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Malaysia > Living


What to Expect from the Malaysian Way of Life for an Expat Family

Published Friday April 26, 2013 (19:48:49)


Malaysia welcomes expats with open arms and as a result, they have flocked here to enjoy the beautiful weather, affordable living and high quality of life for families. It is said to be one of the best countries in Asia for expats.

Malaysia consists of two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (separated by the South China Sea) and boasts beautiful landscapes, from mountains to the ocean, with something on offer for everyone’s tastes and lifestyle needs. The majority of expats decide to settle in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, where various organizations are available to assist the move for expats and in helping families adjust to Malaysian life. There are also a number of expat clubs available to help families integrate with other expat families.


There are a number of international schools available in Malaysia and education is of a high standard. Six years of primary education are compulsory for school children in Malaysia, with most attending pre-school. Secondary school, for five years, is a choice, which many expats take up. Bahasa Malysia is the language of choice in primary schools, with Chinese and Tamil introduced. For an English education, international schooling is the best choice and Kuala Lumpur holds the majority of these, as well as numerous nursery schools for expat children.


Malaysia has one of the most stable economies in Asia and the country is financially strong. In fact, the economy is growing, perhaps helped by the expat community and increase in highly skilled workers.

The country boasts a new industrialized market economy which has been growing steadily since the 80s, when the focus turned from agricultural work to more industrial work, in line with the new urban feel and changes to the country as a whole.

Malaysia has been concentrating on attracting skilled workers to the country to set up (or return) there and settle. Expats are encouraged to set up their own businesses in the country and the country offers long length visas for expats who specialize in oil/gas, finance and education sectors.

Malaysia is beginning to expand its economy in areas such as science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism. Professional employment opportunities are on offer in a wide range of sectors and the work-life balance is a draw for many expats.

Social Life & Culture

Malaysia offers exotic and exceptional food, with the main influences coming from China and India (curries etc.), but with a variety of Western restaurants in the larger cities.
The country has religious traditions and customs, but is generally liberal and cosmopolitan, with a modern feel.

There are a number of weekend escape locations that are easily accessible. Eating at the restaurants, shopping, going to a bar, playing golf, are all within reach of everybody thanks to the low costs for leisure activities. In fact, the reasonable cost of living in general, is one of Malaysia’s most attractive features and selling points. Malaysia has a diverse mix of cultures, which make it an enjoyable new experience but an easy enough country to settle and adjust to.


Kuala Lumpur is a center of excellence for medicine. Healthcare in Malaysia is first class. They perform a number of medical procedures and treatments, often for people who travel into the country especially to take advantage of the health service (health tourists). Expats learn that not only is the standard of healthcare high, but it is cheap as well and prescriptions are affordable.

Malaysia welcomes expats, with an excellent climate (temperatures of between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius and a June to October dry season) and glorious beaches and stunning landscapes. It is the perfect location for families who want a relaxed lifestyle, a cultural experience in a fairly liberal country and good qualities of education, employment and healthcare. Families can feel safe in the country, as crime is relatively low, and enjoy a lifestyle outdoors, taking advantage of the natural landscape and weather conditions.

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