household consumption: 55.4%
government consumption: 12.5%
investment in fixed capital: 26.3%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 75.2%
imports of goods and services: -69.5% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 8.4%
industry: 36.9%
services: 54.7% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Peninsular Malaysia - palm oil, rubber, cocoa, rice; Sabah - palm oil, subsistence crops; rubber, timber; Sarawak - palm oil, rubber, timber; pepper
Peninsular Malaysia - rubber and oil palm processing and manufacturing, petroleum and natural gas, light manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, medical technology, electronics and semiconductors, timber processing; Sabah - logging, petroleum and natural gas production; Sarawak - agriculture processing, petroleum and natural gas production, logging
Industrial production growth rate:
4.6% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
Labor force:
14.94 million (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 11%
industry: 36%
services: 53% (2012 est.)
Unemployment rate:
3.4% (2017 est.)
3.5% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
Population below poverty line:
3.8% (2009 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 34.7% (2009 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
46.2 (2009 est.)
49.2 (1997 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
revenues: $51.23 billion
expenditures: $60.26 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
16.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-2.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
Public debt:
52.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
52.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: this figure is based on the amount of federal government debt, RM501.6 billion ($167.2 billion) in 2012; this includes Malaysian Treasury bills and other government securities, as well as loans raised externally and bonds and notes issued overseas; this figure excludes debt issued by non-financial public enterprises and guaranteed by the federal government, which was an additional $47.7 billion in 2012
country comparison to the world: 95
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.8% (2017 est.)
2.1% (2016 est.)
note: approximately 30% of goods are price-controlled
country comparison to the world: 150
Central bank discount rate:
3% (31 December 2011 est.)
2.83% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
4.5% (31 December 2017 est.)
4.49% (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
Stock of narrow money:
$95.12 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$84.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
Stock of broad money:
$406.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$365.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
Stock of domestic credit:
$447.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$398.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$383 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$459 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$500.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
Current account balance:
$7.486 billion (2017 est.)
$6.996 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
$188.2 billion (2017 est.)
$165.3 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
Exports - commodities:
semiconductors and electronic equipment, palm oil, petroleum and liquefied natural gas, wood and wood products, palm oil, rubber, textiles, chemicals, solar panels
Exports - partners:
Singapore 14.7%, China 12.6%, US 10.3%, Japan 8.1%, Thailand 5.7%, Hong Kong 4.8%, India 4.1% (2016)
$163.4 billion (2017 est.)
$140.9 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
Imports - commodities:
electronics, machinery, petroleum products, plastics, vehicles, iron and steel products, chemicals
Imports - partners:
China 19.4%, Singapore 9.8%, Japan 7.7%, US 7.6%, Thailand 5.8%, South Korea 5%, Indonesia 4% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$97.44 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$94.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
Debt - external:
$213 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$195.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$133.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$121.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$137.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$126.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
Exchange rates:
ringgits (MYR) per US dollar -
4.34 (2017 est.)
4.15 (2016 est.)
4.15 (2015 est.)
3.91 (2014 est.)
3.27 (2013 est.)


Electricity access:
population without electricity: 100,000
electrification - total population: 99.5%
electrification - urban areas: 99.8%
electrification - rural areas: 98.7% (2013)
Electricity - production:
141.9 billion kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
Electricity - consumption:
133 billion kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
Electricity - exports:
3 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
Electricity - imports:
13 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
Electricity - installed generating capacity:
33.34 million kW (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
Electricity - from fossil fuels:
82.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
14% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
Electricity - from other renewable sources:
4% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
Crude oil - production:
666,900 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
Crude oil - exports:
310,900 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
Crude oil - imports:
194,400 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
Crude oil - proved reserves:
3.6 billion bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
Refined petroleum products - production:
512,900 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
Refined petroleum products - consumption:
760,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
Refined petroleum products - exports:
231,400 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
Refined petroleum products - imports:
409,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
Natural gas - production:
63.43 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
Natural gas - consumption:
40.67 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
Natural gas - exports:
34.99 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
Natural gas - imports:
3.27 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
Natural gas - proved reserves:
1.183 trillion cu m (1 January 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
208 million Mt (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27


Telephones - fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 4,837,200
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
Telephones - mobile cellular:
total: 43,912,600
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 140 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system featuring good intercity service on Peninsular Malaysia provided mainly by microwave radio relay and an adequate intercity microwave radio relay network between Sabah and Sarawak via Brunei; international service excellent
domestic: domestic satellite system with 2 earth stations; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 155 per 100 persons
international: country code - 60; landing point for several major international submarine cable networks that provide connectivity to Asia, Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Pacific Ocean) (2016)
Broadcast media:
state-owned TV broadcaster operates 2 TV networks with relays throughout the country, and the leading private commercial media group operates 4 TV stations with numerous relays throughout the country; satellite TV subscription service is available; state-owned radio broadcaster operates multiple national networks, as well as regional and local stations; many private commercial radio broadcasters and some subscription satellite radio services are available; about 55 radio stations overall (2012)
Internet country code:
Internet users:
total: 24,384,952
percent of population: 78.8% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30


