Pros and Cons of Living in Malaysia

Pros and Cons of Living in Malaysia

Hello! Are you thinking about moving to Malaysia? Malaysia is known for its stunning beaches, delicious food, and rich mix of cultures. Malaysia includes regions on the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo.

It’s a diverse place with people from many different backgrounds and religions. The expat community here is just as varied, with people from all around the world.

If you are a remote worker, retiree, or just considering a change, you might be asking yourself, “Is moving to Malaysia a good idea? and What are the pros and cons of living in Malaysia?

 I’ll share here the Pros and Cons of living in Malaysia. Let’s see if Malaysia might be the right place for you to call home. Now let’s get started with the advantages of living In Malaysia.

Pros of Living in Malaysia

Living in Malaysia offers numerous advantages for expatriates, including an affordable cost of living and a diverse, welcoming culture. Here are some advantages of living in Malaysia:

Strong & Growing Economy

As one of the key trading and business hubs of Southeast Asia, Malaysia has a strong and growing economy. This region has a diverse economy, including banking, tourism, manufacturing, and services.

Strong & Growing Economy of Malaysia

This combination of steady & flourishing keeps the economy expanding and steady.

The nation is open to new economic ventures, which increases employment prospects and jobs for all citizens, including foreign nationals.

Malaysia’s consistent economic growth makes it an ideal destination for individuals seeking to advance their careers, launch their businesses, or make investments.

Affordable Cost of Living

Living in Malaysia is budget-friendly due to its affordable cost of living. Compared to many developed countries, overall expenses for housing, utilities, dining out, and entertainment are lower. This affordability is a major advantage for both locals and expatriates.

Affordable Cost of Living of Malaysia

It is much easier to rent and purchase housing in Kuala Lumpur than in major cities in Europe or North America, regardless of where you live. Even daily essentials like food and transportation are surprisingly affordable, which allows for a comfortable lifestyle.

This economical way of life makes it easier to budget your daily spending and allows you to take advantage of all that Malaysia has to offer, including cultural events, without worrying about breaking the bank.

Quality Healthcare

You can get high-quality & affordable Healthcare in Malaysia. Whether you need a routine check-up or more specialized treatment, you can get good care here without spending a lot of money.

Quality Healthcare in Malaysia

Many doctors and medical staff speak English, which makes it easier for expatriates to communicate and understand their health needs.

Malaysia is also known for its medical tourism, and well-equipped hospitals attracting people from all over the world who come for both the quality and the cost of medical services.

Due to this accessibility of healthcare, many people feel confident about moving to Malaysia, knowing they and their families will be well cared for.

Excellent Education System

Malaysia offers a strong education system which includes both local schools and international schools that follow global standards. These schools provide high-quality education and are a big reason why many expat families are moving to live here.

Excellent Education System in Malaysia

For higher education, Malaysia is home to several well-respected universities that attract students from all over the world. These institutions offer a variety of programs and degrees, all taught in English, making it easy for international students to understand.

The focus on education in Malaysia helps ensure that children and young adults not only receive good schooling but also get exposure to a variety of cultures and ideas, preparing them for their future careers.

Rich Multicultural Society

Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures, which makes this accommodation appealing. Here, you will find a mixture of Malays, Chinese, Indians, and many other ethnic groups. This diversity is celebrated with festivals, traditional dances, and of course food.

Rich Multicultural Society in Malaysia

If you live in Malaysia, you will see for yourself how these cultures come together. From the colorful celebrations of Diwali and Chinese New Year to the daily interactions at the market and in the community, there is always something new to learn and appreciate

This rich cultural fabric not only makes life interesting but also teaches valuable lessons of tolerance and cultural understanding. It’s one of the reasons why so many people see Malaysia as an exciting and successful place to call home.

Outdoor Lifestyle Opportunities

Malaysia offers endless outdoor opportunities. Throughout the year, the climate is warm, making it easy to enjoy nature outside. Many parks in Malaysia are perfect for a leisurely walk, hiking, or biking.

