Malaysia is a middle power in Asia.
The country’s power ranking has dropped by one place from last year, having been overtaken by Thailand. Malaysia posted the second highest loss in overall score of 2.1 points in 2020 — behind only the United States.
Malaysia performs best in the cultural influence measure, where it places 6th, reflecting among other things its status as the fourth most popular regional travel destination. In 2020, the country saw its greatest rankings improvement in its economic capability, resilience and future resources, where it moved up one place to 11th in all three measures.
Its lowest ranking is in the military capability measure, coming in at 16th place. Malaysia’s defence networks measures have also fallen significantly, dropping five places since 2019 into 12th position. The country’s rankings in diplomatic influence and economic relationships have also declined, in part reflecting ongoing political instability with the fall of the Pakatan Harapan coalition and ex-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
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 2020.
Read more analysis in the Key Findings report. Explore further results in the Scores section.
A country’s weighted average across eight measures of power