Education is a renewed area of focus for the Malaysian government, which has increased its spending on the sector by 60% over the past two years as part of its commitment to building a high-income economy. The current system enjoys relatively high grades in global reports but suffers from low enrolment across primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. Private schools have emerged to fill this gap, especially in the kindergarten and primary market. The government also abolished school fees for primary and secondary school in 2012. One major challenge, however, will be maintaining the quality of Malaysian graduates even as the government increases quality to address labour shortfalls.
This section features an interview with Lim Kok Wing, Founder and President of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, and David Willetts, UK Minister of Universities and Science.
Malaysia’s relatively low dependence on the public sector – just 4.1% of budgetary expenditures go toward health care – is fairly unique in ASEAN, but it has produced a system that most agree is fundamentally sound. Around 40% of Malaysians have medical insurance, with the rest using Ministry of Health centres, while the private sector’s share of medical spending has trebled in the past decade. This has led to retention problems in the public sector, as many doctors head for private practice or go overseas.