1) People And Language
The Malaysian people are warm and friendly and unlike some countries welcome foreigners who choose to live here and are happy to mix with them socially. There is no need to set yourself up in an expatriate enclave because wherever you live you are sure to find no problems settling in. The fact that a large number of people here speak English makes it especially attractive to the many people who are either native English speakers or speak enough English to communicate.
Most expatriates say how much they like the warm weather in Malaysia. Certainly it can get hot during the day but it is rarely the extreme heat found in some countries, and since most homes, cars and shopping areas are air-conditioned it is easy to escape the hottest times of day.
3) Cost Of Living
Malaysia is a low cost country to live in and if you are on a pension from a developed country you willfind that it offers a much better standard of living here than in your own country. Since remittances from abroad are not taxed it makes the programme even more attractive, if your funds are not taxed at source.The two most complained about expensive items in Malaysia are alcoholic beverages and motor vehicles. Fortunately restaurant prices are generally low so this can offset the higher cost of alcoholic beverages and many places offer extended happy hours if you look out for them. The high tax on motor vehicles is true for most countries in Asia. Applicants under this programme can bring in one car free of import duty, sales tax and excise duty or buy a new car here without these taxes. Prices for houses and apartments are quite reasonable if you stay outside of central KL and it is possible to buy a nice house with a pool if you are willing to spend a little more.
4) Economic / Political Stability
Malaysia has experienced many years of economic and political stability. Even the major economic downturn in Asia in 1997 did not have the disastrous results for Malaysia which many people predicted. The economic outlook now is promising and many expats have expressed their satisfaction with the current Prime Minister Dato Seri Mohd Najib who is introducing some sweeping reforms.
The country has generally good infrastructure with a world class airport, very modern capital city and a well developed and maintained road network. Malaysia has a strong commitment to become a leading IT and multimedia hub for the region. It demonstrated this by creating the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) a high tech area stretching from Kuala Lumpur to the international airport and offering state of the art communication networks. The government continuously invests in improvements to the country’s infrastructure.
Malaysia has three major types of local cuisine which most foreigners soon come to enjoy. Malay, Chinese and Indian restaurants can be found all over the country reflecting the three largest races in Malaysia and between the three cuisines there is a magnificent choice of dishes. If you eat in the open air stalls or in the non air conditioned restaurants you will be amazed at the low cost of the food. If you prefer western dishes there has been a proliferation of restaurants opening in the major cities offering many different western cuisines as well as other Asian cuisines. Food from all over the world can also be found in the excellent restaurants in the country’s numerous four and five star hotels.
Whether you are looking for low priced products or designer labels Malaysia has it all. There has been a significant increase in shopping malls around the country, particularly Kuala Lumpur. The shops carry a very wide range of goods. Many imported items such as cosmetics, cameras and electronic equipment carry no import duty so they are very reasonably priced. There are many home furnishing stores and most household items are readily available. For those people who are looking for food products from back home several of the newer supermarkets are offering a wide range of imported fresh and canned products specifically targeted at the expatriate market.
8) Natural Beauty
Malaysia has the advantage of being one of the lowest populated countries in Asia. This means plenty of unspoiled countryside where you can explore the jungle, hill stations and tropical islands or relax on the many beaches. There is a wealth of flora and fauna as well as wild life. The major roads are excellent and it is easy to drive around the country once you get used to some of the local driving styles. (See our annual Motoring Guide for more information about driving in Malaysia). There are also a large number of excellent hotels which have some of the lowest rates in Asia making domestic travel a pleasure and remarkably good value.
There is a wide range of sports for players and spectators. Malaysia hosts a number of international sports events including Formula 1, motorbike, cycling, power boat racing and golf, even international tower runs! Malaysians are also outstanding hockey, badminton and squash players and enthusiastic football fans. For more active sports enthusiasts there are many golf courses, tennis and squash courts and groups playing cricket and rugby. You will also find plenty of golf and country clubs to choose from all over Malaysia. There are no duties on boats so lovers of sailing will find that it not only less expensive but there are also many attractive places to visit. For divers there are many good spots including some rated the best in the world off the coast of Sabah, such as Sipadan and Layang Layang islands.
10) Safety And Health
The crime rate in Malaysia is generally lower than in most western countries. Health services are efficient and first class medical facilities are available in all the major cities with well equipped hospitals and clinics run by highly qualified staff. Medical costs are much lower than many other countries.
1) People And Language