What is the Quality of Life in Malaysia Like?

5 min read|Last Updated: April 19, 2024|

Malaysia has made tremendous strides in achieving quality of life goals such as affordable housing, low cost of living, and better access to social amenities. Let’s uncover the favourable and unfavourable quality areas, and what the government is doing and plans to do in the future to better the lives of people living in the country.

What Is Quality of Life

The ability to access necessities such as food, water, housing, and health services determines an individual’s quality of life.

Other indicators to the quality of life are:

  • GDP – the higher the GDP per person in a country, the higher the quality of life
  • Costs of housing
  • Accessibility to auxiliary resources such as recreation

Living a comfortable life in Malaysia is easy. Quality of life is never a function of what we have access to, but rather, it’s an array of comprehensive indicators that highlight how comfortable people are in their lives and the difficulties they face.

Malaysia’s Global Ranking

Kuala Lumpur ranks well in the most important quality of life factor, having a 57% lower daily cost of living than some US cities such as San Francisco. Aside from low cost of living, Kuala Lumpur has a high quality of life owing to its business freedom and many indulgent leisure activities.

In 2022, Malaysia ranks 38th in digital quality of life, ahead of her neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Thailand that rank 72nd and 49th respectively.

Favourable Quality Areas

There are quite a few favourable quality areas when it comes to the quality of life in Malaysia:

1. Cost of Living

The people in Malaysia have easy access to resources such as basic and auxiliary needs, with a wide array of shopping malls that sell a variety of goods and services at relatively low prices. This is because the corporate tax in Malaysia is low, enabling businesses to sell goods at competitive prices.

2. Housing

Affordable housing is a problem faced by urban centres all over the world. The costs of renting and purchasing properties are increasing, and the higher the housing expenses, the lower the quality of life. This is the case because housing costs take up much of one’s income, leaving relatively little for other expenditures.

Malaysia seems to fare well in maintaining the costs of housing in areas like Penang, where the costs is relatively low.

3. Investment Opportunities

Measuring the quality of life by evaluating the country’s GDP is highly controversial because some people have pointed out that a higher GDP does not necessarily bring about a high quality of life. However, if the economists’ argument holds, then the favourable investment climate will inevitably increase the GDP.

Malaysia’s business climate is good for investment and the claim is supported by the relatively low business taxes. These taxes lead to positive effects on other quality of life factors.

Malaysia Incorporation Specialist Suey

4. Recreation

Most people have the perception that the key to a good quality of life is enjoyment. Malaysia has some of the world’s best shopping malls as well as street peddlers who offer competitive prices for goods. Some of Malaysia’s primary advantages in this area include its scenic beauty, good climate, and accommodating people.

Unfavourable Quality Areas

Like every country, there are always areas where the quality of life may not be the best, and Malaysia is no exception. Some of the unfavourable quality areas include:

1. Power Imbalance

Malaysia has a very diverse population, comprising mainly of the Malays, the Chinese, and the Indians. It is also home to international citizens from Thailand, Europe, and many more.

This diversity also brings about several negative factors that reduce the quality of life. For instance, with low trust levels between races being an issue as well as the political power imbalance, it may not be easy to express oneself in Malaysia. Such barriers to personal freedom tend to lower the quality of life.

2. Foreign Trade

Malaysia’s GDP does not feature anywhere among the top global economies. This is because the Malaysian government are very supportive of local companies with its incentives, but offering lack of incentives to foreigners who wish to set up a company in Malaysia.

Instead of investing in Malaysia, many expatriates come to the country to seek better incomes. Despite the many expatriates who attempt to boost the country’s economy, the quality of life suffers because interaction with the outside world becomes more limited. This reduces chances for development.

3. Human Rights Issues

Upholding of human rights and freedom is a challenge that the Malaysian government face. Currently, there are still a high number of cases of human rights abuses. Some of these abuses included abuse of women, denial of children’s rights through early marriages, denial of freedom of speech for opposition supporters, and police brutality. These injustices affect the country’s quality of life.

Government Efforts to Improve Quality of Life

The Malaysian government’s primary method to improve quality of life has been taxation. Despite their efforts, there have been very few direct interventions made by the Malaysian government to improve life quality within the federal territories.

The government has also lowered the cost of doing business for local firms, which makes production cheaper. Cheaper products translate into lower cost of living for Malaysian citizens. By regulating the local economy, the government has more control over economic growth than if it had been participating in free market trade.

This has, however, not been received well by most international organizations who favour free market trade.

Working & Living in Malaysia

The increase in quality of life in Malaysia through the years has been welcomed by locals and foreigners. More businesses are stepping up their efforts in setting a company in Malaysia because of its low cost of doing business and liveable conditions.

With more businesses in Malaysia, there will be a need for global talents to support operations and creating a healthy cycle that will boost the economy in the long run.


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Which state has the best quality of life in Malaysia?2024-04-02T18:39:32+08:00

Depending on which factor you prioritise, Malaysia has low cost of living in any state. Kuala Lumpur offers commendable amenities and job opportunities and Penang excels in being one of Southeast Asia’s most establishes arts hubs and has great hiking trails, breath-taking rainforests, wildlife and beaches.

What type of cuisines are there in Malaysia?2024-04-02T18:39:36+08:00

The three main cuisines are Chinese, Indian, and Malay, but there are numerous eateries that offer Western Cuisines or Fusion Cuisines that expatriates come to enjoy. The local supermarkets also offer food products from all over the world

How is education system like in Malaysia?2024-04-02T18:39:44+08:00

For those applicants with children, Malaysia offers quality education facilities. There are some excellent internationals schools as well as private colleges and universities which attract many foreigners.

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