Outdoor Lifestyle Opportunities in Malaysia

For those who love the water, Malaysia’s beaches are among the best in the world. You can go snorkeling, diving, or just relax on the sand. The country is also home to ancient rainforests, where you can explore exotic wildlife and lush greenery on guided treks.

Malaysia is perfect for those who want to be active, reconnect with nature, or simply enjoy the beautiful scenery and best outdoor lifestyle.

Territorial Taxation Benefits

One of the advantages of living in Malaysia is its territorial taxation system. This means that the money you earn outside of Malaysia is not taxed by the Malaysian government.

Territorial Taxation Benefits in Malaysia

This can be a huge advantage for freelancers, expatriates, and entrepreneurs who operate businesses internationally.

This tax system relieves the residents of double taxation, which is common in many other countries. Expatriates and digital nomads looking to make as much money as possible while living abroad will particularly benefit from it.

The territorial tax system in Malaysia not only helps in saving money but also makes financial planning simpler and more predictable.

Widespread Use of English

In Malaysia, English is widely spoken, especially in business, education, and by the younger population. This makes it much easier for newcomers to settle in and communicate daily.

Widespread Use of English in Malaysia

You’ll find English signs, menus, and information in most urban areas, and many locals are fluent enough to engage in conversation.

In addition to reducing the language barrier, this widespread use of English is a huge benefit for expatriates and international students. When you’re negotiating a lease, setting up utilities, or ordering food, being able to speak English greatly simplifies the process.

The ease of communication is one of the key factors that make Malaysia an attractive destination for people from around the world.

Architectural Wonders

Malaysia is a showcase of architectural diversity, blending old and new in fascinating ways. Here, you can find everything from ancient temples that echo the country’s rich history to sleek, modern skyscrapers that symbolize its rapid development.

Architectural Wonders in Malaysia

Notable examples are The colorful Batu Caves and the iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, one of the tallest buildings in the world, and the historic George Town, recognized by UNESCO for its well-preserved colonial architecture.

This mix of architectural styles reflects the multicultural heritage of Malaysia and offers a visual journey through its history and progress. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or just appreciate beautiful buildings, there’s always something to catch your eye.

Diverse and Delicious Cuisine

Malaysia is a food lover’s paradise. The country’s cuisine is as diverse as its culture, combining influences from Malay, Chinese, Indian, and other communities. This mix creates a rich tapestry of flavors and dishes that make eating out an adventure.

Diverse and Delicious Cuisine in Malaysia

Whether you’re grabbing street food or dining at a fancy restaurant, you’re in for a treat. Malaysian dishes like nasi lemak, laksa, and satay are both flavorful and affordable. The food scene is vibrant, with options ranging from local hawker stalls to international eateries.

Cons of Living in Malaysia

Living in Malaysia comes with its share of challenges for expatriates, and it’s important to acknowledge these frustrations honestly. Here are some disadvantages of living in Malaysia:

Extreme Weather

Malaysia’s rainy and sunny climate means it can be very hot and humid all year round. Constantly rising temperatures and humidity can be uncomfortable for some people, especially if they are not used to it.

Extreme Weather in Malaysia

Such weather can also lead to water damage, making outdoor activities less enjoyable during the hottest parts of the day.

Many homes and public spaces have air conditioning, which helps, but adjusting to the climate can still be difficult, especially for newcomers. The heat and humidity also mean you will need to stay hydrated and take precautions to avoid heat-related health issues.

Driving on the Left Side

Driving on the left side of the road in Malaysia is quite challenging, for those used to driving on the right.

Driving on the Left Side in Malaysia

The practice dates back to historical influences, primarily from British customs, where driving on the left was seen as safer for horse-drawn carriages. Despite modern vehicles replacing carriages, Malaysia retains this tradition.

