KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) – Malaysia’s annual population growth rate is expected to slow to 0.2 per cent in 2022 due to a decline in non-citizens entering the country during the pandemic.

The number of foreigners, which accounts for 7.4 per cent of the total populace, is estimated to drop to 2.4 million this year from 2.6 million in 2021, according a report from the Department of Statistics.

The Southeast Asian nation is projected to get slightly older this year with the median age increasing to 30.4 years from 30.1 years in 2021.

Malaysia’s slowing population growth is projected to be in line with other countries including Singapore (-0.3 per cent), Australia (+1.3 per cent), Britain (+0.4 per cent), Japan (-0.3 per cent), and New Zealand (+1.3 per cent), according to the report.

The country’s overall population is estimated to reach 32.7 million this year, with ethnic Malays increasing their share to 69.9 per cent. The composition of ethnic Chinese and Indian populations decreased to 22.8 per cent and 6.6 per cent, respectively.