The Chemical Engineering Community in Malaysia

Malaysia has entered into the fifth decade since chemical engineering programme first started in the country.

The oldest university in the country – University of Malaya started its undergraduate programme of chemical engineering back in year 1974.

In the following decade, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and National University of Malaysia also started their chemical engineering programmes, at years 1983 and 1984 respectively.

Universiti Malaya KL gate. Source: Wikipedia Creative Commons, attributed to *angys*.

The Malaysian chemical industry has a major boost in 1990s, with many petrochemical and palm oil-based oleochemical plants being commissioned. Besides, the capital of Kuala Lumpur has also emerged as the oil and gas hub for the Asia Pacific region.

These resulted in good career opportunities for chemical engineering graduates in the country, which also led to significant increase of chemical engineering programmes in the country.

A survey conducted by the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (Foo, 2015) revealed that the early 21st century may be viewed as the “golden age” of chemical engineering discipline in Malaysia, with an average of more than one chemical engineering programmes/department set up among the universities in Malaysia. To date, there are 25 universities offering chemical engineering programmes in Malaysia, with approximately 2500 graduates yearly.

Among these, 20% of the chemical engineering programmes were accredited by the IChemE, while others are accredited by the Board of Engineers Malaysia, which represents Malaysia to the Washington Accord.

IChemE started the Malaysia Branch since 2006, and plays an important role in promoting chemical engineering profession in Malaysia. Active special interest groups (SIGs) in Malaysia include those for oil and natural gas (SONG), palm oil processing (POPSIG), education (EdSIG), among others. These SIGs hosted various face-to-face seminars, workshops and webinars regularly.

The regular events run by IChemE Malaysia include: 

  • the research-based conference known as the Symposium of Malaysian Chemical Engineers (SOMChE)
  • undergraduate seminar – National Chemical Engineering Symposium (NACES)
  • the regional process safety conference known as Hazard Asia Pacific Symposium

In 2013, IChemE Malaysia signed a Memorandum of Understand with the Institution of Engineers Malaysia to foster better collaboration for the chemical engineering community.

IChemE Malaysia Awards 2017 (Image provided by the author)


Foo, D. C. Y. (2015). Chemical Engineering Education in Malaysia.  JURUTERA, 2015(9): 36-38 (September 2015). 

Foo, D. C. Y. (2017). Chemical Engineering in Malaysian: Industry Outlook and Education Perspective. Newsletter of Asia Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering (APCChE), Summer 2017.