For safe driving on the left side, several factors need to be considered. Whenever possible, overtaking should be done from the right side, and sudden lane changes or abrupt braking should be avoided after overtaking. 

Property Purchase Complexities

Purchasing property in Malaysia can be challenging due to many reasons such as affordability concerns, supply-demand imbalances, and rising living expenses.

Property Purchase Complexities in Malaysia

Many Malaysians express a desire to own a home, but they are discouraged by high prices. Rising interest rates and economic uncertainties also contribute to the challenge​.

The housing market varies across regions in Malaysia. In larger cities like Kuala Lumpur, property sales are strong, but smaller states face issues like oversupply. The market is expected to favor buyers in 2024, with growth in developed areas and challenges in less developed areas.

Scarcity of Western Cuisine

Malaysia is known for its local food, but finding good Western food can be difficult. Some big cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang do have some Western food but they may not be out of line with what you are used to.

Scarcity of Western Cuisine in Malaysia

Ingredients for Western cuisine are often imported, making these foods more expensive.

For foreigners who sometimes crave familiar flavors, this can be a drawback. However, it is also an opportunity to sample and enjoy Malaysia’s unique and delicious food offerings.

Complexities in Acquiring a Residence Visa

Getting a residence permit in Malaysia can be difficult. There are different types, such as Residence Pass Talent (RP-T) and Permanent Residence (PR).

Complexities in Acquiring a Residence Visa in Malaysia

The RP-T is made by professionals and will be valid for 10 years. You must also reduce your Employment Pass to 30 days for final approval

You must apply with the Immigration Service for civil relations. There are various groups such as investors, entrepreneurs, and spouses of Malaysian citizens. A minimum of 65 points is required to qualify. This process can be facilitated by obtaining legal assistance.

Heavy Traffic daily

One common issue in Malaysia is heavy traffic, particularly in cities like Kuala Lumpur. Traffic jams are frequent during peak hours and can occur unexpectedly due to accidents, construction, or weather.

Heavy Traffic in Malaysia

This can be frustrating for commuters and affect daily life​.

In Kuala Lumpur, it’s common for drivers to jump queues, use the shoulder as a lane, and flash their headlights to pass. This makes driving stressful and requires extra caution​ ​.

Using public transportation or timing your travel outside of peak hours can help you avoid heavy traffic.

Final words About Pros and Cons Of Living In Malaysia

Living in Malaysia offers a mixture of benefits and challenges. The country has a low cost of living, a growing economy, excellent healthcare, and a vibrant multicultural society. The prevalence of English and opportunities for outdoor activities make Malaysia attractive

However, there are some downsides. Tropical weather can be harsh and driving can be challenging. In addition, some face a lack of nightlife or difficulties in obtaining property and residence permits. The high cost of alcohol and limited availability of Western food can also be issues

Overall, Malaysia offers a unique lifestyle for people who appreciate cultural diversity, affordability, and a relaxed lifestyle. It is important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to move.

FAQs related to Pros and Cons of Living in Malaysia

What are the common challenges faced by expatriates in Malaysia?

Expatriates in Malaysia sometimes struggle with the high humidity and heat due to its tropical climate. Traffic congestion, particularly in major cities like Kuala Lumpur, can be a significant issue.

Is Malaysia a safe country to live in?

Malaysia has a low crime rate, especially violent crime, making it relatively safe for residents and tourists alike. However, petty crime such as theft and scams can occur, particularly in crowded areas.

How does the cost of living in Malaysia compare to other countries?

The cost of living in Malaysia is quite low compared to Western countries. Housing, groceries, and transportation are particularly affordable. However, the cost can vary significantly between rural areas and major cities, with Kuala Lumpur being on the higher end of the spectrum.

What is the quality of healthcare like in Malaysia?

Malaysia is known for its high-quality healthcare services. Many healthcare professionals are trained internationally, and most private hospitals are well-equipped and provide services at a much lower cost than many Western countries.

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