Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo joined the Federation. The country covers an area of 329,847 square kilometres and sits on a peninsula which borders Thailand and about 30% of north eastern Borneo. The official language is Bahasa Malaysian, but English and various dialects of Chinese and Indian are also widely spoken. Malaysia has a population of around 30 million, of which approximately 60% are Muslim, 19% Buddhist, 9% Christian and 6% Hindu.
ClimateTropical – Annual Southwest (April to October) and Northeast (November to March) Monsoons.
CommunicationsModern, high quality system, especially in urban areas. The international code is +60 and the internet code is .my
Kuala Lumpur is the gateway to Malaysia for the vast majority of international visitors. It has a population of over 1.6 million people. Melbourne and Sydney represent two of its top five markets, with about 800,000 Australians a year visiting the country from these two cities alone.
Capital – Kuala LumpurMajor attractions include the world’s tallest twin structure, the Petronas Towers, Merdeka Square, the National Palace, Jamek Mosque and the Central Market – one of the largest of its kind in South East Asia. And, if shopping is your passion, Kuala Lumpur has 66 malls spread throughout the city, to satisfy every desire.
Getting thereKuala Lumpur is served by two airports, KL International Airport (KUL) and Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (SZB), often called Subang Airport. All flights from Australia arrive into Kuala Lumpur through KUL.
Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia X operate daily direct flights from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia X and Emirates have direct flights from Melbourne. Malaysian Airlines have 3 direct flights a week from both Adelaide and Darwin. Air Asia X operate one daily flight from the Gold Coast.
Capital – Kuala LumpurPerth has the most diverse range of options with Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia X and Malindo Air all operating regular daily direct flights. In addition to this, there is also a weekly flight to Kota Kinabula, on the island of Borneo, which is operated by Malaysian Airlines. All other Australian cities access Kuala Lumpur indirectly.
TransportDriving is very much the main mode of commuting in Kuala Lumpur, and the city is well serviced by an extensive system of highways. Buses and Trains are also widely available. The main International Airport (KUL) has an express rail link, which gets passengers in the centre of the city in 28 minutes.
Penang (PEN)Penang, a 50 minute flight north of Kuala Lumpur, is one of Malaysia’s most developed and economically important states. The island is a tourist and retirement favourite, and home to around 600,000 people. It is 293 square kilometres in size and located in the Straits of Malacca. George Town, its capital, is a Malay city with a strong Chinese influence and a British colonial history. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a food lovers paradise and offers a fantastic selection of street art.
Penang is served by an international airport, with a wide range of domestic flights and numerous Asian destinations.
The city has a large and active expat community offering a wonderful environment in which to spend your retirement.
IpohFor those looking at a tree change, Ipoh offers a wonderful tropical escape, as it nestles between the Cameron Highlands and the coastline. Located about 3 hours drive north of Kuala Lumpur, the town is connected to the capital by an excellent modern freeway. Coffee houses dot the town and whilst many Chinese now call Ipoh home, the rich colonial history is still evident in the grand architecture of the Ipoh Club, railway station, town hall and law courts.
MalaccaMalaysia’s oldest city and once Southeast Asia’s greatest trading port, Malacca offers a rich historical and cultural backdrop to highly attractive and cost effective retirement. The city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and tourist numbers have risen rapidly in recent years, with over 15 million visitors annually. Located two hours drive south from Kuala Lumpur, the city is only three hours drive north from Singapore, and has become a popular week-end escape for Singaporeans.
There is a vast array of information about Malaysia on the internet, but it is difficult to take all the pieces of the puzzle and put them together to create a full picture. When considering retirement to another country, you want everything to go smoothly and know your finances are being managed in a way which maintains your retirement lifestyle.
You also want to know that you have a team you can work with to make your dream a sustainable reality. Malaysia offers a broad range of lifestyle choices, and Retire to Asia recommends that you explore the country to see and feel what’s right for you. Sometimes retirees will begin their retirement in major expat locations, such as Kuala Lumpur or Penang, before moving into lesser known areas.
