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Ranked 11 of 26 for comprehensive power, with an overall score of 18.3 out of 100.

Down 1 ranking in 2021 for comprehensive power.
Lost 2.4 points (−11% change) in overall score.


Malaysia is a middle power in Asia.

The country’s power ranking has dropped by one place from last year, having been overtaken by Indonesia. Malaysia posted the largest drop in overall score of any country in the region this year, experiencing a fall of 2.4 points in 2021.

Malaysia performs best in the resilience and cultural influence measures, where it places 8th for both, reflecting among other things its status as the fourth most popular regional travel destination.

Its lowest ranking is in the military capability measure, coming in at 16th place. Malaysia’s defence networks score has also fallen significantly, dropping five places since 2019 into 12th position.

The country’s rankings in its future resources and cultural influence have also dropped, with Malaysia being overtaken by Taiwan and Singapore in the former, and Thailand and South Korea in the latter. Ongoing political instability with the fall of ex-Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has contributed to Malaysia’s relative decline.

Malaysia exerts more influence in the region than expected given its available resources, as indicated by the country’s positive power gap score. While Malaysia is a net overachiever in Asia, its positive power gap deteriorated in 2021.

Read more analysis in the Key Findings report . Explore further results in the Scores section.

Bilateral Influence

Bilateral trade, current dollars (2020)

Countries that influence Malaysia

Globally, which countries does Malaysia do most of its trade with?

China 23.8%

Singapore 11.8%

South Korea 9.0%

United States 8.4%

European Union 7.4%

Countries influenced by Malaysia

Which countries in the region rely most on trade with Malaysia?

Singapore 12.1%

Brunei 10.3%

Indonesia 4.9%

Thailand 4.3%

Taiwan 3.2%