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Kuala Lumpur

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With three universities in the 2012/13 QS World University Rankings®, Malaysia’s capital is fast establishing itself as one of Southeast Asia’s leading study destinations. The rapidly improving reputation of Malaysia’s higher education sector, headed by Universiti Malaya (now ranked 167 in the world) reflects the wider coming to prominence of the country itself on the world stage.

Kuala Lumpur is very much a manifestation of this. This city of gleaming skyscrapers, including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers (the world’s tallest buildings until 2004), is as perfect a representation of the changing balance of power in the 21st century world as you could hope to find.

However, it is by no means a soulless imitation of a Western city. Alongside air-conditioned malls and familiar multinational corporations, you can still find mosques and temples, street vendors and markets, and the rich multicultural mix which has always characterized this part of the world.

It also gets the highest score in the index for Affordability, combining low living costs with relatively low annual tuition fees.

Read more about studying in Malaysia >

QS ranked universities*:

Universiti Malaya (UM); International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM); Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)

More about Kuala Lumpur

Number of universities ranked by QS*


Top ranked institution

Universiti Malaya (167th in the world)



Average university fees


Mercer Cost of Living rank


Cost of a Big Mac**


Cost of an IPad***


*Universities assessed within the QS World University Rankings®.

**Based on the Big Mac Index, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

*** Based on the iPad Index, published by Commsec.

Written by Laura Bridgestock

The editor of, Laura oversees the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edits the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributes to market research reports including Students Online: Global Trends.

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