Malaysia has achieved a 99% reduction in reported malaria cases in the past two decades, and is categorized in the pre-elimination phase by the World Health Organization (WHO). Plasmodium knowlesi accounts for the majority of cases, while infections with P. falciparum, P. vivax and P. malariae have been much reduced. Sixty-eight percent of total malaria cases are found in Malaysian Borneo, in the states of Sabah and Sarawak. The remaining one-third (32%) of cases occur in Peninsular Malaysia, in the central, southeastern and northern coastal regions. Vectors include An. balabacencis, An. maculatus, An. sundaicus, An. letifer, An. campestris, An. flavirostris, An. donaldi, An. latens and An. dirus, though their distribution differs between the peninsula and Malaysian Borneo.

Young working males are the most at-risk population, and about half of Malaysians diagnosed with malaria reportedly work in agriculture and other outdoor labor. Other high-risk populations include indigenous groups, jungle workers, and immigrants from endemic countries. Malaysia has a large number of imported malaria cases, primarily from Indonesian and Filipino workers seeking employment in Malaysia’s growing economy.

Quick Facts

  • 4% of the total population are living in areas of active transmission (total population: 29.9 million)
  • 3,157 cases of malaria and 9 deaths in 2014
  • 0.1 Annual Parasite Index (cases/1,000 population/year)
  • Dominant malaria species: P. knowlesi
  • Elimination goal: zero indigenous cases and zero deaths by 2020