National air transport system:
number of registered air carriers: 12
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 263
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 50,347,149
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 2,005,979,379 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
9M (2016)
114 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 51
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 39
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 8 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 75
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 69 (2013)
4 (2013)
condensate 354 km; gas 6,439 km; liquid petroleum gas 155 km; oil 1,937 km; oil/gas/water 43 km; refined products 114 km; water 26 km (2013)
total: 1,851 km
standard gauge: 59 km 1.435-m gauge (59 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,792 km 1.000-m gauge (339 km electrified) (2014)
country comparison to the world: 77
total: 144,403 km (excludes local roads)
paved: 116,169 km (includes 1,821 km of expressways)
unpaved: 28,234 km (2010)
country comparison to the world: 35
7,200 km (Peninsular Malaysia 3,200 km; Sabah 1,500 km; Sarawak 2,500 km) (2011)
country comparison to the world: 19
Merchant marine:
total: 1,690
by type: bulk carrier 12, container ship 26, general cargo 188, oil tanker 129, other 1,335 (2017)
country comparison to the world: 14
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Bintulu, Johor Bahru, George Town (Penang), Port Kelang (Port Klang), Tanjung Pelepas
container port(s) (TEUs): George Town (Penang) (1,317,000), Port Kelang (Port Klang) (11,887,000), Tanjung Pelepas (8,797,000) (2015)
LNG terminal(s) (export): Bintulu (Sarawak)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Sungei Udang

Military & Security

Military expenditures:
1.41% of GDP (2016)
1.53% of GDP (2015)
1.46% of GDP (2014)
1.52% of GDP (2013)
1.43% of GDP (2012)
country comparison to the world: 83
Military branches:
Malaysian Armed Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, ATM): Malaysian Army (Tentera Darat Malaysia), Royal Malaysian Navy (Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia, TLDM), Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia, TUDM) (2013)
Military service age and obligation:
17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service (younger with parental consent and proof of age); mandatory retirement age 60; women serve in the Malaysian Armed Forces; no conscription (2013)
Maritime threats:
the International Maritime Bureau reports that the territorial and offshore waters in the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea remain high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; in the past, commercial vessels have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; hijacked vessels are often disguised and cargo diverted to ports in East Asia; crews have been murdered or cast adrift; seven attacks were reported in 2016 including five ships boarded, two hijacked, and 47 crew taken hostage, this is down from 13 attacks in 2015; during the first half of 2017, three attacks were reported including two ships that were boarded and one that was hijacked

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
while the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions over the Spratly Islands, it is not the legally binding "code of conduct" sought by some parties; Malaysia was not party to the March 2005 joint accord among the national oil companies of China, the Philippines, and Vietnam on conducting marine seismic activities in the Spratly Islands; disputes continue over deliveries of fresh water to Singapore, Singapore's land reclamation, bridge construction, and maritime boundaries in the Johor and Singapore Straits; in 2008, ICJ awarded sovereignty of Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh/Horsburgh Island) to Singapore, and Middle Rocks to Malaysia, but did not rule on maritime regimes, boundaries, or disposition of South Ledge; land and maritime negotiations with Indonesia are ongoing, and disputed areas include the controversial Tanjung Datu and Camar Wulan border area in Borneo and the maritime boundary in the Ambalat oil block in the Celebes Sea; separatist violence in Thailand's predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompts measures to close and monitor border with Malaysia to stem terrorist activities; Philippines retains a dormant claim to Malaysia's Sabah State in northern Borneo; per Letters of Exchange signed in 2009, Malaysia in 2010 ceded two hydrocarbon concession blocks to Brunei in exchange for Brunei's sultan dropping claims to the Limbang corridor, which divides Brunei; piracy remains a problem in the Malacca Strait
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 87,036 (Burma) (2016)
stateless persons: 10,931 (2016); note - Malaysia's stateless population consists of Rohingya refugees from Burma, ethnic Indians, and the children of Filipino and Indonesian illegal migrants; Burma stripped the Rohingya of their nationality in 1982; Filipino and Indonesian children who have not been registered for birth certificates by their parents or who received birth certificates stamped "foreigner" are not eligible to attend government schools; these children are vulnerable to statelessness should they not be able to apply to their parents' country of origin for passports
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Malaysia is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking; Malaysia is mainly a destination country for foreign workers who migrate willingly from countries, including Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Nepal, Burma, and other Southeast Asian countries, but subsequently encounter forced labor or debt bondage in agriculture, construction, factories, and domestic service at the hands of employers, employment agents, and labor recruiters; women from Southeast Asia and, to a much lesser extent, Africa, are recruited for legal work in restaurants, hotels, and salons but are forced into prostitution; refugees, including Rohingya adults and children, are not legally permitted to work and are vulnerable to trafficking; a small number of Malaysians are trafficked internally and subjected to sex trafficking abroad
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch list - Malaysia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, amendments to strengthen existing anti-trafficking laws, including enabling victims to move freely and to work and for NGOs to run protective facilities, were drafted by the government and are pending approval from Parliament; authorities more than doubled investigations and prosecutions but convicted only three traffickers for forced labor and none for sex trafficking, a decline from 2013 and a disproportionately small number compared to the scale of the country’s trafficking problem; NGOs provided the majority of victim rehabilitation and counseling services with no financial support from the government (2015)
Illicit drugs:
drug trafficking prosecuted vigorously, including enforcement of the death penalty; heroin still primary drug of abuse, but synthetic drug demand remains strong; continued ecstasy and methamphetamine producer for domestic users and, to a lesser extent, the regional drug market

Economic Indicators for Malaysia including actual values, historical data, and latest data updates for the Malaysia economy.