The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation
Addressing the Critical Issues Facing Asia - 60 Years
Bookmark and Share

Books for Asia in Malaysia

Since 1957, The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program has donated 2.5 million books to Malaysia. With the reopening of the Foundation's office in Kuala Lumpur in 2005, the program has been reintroduced in underserved areas.

Status of Education in Malaysia

Malaysia's high literacy rate of 91.5 percent (men: 94 percent, women 89 percent) masks much lower rates among remote communities and ethnic populations with fewer resources in this country of 25.3 million. Recent government reforms require that math and science be taught in English in secondary school, making English language texts in these subject areas especially needed.

Current Focus

Books for Asia donates nearly 20,000 brand new books donated by American publishers annually to 677 primary and secondary schools in remote or underserved communities in Malaysia. Special emphasis is given to secondary schools in Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan, and Trengganu; primary school children of plantation laborers in peninsular Malaysia; and pupils in Muslim boarding schools. The program reaches an estimated 100,000 students. English books and teaching materials are also provided to 14 regional teaching resource centers.

Read more about The Asia Foundation's work in Malaysia.

Project and Partner Highlights

Secondary Schools in East Malaysia. Four hundred miles of South China Sea separate the two largest East Malaysian states, Sabah and Sarawak, from the rest of the country on the Malaysian peninsula. East Malaysians lag behind their peninsular counterparts in education, economic development, and health services. Books for Asia focuses on reaching schools that suffer from the lowest literacy rates and where some communities are only accessible by river boat.

Books to Sabah’s stateless children. Books for Asia donates books to more than 100 teaching centers in Sabah run by Borneo Child Aid Society (BCAS). These centers provide education to children of migrant workers who cannot attend government schools because they are not Malaysian citizens. In 2010, the Lariche Community generously underwrote the transportation of books from our facility in Sarawak.

Major publisher donors: McGraw-Hill, Lynne Rienner, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


Amir Shariff
Books for Asia

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Instagram
  • RSS Feeds