Malaysia is known for the cuisines and celebrations stemming from the diverse religions and cultures. With her bustling nightlife in the city, tropical islands, rainforests and beaches, Malaysia has a lot to offer, making it an attractive destination for tourists, working professionals, and businesses.
Demographics in Malaysia
Malaysia has an estimated population of 32.7 million, of which 68.8% are Malays and Indigenous people who are also known as Bumiputera, which translate to ‘Princes of the Soil’. The remaining 31.2% include 23.2% of Chinese and 7.0% of Indians in Malaysia.
When it comes to the language, Malaysia’s official national language is Malay.
Life in Malaysia
Life in Malaysia can be extravagant or thrifty, varying from the different cities in Malaysia. Destinations like Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, offer the city life with grand restaurants and 5-star accommodations in high-rise buildings.
On the other end of the spectrum, Malaysia also offers numerous breath-taking rainforests and nature activities which are low-cost, such as dining at hawker stalls and local cafes at a fraction of the expenditure in a high-end restaurant.
The people of Malaysia are known to be the most friendly, welcoming, open, and honest people you will meet. They take the opportunity to make genuine and long-lasting bonds with international citizens who decide to call Malaysia their second home.
Work life in Malaysia
There are policies implemented in Malaysia to enhance the work life in the country. The Malaysian Employment Act defines the work week as 48 hours, with a maximum of eight hours a day, 6 days a week, and have various work visas for different talent pools.
Another government-backed policy implemented is positive immigration. With this policy, Malaysia has been steadily growing its pool of international talents and citizens who seek a superior, low-tax, high-quality lifestyle destination to live, work, or retire.
The ‘Malaysia My Second Home Program’, is another immigration policy that allows eligible individuals to live in Malaysia on a renewable, multi-entry 10-year visa. Those who are holding this visa can bring immediate family members to live with them, own freehold property, import worldly goods tax-free, and enjoy all the multiple benefits that Malaysia offers to its local and international citizens.
Cost of Living
Cost of living in Malaysia is relatively low as there are heavy subsidies placed on fuel, low cost of food, and the low rental cost of a city centre apartment as compared to western countries. A western individual who earns an average wage would feel wealthy in Malaysia, and with an above-average wage, would be able to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle.
Rental rates in major states such as Kuala Lumpur and Selangor tend to be higher than usual as compared to the smaller states in Malaysia. In the more well-developed states in Malaysia, housing units are equipped with air conditioning, automatic washing machines, fridges, water heaters, and induction cookers.
Expatriates are attracted to work in Malaysia not only because of the plentiful employment opportunities, but also because the income tax rates are very favourable. Workers in Malaysia are mostly contractual, and agencies commonly have salary standards depending on work experience and skill set.
Thе standard and availability of medical ѕеrviсеѕ in Mаlауѕiа, еѕресiаllу in the mаin сitiеѕ such as Kuаlа Lumрur, are еxсерtiоnаllу high. With over 225 private hospitals and private specialist clinics, there are also an estimated 121 government-backed hospitals, all of which have the latest equipment and facilities to treat various illnesses.
Starting a Business & Working in Malaysia
Ranked as 6th when it comes to ease of doing business and a profound quality of life, there are always new business opportunities for entrepreneurs to tap on. For those who are looking to work in Malaysia, securing your work visa like Employment Pass after getting an employment contract is the next step to kickstart your new chapter in the country.
Being a Muslim country, it would be wise to dress modestly, especially when visiting places of worship. There is a wide range of food due to the multi-cultural community in Malaysia so it is easy to bond over food and discovering the different local cultures.
Lunch breaks are typically one hour long with an exception of Fridays, as Malaysia is a Muslim country, the longer break is to allow the Muslim men to go to the mosque for their Friday prayers. Additionally, when greeting another person, it is common to say ‘salam’, accompanied by a small bow, especially when greeting a higher-ranking person as a sign of respect.
Although Malaysia is a majority Malay community and Malay is the native and national language, Tamil and Mandarin are also the first languages of the population. However, English is also widely spoken in the city and the official language in business.
Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru employ many expats resulting in a significant expat community. Just north of Singapore, many expats choose to live in Johor Bahru and commute to Singapore for work.