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Malaysia - Shopping

Shopping can be either a chore or a pleasure in Malaysia! It is important to familiarize yourself with the supermarkets, shops and other amenities you will need.


Supermarkets are in plentiful supply in Malaysia. Large outlets such as Tesco (British company) and Lulu offer a whole range of goods including electrical goods and home goods. Large stores such as these have everything under one roof. Clothing and footwear are included in these stores. These supermarkets sell international foods and often brands you will recognize from home will be available.

Local Malaysian people are feeling the benefit of these large stores and enjoying many western goods at a cost they can afford. For expats who know these stores, then it is just like being at home. The standard of goods is high and trading standards as a whole are high and foods sold in these supermarkets will on average, be of a high standard.

With supermarket chains such as Tesco expats don’t usually have to import goods they are used to at home as they can easily access them from large supermarkets.

Large supermarkets take all forms of payments such as credit cards, debit cards or cash. Opening hours for supermarkets are dictated by Malaysian shopping hours. Tesco in Kuala Lumpur are as follows:

- Sunday – Thursday – 8am – 11pm
- Friday – Saturday – 8am – 1am

The 24-hour shopping culture has not yet hit Malaysia.

Tesco has over 15 shopping centres in Malaysia and these include the larger Extra stores which sell electrical goods and clothing as well as groceries.

Shopping Malls

There are a number of shopping malls which are becoming a favourite with Malaysian people and this is fast becoming a culture of Malaysian life. Shopping malls can be found out on the outskirts of major cities and have parking facilities and many international stores can be found in malls. There are food markets and clothing outlets in these malls. Health clinics and opticians are also found here. There are coffee shops and food outlets found in shopping malls, too. ATM machines can usually be found in lobbies.

Opening hours are seven days a week and from 8am until 10pm. Some opening times may vary.

There are a whole range of activities available for children and some malls even have crèches where you pay a fee to leave your children to be cared for while you shop in peace.

Online Shopping

With the explosion of the internet and more availability for consumers to shop from overseas, online shopping is increasing in Malaysia. Buying online overseas will usually include paying for postage at the time of purchase. Online shopping sites such as eBay operate in Malaysia. International buying is now becoming a culture in Malaysia and no more than by expats.

Local Shops

There are lovely local shops throughout Malaysia and these are often represented with colourful window designs pertaining to Malaysian culture. These local shops have opening hours that differ from those large supermarkets. Some of these shops open at 10am and will be closed by 6pm.

There is also the well-known American chain of 7-11 dotted around the cities and here you can buy a range of groceries, mobile top-up vouchers and other consumer products. Newspapers can often be purchased at 7-11 stores and they are a frequent site in Malaysia.

Consumer Affairs and Rights

Your rights as a consumer are protected and can be executed at any time. In larger stores there will a consumer policy such as replace or refund. Stores such as Tesco have customer service desks where you can approach if you have a complaint about goods or service and they will activate their own policy. It is primarily down to the policy of each individual company and all companies who are licensed to sell any types of goods are required by law to protect consumers and not sell shoddy goods.

A consumer organisation is in place and here is where you can find your consumer rights:

Malaysia is a shopper’s paradise and with the cost of living much cheaper than in western cultures and in South East Asia, it is most likely you will enjoy the shopping culture and the availability of goods. The culture of shopping in Malaysia is fast becoming westernized and with many international stores popping up, an expat can shop for everything they need in Malaysia.

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