Living in Malaysia guide for expats

All the information you need to relocate and live in Malaysia.

Our selection of articles for expatriation in Malaysia

The healthcare system in Malaysia

If you are moving to Malaysia alone or with your family, you will be happy to learn that this country has one of the best ...

Accidents and emergencies in Malaysia

Nobody is safe from an accident, an infection, or other health problems, in Malaysia or anywhere else. Before you decide to ...

Pregnancy and childbirth in Malaysia

It is not always very easy to give birth to a child when you are far from your country and the support of your family. Luckily ...

Expat death in Malaysia

The loss of a loved one is always a painful ordeal, but also often complicated for those left behind, especially if it happens in ...

Meeting new people in Malaysia

Malaysia is a true melting pot of cultures. The country brings together people and residents from all over the world. It is, by ...

Work permit in Malaysia

Malaysia is a growing financial, technological and commercial hub in Southeast Asia. Kuala Lumpur, its historic capital, attracts ...

Business license in Malaysia

Malaysia is a country full of opportunities. It is an essential economic platform in Southeast Asia. Therefore, many expatriates ...

Study in Malaysia

Malaysia's Ministry of Higher Education monitors the country's institutions. This is to ensure that they deliver ...

Accommodation in Malaysia

Finding accommodation in Malaysia is relatively simple as there is no shortage of accommodation for foreigners in this country ...

Accommodation in Subang Jaya

Formerly a district of Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya is one of the largest cities in the Klang Valley. It has seen significant ...

Accommodation in Johor Baharu

Johor Bahru is located in the southernmost region of Peninsular Malaysia, just across the border with Singapore. In fact, many ...

Accommodation in Seremban

Living in Seremban allows you to enjoy the best of two worlds. On one side while living in this city, you can take advantage of ...

Accommodation in Klang

The former capital of the state of Selangor, Klang is best known for being home to the state's royal family. Port Klang is ...

Accommodation in Ipoh

Compared to major cities in Southeast Asia, Ipoh is a more affordable choice and a dream come true for nature lovers. Ipoh is ...

The Malaysian lifestyle

Malaysia is such a melting pot of geographical, cultural and social diversity that there is something for every lifestyle ...

About Malaysia

Its major cities are fast developing and offer all modern amenities, international schools, good healthcare, and a generally high standard of living, which makes it attractive to professionals, families and retirees alike. Concurrently, its social and geographic diversity appeals to those with a penchant for architecture, food, culture and exploration. It is also a central South-East Asian travel hub where English is widely spoken, and a plethora of low-cost airlines makes it an affordable and convenient base.

In the 2017 Annual Global Retirement Index, Malaysia has been ranked as the 6th best place in the world to retire, and was the only country in Asia to make the top 10. Unrivalled public transport, clean and modern cities, idyllic islands, world-class food, and a low cost of living were cited as just some of the reasons for this ranking.

Geography and demographics

Malaysia is a veritable melting pot, with 13 states and three federal territories that range across a variety of landscapes, including lush rainforests, pristine beaches and cosmopolitan cities. It also boasts four UNESCO World Heritage Sites (two cultural, two natural) ' the Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley, Gunung Mulu National Park, Kinabalu Park and the Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca, which are George Town and Melaka.

The country is divided into two distinct parts ' Peninsular Malaysia, which lies south of Thailand; and East Malaysia, which lies on the island of Borneo. Peninsular and East Malaysia are separated by the South China Sea, and together share land borders with Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia. Peninsular Malaysia is currently connected to Singapore across the Johor Strait by two bridges, but there are also plans to develop a cross-border Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system to enhance the connection.

Malaysia's biggest cities are its capital of Kuala Lumpur, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown on Penang Island, Ipoh, and Johor Bahru.

Based on recent estimates by the United Nations, the population of Malaysia is around 31 million, 77% of which reside in urban centres. A myriad of indigenous ethnic groups live throughout Malaysia, but the country's main three ethnic groups are the Malays, Chinese and Indians. The Malays are the largest of these, making up over 50% of the population, while the Malaysian Chinese form about 25% of the population, and the Malaysian Indians make up about 10%. The fusion of these cultures makes for a fascinating country and a multicultural society.


Each ethnic group living in Malaysia has its own language and, in addition to this, different regional dialects are also spoken. 134 living languages are believed to still be in practice across the country. However, Bahasa Malaysia, often referred to as Malay, has been the country's official language since 1968, and it is the most commonly spoken due to the majority of the population being of Malay ethnicity. Many people also speak English ' as it is compulsory at school ' and it is widely considered to still be the business language, despite its decline since Malaysia gained independence from the British.

Due to the mixed range of influences, language in Malaysia tends to be quite fluid and Malaysians have a tendency to mix languages while speaking. Many locals also adopt a version of English referred to as 'Manglish', which is a fusion of several languages spoken in the country, with English as the base.


The production of raw natural resource materials, such as rubber and tin, used to be Malaysia's economic foundation, but, since the 1970s, the country has developed a well-diversified economy and has become a leading exporter of electrical appliances and compononents, as well as palm oil and natural gas. It is one of 13 countries to have recorded average growth of more than 7% per year for 25 years and the economic outlook of the country remains favourable, thanks to an improvement in global trade.

As a result of the country's progress in the fields of information and communication technology, science and tourism, as well as its tax incentives in different sectors to encourage investments, Malaysia has become an attractive hub for foreign and local businesspeople.


The tropical climes only serve to heighten Malaysia's appeal to foreigners. It is mainly hot and humid all year-round, with temperatures ranging from 21ºC to 32ºC in most places, but it's considerably cooler in the highlands. Different parts of the country have different wet and dry seasons, but rainfall patterns vary between 2,000 and 2,500mm per year, and rain is an expected and refreshing part of life in Malaysia.


Employment opportunities and a relatively low cost of living in Malaysia attract many foreign professionals, especially to the capital of Kuala Lumpur. As Malaysians are largely well educated and suitable for many roles, there are restrictions in certain sectors when it comes to hiring foreigners. However, there are still labour shortages in some fields due to fast growth, and there are opportunities in the country's National Key Economic Areas.

Nevertheless, a foreign national must fulfil a strict criteria to gain the right to work in Malaysia ' only highly-skilled, qualified or experienced professionals are considered.

Quick Information

Capital : Kuala Lumpur
Official Languages : English , Chinese , Tamil , Telugu , Malayalam , Panjabi; Punjabi , Thai
Currency : Ringgit
Area : 329750 Km2
Population : 28274729
Calling Code : +60

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