The cost of living in Malaysia is significantly cheaper than in Australia. Quite simply, your money goes so much further, providing you with the opportunity to have a quality of life which is typically only available to the wealthy in Australia. This is one of the key motivations for retiring to Asia.
The exact savings will vary on where you decide to retire, and the type of lifestyle you choose to live.
For example, it is generally cheaper to live in Penang than in Kuala Lumpur. Similarly, you average grocery bill will be less if you buy local products rather than foreign imported foods. However, all things being equal, the ‘cost of living’ savings when compared to Australia are very significant.
In this table, Retire to Asia compares the average percentage saving a retiree can expect on a range of products & services in popular Malaysian locations with the cost of those products & services in Australia:
Whilst it’s exciting to retire to a dream location, either temporarily or permanently, there are a number of tasks that need to completed, and arrangements that need to be made.
Retire to Asia provide a broad range of services to assist you with this exciting move. These services include the following:
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Retire to Asia provides ongoing support and advice over the phone, or through our website and newsletters. We are here to assist you.
If you’d like more information or have any questions, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.
Healthcare in Malaysia is amongst the best in the world. According to a recent World Health Organisation report, Malaysia is ranked in the top 50 of national healthcare service providers worldwide. As a result, expats living in Malaysia will have access to a wide range of public and private hospitals, all offering high-quality services at a highly competitive price.
Medical services in Malaysia are divided into public and private sectors. Both sectors provide excellent high-quality medical services, both with a high degree of trained staff and modern technology. A consultation with a doctor is relatively inexpensive and a good majority speak and understand English.
For expats moving to Malaysia on the Malaysia my Second Home (MM2H) visa programme, international private medical insurance is a compulsory requirement of obtaining that visa (if a person cannot obtain international private medical insurance then a waiver of this requirement may be received (contact Retire to Asia for more information).
The public healthcare sector in Malaysia is of a very high quality with highly trained medical staff, although in very rural areas it may be rudimentary. Like all publicly funded medical facilities patience is the key.
The public healthcare system in Malaysia is not open to expats as a free service. As outlined above, one of the requirements for the MM2H retirement visa is to obtain international private medical insurance. Obtaining this cover opens up the services of the private healthcare sector.
For those that are exempt from obtaining, or do not have international private medical insurance, you can still avail yourself of public medical services but at a cost. The cost of medical care in Malaysia is however, substantially less than western hospitals.
Like the public healthcare system, the private healthcare system is of very high quality with highly trained medical staff. Whilst private facilities are busy places too, you will not be subjected to the long waiting times as with public hospitals.
Like Thailand, most private hospitals in Malaysia are more akin to luxury private hotels, ensuring your stay will be peaceful and luxurious, and at a fraction of the cost of western countries private hospital systems.
You will have to pay for your treatment before you leave the hospital, then reclaim any medical expenses via your insurance company after the event.
It is important to note that private hospitals are licensed by the Ministry of Health and these licenses are re-issued annually. This ensures that each hospital is assessed annually and ensures the private hospital system retains its first world status
International private health insurance is a requirement for the MM2H visa unless an exemption is granted.
Different international private health policies are designed to either cover essential healthcare needs if you are on a budget, or higher levels of protection if you want to cover a wider range of conditions.
The main benefits are:
The minimum type of cover recommended is for hospitalisation and evacuation to a country of your choice – even to your home country. However, due to the low cost of treatment in Malaysia, many expats feel that self-insuring is a better option, and rely on inexpensive accident-insurance policy as their primary cover.
Please contact Retire to Asia for more information on International Private Health Insurance.
The Malaysian government is keen to promote medical tourism in its homeland and has established the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, which sits within the Malaysian Ministry of Health. One of its primary objectives is to promote Malaysia internationally as a medical tourism destination.
Malaysia has typically been voted a top 5 destination for medical tourism.
As with other Asian countries, its private hospitals are the main facilitator for this medical tourism boom, and the cost savings are generally about 40-60 percent of out of pocket expenses compared to other western countries.
If you have any concerns or questions about healthcare in Malaysia? We are here to answer your questions and take you one step closer to making your dream lifestyle a reality.
