PETALING JAYA - Malaysia's five oldest universities are in the top 100 of the 2014 QS University Rankings: Asia for the third consecutive year.
The two top ranked institutions - Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia - both improved by one place, moving up to 32nd and 56th respectively.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (57th) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (66th) are up four and two places respectively, while International Islamic University Malaysia rises to 145th, having ranked just outside the top 150 last year.
The only Malaysian institution in the top 150 to have lost ground is Universiti Putra Malaysia, which dropped four places to 76th.
QS head of research Ben Sowter said the results were mostly positive for the Malaysian institutions.
He said 18 Malaysian institutions make the overall top 300 in the rankings, placing Malaysia fifth in the region, behind China (73), Japan (68), South Korea (46) and Taiwan (27), but ahead of India (17).
"Malaysia's top institutions have increased their scores for research productivity (number of research papers per faculty member) this year and are among the most international in the region," he said in an interview.
The strengthening of inter-regional collaboration and exchange programmes might have helped Malaysia to continue its upward trajectory while the top four institutions have all improved their ranking for student/faculty ratio, said Sowter.
"Internationalisation is another major strength for Malaysia. UM ranks number one in Asia for its proportion of international exchange students," he said.
Sowter said 491 institutions had been evaluated.
He said the methodology was based on the four pillars that also measures World University Rankings, which are teaching commitment, research impact, employability of graduates and international outlook.
"The weightings have been adjusted to better reflect and capture the priorities of universities in the Asian context and their reality," he said.
National University of Singapore topped the rankings this year followed by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and the University of Hong Kong.
For more information, see www.TopUniversities.com.