What Is The Lifestyle In Malaysia Like?

3 min read|Last Updated: March 29, 2024|

Lifestyle in Malaysia is known for its cuisines and celebrations stemming from its diverse religions and cultures. With its 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, with 68.8% comprising Malays and Indigenous people, who are also known as Bumiputera, translating to ‘Princes of the Soil’. The remaining 31.2% consist of 23.2% Chinese and 7.0% Indians in Malaysia.

When it comes to the language, Malaysia’s official national language is Malay.

Malaysia Tax Expert Lera

Life in Malaysia

Life in Malaysia can be extravagant or thrifty, varying among the different cities in Malaysia. Destinations like Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, offer 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 that 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 for implementation 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 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 an immigration policy allowing eligible individuals to live in Malaysia on a renewable 10-year visa. Holders of this visa can bring immediate family members, own freehold property, import goods tax-free, and enjoy benefits Malaysia offers to citizens.

Cost of Living

Malaysia’s low living costs with fuel subsidies, cheap food, and affordable rent make Westerners feel wealthy.

Rental rates in major states like Kuala Lumpur and Selangor are higher than in smaller states in Malaysia. In well-developed states, housing units come equipped with air conditioning, automatic washing machines, fridges, water heaters, and induction cookers.

Expatriates are trying to get to work in Malaysia not only due to the plentiful employment opportunities but also because the country offers very favorable income tax rates.  Workers in Malaysia mostly work on contracts, and agencies commonly set salary standards depending on work experience and skill set.


The standard and availability of medical services in Malaysia, especially in main cities like Kuala Lumpur, are exceptionally high. With over 225 private hospitals and specialist clinics, an estimated 121 government-backed hospitals equip themselves with latest facilities to treat various illnesses.

Starting a Business & Working in Malaysia

Ranked 6th in ease of doing business with a profound quality of life, new business opportunities await entrepreneurs. For those looking to work in Malaysia, securing an Employment Pass after obtaining a contract is the next step to start your new chapter.


Come down to our office or get in touch with us virtually for company incorporation, visa applications, and other corporate services.


What can I do to make friends with locals?2024-03-26T17:03:58+08:00

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.

What are some working etiquettes I should take note of?2024-03-26T17:03:53+08:00

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.

Will I be able to communicate with the locals?2024-03-26T17:05:09+08:00

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.

Which state has a big expat (foreign workers) community?2024-03-26T17:03:13+08:00

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.

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