After almost a two-year hiatus, the MM2H visa returned in 2021 with many monumental changes. Unfortunately, these changes will see Malaysia as NOT a viable option for most people.
It seems that Malaysia is now only interested in ‘well-to-do’ expats (see below). This is a pity, as Malaysia is a hidden gem as a retirement destination.
The Malaysian long-term visa program is called MM2H. It is a long-term visa option (5 years) for those that wish to live in SE Asia for an extended period, without the hassle of having to renew the visa every year. The MM2H five-year visa can be renewed.
To receive the MM2H visa the principal applicant must be at least 35 years of age.
It is open to all races, gender, and religious affiliations. The visa can include the spouse and all children under the age of 21.You must live in Malaysia for at least 90 days each year to stay valid.
No, you can do it yourself. Doing it yourself is best for those who easily meet the requirements. However, you will need to navigate various gov’t departments which can be time-consuming and confusing. A frequent complaint is the constant rule changes which can make it a difficult process.
Using an agent will make it much easier and avoid the need to place a cash deposit and have to find a local sponsor (the agent will do these on your behalf). But of course, you will need to pay the agent’s fee.
The official time frame is 90 days once submitted. But can take up to 6 months.
Below is an outline of the visa process and the eligibility criteria. Should you wish to know more please contact us at Retire to Asia and we will put you in touch with our preferred visa agent in Kuala Lumpur.
The MM2H program is open to ALL countries that are recognised by Malaysia. If you choose to use an agent, that agent must be authorised by the Ministry of Tourism.
The initial application can be made without having to be in Malaysia. You will need to be in Malaysia when the ‘conditional approval’ is granted to finalise the visa process and to collect the visa.
All applicant requires a Malaysian sponsor to apply for the MM2H visa. A security bond of RM2,000 is also required.
If you choose to use an agent, then the agent will be the sponsor and the agent is also required to place the security bond on your behalf.
As stated, a deposit of RM1M is required into a Malaysian bank account.
Can withdraw up to RM500,000 from year two for the purchase of real-estate, medical expenses, or children’s education. The remaining RM500,000 must remain in the bank account for the duration of your stay in Malaysia.
All applicants and their dependants must obtain appropriate medical insurance. This can include insurance obtained outside of Malaysia, but it must be valid to be used in Malaysia.
Medical insurance may be waived for older applicants if they are denied coverage due to age.
All applicants and their dependants will require a medical examination from any private hospital or registered medical clinic in Malaysia.
You may be eligible to work up to 20 hours a week if you have specialised skills. You must seek approval to do so and will be dependant on whether a Malaysian can do the work.
You can set up and invest in businesses in Malaysia. You must not be actively involved in the day-to-day running of that business. If you wish to have active involvement you must switch to a work permit.
You are not required to purchase property under the MM2H program. However, foreigners can purchase an unlimited number of properties should they wish. Each Malaysian state sets the minimum price threshold that foreigners must purchase per property in their state. This is to ensure that Malaysians with lower financial means are not priced out of the local market.
Foreigners on the MM2H visa generally have a much lower minimum purchase price threshold than foreigners not on the MM2H visa. In the property section in the Malaysia section of this web site we have included a table that outlines each state’s minimum price thresholds.
All purchases by foreigners must be approved by the specific state authority.
Foreigners cannot purchase properties deemed ‘Malay Reserve Land’.
Malaysia has a great property system and some of the most liberal laws in Asia when it comes to foreigners purchasing residential property.
Foreigners can purchase an unlimited number of properties should they wish, apart from properties deemed ‘Malay Reserve Land’.
Properties foreigners can own include condominiums, units, bungalows, houses – including the land it sits on, commercial property, industrial property, agricultural and industrial land.
Each Malaysian state sets the minimum price threshold that foreigners must purchase per property in their state. This is to ensure that Malaysians with lower financial means are not priced out of the local market.
Foreigners on the MM2H retirement visa generally have a much lower minimum purchase price threshold than foreigners not on the MM2H visa.
The minimum purchase price for each state is set out in the following table:
All purchases by foreigners must be approved by the specific state authority.
If you’d like more information or have any questions about renting or buying property in Malaysia, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.
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