For the first time ever, all five Malaysian research universities have been listed in the top 200 and top one per cent universities worldwide, according to the QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Ranking 2021, released today.

The five universities are Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

The Higher Education Ministry (HEM) in a statement today said UM once again improved its performance and now ranked 59th from 70th last year to join world's top 100 universities list.

The statement said, UPM was ranked 132nd from 159th previously, UKM (141st from 160th), USM (142nd from 165th) and UTM climbed up 30 places to take the 187th rank from 217th last year.

The ranking series also saw impressive improvements from a public university and three private universities when they made it into the top 550 universities.

The universities are Taylor's University (379th), UCSI University (391th), Universiti Teknologi Petronas (439th) and Universiti Utara Malaysia (within 531-540th group), it said.

A total of 11 public and private local higher education institutions are also listed in the top 1,000 QS World Rankings, namely the Management and Science University (MSU), Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA), Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Sunway University, Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN).

The other varsities are Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP), the Multimedia University (MMU), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

The ministry said the rankings showed that the country's higher education is heading on the right direction in making local higher education institutions to become on par with world-renowned universities, in line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education).

"This success will continue to place Malaysia as a higher education hub in the region. It will also help forge collaborations between those institutions and world-renowned researchers," it said.

The ministry said the QS report also stated that Malaysia had become one of the countries that showed impressive improvements this year.