Johor is the second largest state in Malaysia, with an area of 19.016 km2 and a population of 3.6 million. In 2019, Johor recorded a GDP of US$34.5 billion, after Selangor and Sarawak. Johor’s economy is centred around services, manufacturing, agriculture and construction. Given the vast availability of landbanks, Johor is also the top producing state for fruits and second biggest producer of fresh vegetables after Sarawak.
Due to its close proximity to Singapore, tourism has also been a key contributing factor to Johor’s growing economy.
Selangor is home to the largest economy in Malaysia, contributing over 22% of Malaysia’s national GDP. The state is strategically located around Malaysia’s capital city – Kuala Lumpur and is home to key air and sea ports, including the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Subang Sky Park and Port Klang, all of which are significant in driving economic activities. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Selangor’s economy continues to record a 2.9% GDP growth against an overall national contraction.
Selangor’s developed infrastructure makes it a key first port of call for foreign companies landing in Malaysia. As a key GDP-contributing state, Selangor’s core industries include manufacturing, ICT and Media and Services.
Penang is a small but economically significant state, known for its manufacturing and tech-friendly infrastructure and incentives. The state’s Bayan Lepas Industrial Park is Malaysia’s first free trade zone, which paved way for the development of more of such zones, cementing Penang’s reputation as the manufacturing hub of Malaysia.
Despite being a small state, Penang is home to more than 40 learning institutes, 20 university colleges, five industrial training institutes and four universities. This has also contributed to the state’s high literacy rate of 98.3%.
With a ready pool of skilled talent and robust infrastructure, Penang is a prominent landing point for foreign investments, particularly as an alternative to Selangor.
Sarawak is located on Borneo Island in East Malaysia and is Malaysia’s largest state covering an area of approximately 124,000 km2, with a population of approximately 2 million. The state is rich in natural resources, with a large part of its GDP attributed to export of primary commodities such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude petroleum.
Beyond commodities-based activities, Sarawak has also transited significantly in the recent decades to focus on manufacturing and other processed food exports.