KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Universiti Malaya (UM) retained its top spot among the country’s higher learning institutes on the QS Asian University Rankings this year, cinching 35th position out of 500 surveyed.
The country’s premier university went up three spots last year from 42nd place in 2010.
However, more than half of the 15 Malaysian universities surveyed saw a fall in their ranking this year, with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), the second-best local institution, sliding five spots to place 58 this year.
“Malaysia’s leading institution Universiti Malaya moves up four places to 35, though overall the nation’s results are more mixed, with nine out of 15 Malaysian universities dropping back compared to 2011,” Danny Byrne, the editor of TopUniversities.com wrote.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), which scored 54th spot last year disappeared from the top 300, and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) also dropped from 57th place to 76th this year.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), another local university in the top 100, rose from 76th place to 74th this year.
Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) continues to be number one in Asia after first knocking off the University of Hong Kong from the top perch last year.
This year, the National University of Singapore (NUS) climbed up one spot to place second, at the expense of the University of Hong Kong.
Danny Byrne also wrote that “nine of the top 10 Chinese universities improve on their 2011 position, while all of the top 10 Japanese universities move backwards.”
Last year, Japan had the best performance, with five universities in the top 10.
But this year, three Japanese universities — Osaka University, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Tohoku University — slipped from the top 10 to top 20.
China’s Peking University and two other institutions from Korea have taken over the three Japanese universities’ spots.
Danny Byrne appears to credit Singapore and Korea’s “big-spending policies” and China’s increase in their research budget and publications for their improvement in the rankings.
The QS Asian University Rankings considered close to 500 Asian universities, and published the top 300 on the TopUniversities website.
Last year, UM jumped to 167th place in the QS World University Rankings, while UKM dropped from 263th to 279th place in the same list.