Cost of Living in Malaysia as an Expat

If you were to compare the cost of living in Malaysia to other equally well developed nations and cities in Asia like Singapore or Dubai, don’t be surprised if you find it relatively inexpensive. Besides job opportunities, Malaysia offers a great range of accommodations for families, with or without children, and singles depending on their requirements of proximity to work place and entertainment. While condominiums in the commercial area of large cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Kuala Terengganu are priced high, rents are comparatively lower in the suburban areas.

Basic living expenses – Though inflation by local standards is pretty high in Malaysia, for expats from industrialized nations it seems an affordable place to live. Eating out in a family restaurant will cost you more than eating at a food court. Rent varies depending on location and city as one bedroom can cost between MYR 1000 to MYR 2500 while a three bedroom apartment may come close to MYR 4500. If you have children studying in a local international school, add MYR 50000 to your annual expenses. In recent years, prices for several food items like spices, staples and fish has gone up substantially. Household running costs vary depending on size of family but utility costs and food bills can be managed with an average expense of MYR 600 a month.

Cost of electronics and electrical appliances – All international brands are available in Malaysian stores which are reasonably priced and of top quality. Frequent sales are held during festive seasons allowing people to buy televisions, cameras, mobile phones and other electronic products at competitive rates. The low rates of branded electronic products can however pose a threat to people that tend to splurge on electronics.

Telecom and internet services – Malaysian telecom service providers also give internet facilities to expats after receiving complete employment and residential. The usage of both broadband and wi-fi services are growing widely in the nation as expats prefer using smartphones and tablets for call and internet services. Expats can use the internet based calling facility for international calls or can view international programs via satellite facility.

In recent years the cost of living in Malaysia has shot up leading to a majority of expats reducing their luxuries and imported goods. When the local government removed subsidies given to local businessmen, it led to a rise in cost of living as merchants raised costs by 20 percent. Though several companies have given raises to their expat employees due to this rise, it is not enough to make a significant difference in their standard of living..



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