Retiree Benefits In Malaysia
“Many countries have appeal and find their way onto the prospective expat’s list,” writes Correspondent Wendy Justice, picking up where she left off yesterday in her Why Malaysia report.
“The trouble can start when you begin to research immigration. The red tape involved with living abroad can be intimidating, and, for many, the criteria can be impossible to fulfill.
“For that reason, if you’re interested in Asia, I suggest you take a good look at Malaysia. Unlike many of its neighbors, Malaysia makes immigration easy.
“Most nationalities can enter Malaysia with a 90-day ‘social visit’ stamp you can get from immigration at the airport. If you want to stay in the country more than 90 days, simply take a brief trip across the border and re-enter Malaysia with a fresh 90-day pass. You can do this indefinitely.
“However, you don’t have to mess with these border runs if you don’t want to. Malaysia offers a long-term immigration option called Malaysia My Second Home, or MM2H. With MM2H status, you are eligible for a multiple-entry visa good for 10 years.
“In addition, as an MM2H retiree in Malaysia, you are able to import household belongings and a vehicle into the country duty-free. You can even bring a maid with you, if you want.
“Furthermore, while the MM2H program is intended primarily for retirees, under new laws, it is now possible for certain MM2H visa holders to take a job or to own a business in Malaysia.
“Foreigners, with or without an MM2H visa, can own property in Malaysia, as long as you spend at least 250,000 Malaysian ringgit (or MYR; at today’s exchange rate, that’s about US$70,000)…at least MYR300,000, or US$85,000, in Sarawak.
“What can you buy for your US$70,000?
“A luxury, one-bedroom, high-rise condominium on the island of Penang, overlooking the beach, can easily be found for that price.
“As can a high-rise unit in the upscale Golden Triangle area of Kuala Lumpur, with views of the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin-towers in the world.
“Single-family homes in desirable neighborhoods around KL are available for MYR250,000 to MYR350,000 (US$70,000 to US$100,000); outside KL, prices are lower.
“You could buy a brand-new, luxury, single-family home in Ipoh, for example, for well under US$100,000.
“To put this into perspective…you’re buying a new home at this highly affordable price in a place with reliable high-speed internet, reliable electricity and telephone, modern plumbing, and clean tap water. This isn’t Third World living.
“And, of course, you don’t have to buy. Whenever you move somewhere new, you should rent first, while you get to know the place. And maybe you want to rent indefinitely.
“Renting in Malaysia is a straightforward process. You have no minimum spending requirement. Landlords will insist on at least a six-month lease, and most prefer one year. Rents vary considerably. KL, of course, is the most expensive place to live in the country. Even in KL, though, you can find a one-bedroom condominium in a good neighborhood, even in the trendy KL City Center, for about MYR1,000 (US$280) a month.
“I lived in a modern high-rise with a swimming pool, recreation room, squash court, and 24-hour security, in a fully furnished three-bedroom apartment, and paid (MYR2,000) (US$560) a month.
“And, again, this was in the most expensive city in the country!
“If you prefer beaches to city life, a comparable unit in Penang would cost about one-third less.
“And, again, I have to make the point that you’re not taking on a Third World lifestyle.
“Malaysia boasts an efficient and well-developed transportation infrastructure, especially impressive in KL. Serviced by most major airlines, the modern international airport offers fast and easy connections into the city via high-speed Skytrain.
“KL is also served by several budget airlines, making it a hub for affordable and convenient travel throughout Asia.
“You can get from anywhere in the city to anywhere else using the extensive light-rail system. The ultra-modern monorail whisks commuters from KL Sentral through the city center to Titiwangsa. Additionally, KL is serviced by bus companies that will take you anywhere in the city for less than a dollar. Finally, taxis are everywhere…and metered.”
P.S. Wendy’s husband, David Justice, sends photos. Take a look.