MALAYSIA

  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Johor
  • Iskandar
  • Penang
  • The national language of Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia and English is the 2nd language of the country.

  • The population of Malaysia is approximately 29 million people consisting of a potpourri of races.

  • The politically dominant Malays make up the majority of 65%, followed by the Chinese of 25% and Indians and indigenous people make up the rest of the country's population. Major expatriate areas within Kuala Lumpur are Bangsar, Damansara, Mont Kiara, Kenny Hills and Ampang.

  • There are numerous housing options available; Apartments or houses. Houses are generally older and not as well maintained, however they offer space (most are 4-6 bedrooms) and privacy for families. Many have lush tropical gardens and swimming pools and most are 2 – 3 storey detached bungalows.

  • A standard leasing agreement for an 'expatriate' type property is 2 years with an 'expatriate' clause which states that after 1 year, should the employee have their work permit revoked or be relocated by their company, then upon 2 months written notice to the landlord the tenant will be released from the lease contract.

  • Currency is – Malaysian Ringgit

  • There are numerous foreign and local banks all offering a full range of banking services. Many offer both Ringgit and foreign currency savings and cheque accounts as well as credit and debit card accounts. Online bill payment facilities are offered by all of the major banks. However some banks link this to a local credit card account, which may be difficult for an expatriate to access. It is therefore wise to check this prior to opening an account and ensure that online bill paying will be linked to your bank account.

  • A number of excellent International Schools and private tertiary colleges are available in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Various curriculums are available including British, American, Australian, French, German, Japanese, Indian and Indonesian. There are also many excellent pre-school programmes available with the most popular curriculum being the Montessori Method. Most private tertiary colleges run twinning programmes with British, American and Australian universities and offer degrees from these universities. There is no shortage of education options for families, however if possible this decision should be made prior to the final move as places are limited.

  • Driving is still by far the most convenient method of transportation. Petrol, servicing and on road costs are reasonably priced, however the cost of purchasing a car is high compared with many other countries. Although the road system does seem impossible to negotiate at first most expatriates drive themselves in Malaysia. There are many taxis available in Kuala Lumpur and they can be hailed at designated taxi stands or on the street. All legal taxis will have a meter. This taxis are very clean and more reliable usually you can take them in Hotels and shopping Malls. The LRT system (the light rail system) now makes it possible for residents in Ampang and Bangsar to reach the city centre within 20 minutes. The LRT has 2 main lines – Star and Putra. The LRT system operates from 6 a.m. to 11p.m. or 11.30 p.m. and runs every 4-8 minutes during peak hours. Also available is the Monorail line that runs from KL Central station to Titiwangsa.

  • In recent years the number of international standard private hospitals throughout the country has increased dramatically. All doctors speak very good English and most specialist doctors (and many family practitioners) were educated in Australia, U.S.A or Great Britain. Private hospitals and medical practices are clean and well run, there is a comprehensive range of specialists available and you can be confident of the medical care that will be provided to you and your family. These days most pregnant expatriate women choose to have their babies in Malaysia, which indicates the confidence they have in the standard of care available.

  • The foreign immigration policy requires: Employment Pass (Work Permit), Professional Visit Pass (IKTISAS) and Dependant Pass.

• Can spouses work?
Work permits are tightly restricted in Malaysia and it is quite difficult for spouses to obtain employment; this has been exacerbated by the current economic situation. However should a spouse have specialist skills in a high demand industry it is more likely that employment can be found and a work permit obtained; it is necessary to study the situation on a case by case basis. On the other hand there are many volunteering opportunities and social activities available to expatriates and the widespread use of English makes integration into the local community quite easy. Indeed many spouses report that between family, volunteering and socialising they have little time to consider working!

• Are apartments and houses furnished, is it better to ship furniture or are there other options?
Apartments are sometimes furnished, however this often depends on the size and price of the unit. As landlords are generally reluctant to furnish larger more expensive properties it is a good idea to check with us about the best option for a transferees' housing budget and assignment length. Houses are generally not furnished, however good quality rental furniture is available from USD 500 – 1000 per month. It is normal to expect properties to come with window coverings, light fittings, air conditioning, fridge, cooker, washing machine and hot water.

• Malaysia is a Muslim country, is it a safe place to relocate?
Malaysia is an extremely tolerant Muslim country. Although around 60% of the population are practicing Muslims the balance of the population are Chinese and Indians who freely practice other religions. Malaysia has achieved significant growth and development since independence in 1957 and this has been made possible by the unity and tolerance of its people.
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