Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Working in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)

This article should be good for expats (especially for Indians) looking at moving to Kuala Lumpur for Job opportunity. This is purely based on my personal experience and someone needing more detailed or specific information can always look up the information on the internet.

1.How much does one have to pay for a rental house in Kuala Lumpur ? And how much to buy a house...say a 2 BHK one?

Ans: A family of 3-4 people will preferably need to go for atleast a 2 bedroom apartment (Condominium) if available or will have to go in for a 3 bedroom unit. In KL a 2bedroom apartment is also referred to as 4 room apartment (2 bedroom+1 Kitchen+1 Hall) & similarly 5 room in case of 3 bedroom unit. Central KL, Damansara, Mont Kiara, Sri Hartamas, Ampang etc are posh areas in KL & demand high rentals mostly starting from 3K upwards. 
Bedroom - Rentals: RM 1400 - RM 1700 (higher being places closer to city or market)

3 Bedrooms - Rentals: RM 1600 - RM 2000+

I stay near Taman Seputeh or near the Mid-valley Mega Mall, which is a popular mall to hang around. Although our apartments are little off the main road & hence unless one drives,  it is tedious to get hold of taxis, unless you promise to pay them extra on top of the meter reading by RM 5 or so.

Buying House in Malaysia: One can buy house in Malaysia but the condition is that an expat can go for a house costing at least 250,000 and nothing lower than this to own a house. Usually a 2 bedroom house price will start from RM 200,000 or so depending on how old the place is, but the recently built condominiums would start at 350,000 or more.

2.Which are the good/decent residential areas(not very highly priced, though) 
Ans: Most of Indian expats have usually preferred to stay close to the public transport areas or where the Indian items for food, grocery & typical Indian needs are easily available. Based on these criteria, the reasonably decent & not so highly priced residential areas will be as follows:

In the order of preference based on rates:

KL Central Zone Area: 

Brickfields area - Palm Court, Pines Court are few of the condominiums popular (although I personally won't recommend these), Scott Villa Condo, Robson Condo, Robson Heights, Taman Seputeh, Sussana Condominium (high-end) etc.


Bangsar Area:

Araville, Bangsar Indah, Bayu Angkasa, Casa Vista, Cascadium,  Contessa, Desa Bangsaria, Jamnah View, Impian Emas, Pantai Hill Park (Hillpark), Park Rose, Sri Penaga, Sri Wangsaria, Sri Kasturina, Tivoli Villa, etc.




·         Ampang

·         Bandar Sunway

·         Balakong

·         Batu Caves

·         Batu 9 Cheras

·         Kajang

·         Cheras

·         Petaling Jaya

·         Klang

·         Putrajaya

·         Puchong

·         Sepang

·         Selayang

·         Sg. Buloh

·         Seri Kembangan

·         Subang Jaya

·         Shah Alam



Kuala Lumpur


·         Bangsar

·         Ampang

·         Bukit Jalil

·         Brickfields

·         Damansara

·         Cheras

·         Gombak

·         Desa Petaling

·         Jalan Klang Lama

·         Jalan Ipoh

·         Kepong

·         Jalan Kuching

·         Segambut

·         Keramat

·         Setapak

·         Mont' Kiara

·         Sri Petaling

·         Sentul

·         Taman Melawati

·         Sri Hartamas

·         Taman Tun Dr Ismail

·         Sungai Besi


3. How much does spend on an average on commuting ? How much would one spend if one were to buy a car there?

Ans: Public transport is not that great in KL and most comfortable and cheap mode of transport would be to look for buying your own car, wherein you could go in for a local make or foreign car based on your budget. Coming back to public transport the train network is spread across KL region & the network is in such a way that you can hop from one route to another at the intersections although there is no single common station for doing this and varies.


Train: Frequency: peak hours: 3-5 minutes & off Peak Hours: 8 -12 minutes. Usually one will spend between 80 Cents to RM 2.5 for one way journey. I shall give details of the trains running across in my subsequent blog post – KL Train Network


Buses also do cover the KL area and are convenient if you have point to point buses available for your route. But again since the buses use roads they can be stuck in the traffic congestion and can’t be reliable for journeys which are to be completed in target timelines.


Buses: Frequency: peak hours: 10-15 minutes & off Peak Hours: 15-20 minutes. Usually one will spend between 80 Cents to RM 2.5 for one way journey.


Taxis: For emergencies or when traveling members exceed 2 pax then this is the most convenient & fastest mode unless one gets caught in traffic which too is possible only during peak hours or Friday evenings or public holidays depending on the areas one wants to visit. The fare starts at RM 2.00 for regular taxis and starts at RM 4.00 or RM 5.50 for premium taxis. Some special premium taxis charging flat rates like RM 70-100 for airport from the place where you start within KL limits, are also available. Recent times the cars used as taxis has also changed & you can get Hyundai matrix or Proton (National car maker) Waja or Perdana or Kia models as taxis. The normal budget taxi will appear to be small and little uncomfortable as compared to others. Nonetheless the taxis are best mode of travel if you want hassle free journey & want to get to places in shorter time. A word of caution is to make sure you clearly check with the driver that he knows the place you want to go & is not shady character. I personally have had bad experience with the Malaysian India taxi drivers and prefer any other driver.


4. How much does one spend on entertainment there?


This is very subjective although I shall try to give the general cost related to entertainment.



Eating out for 2 persons in an Indian restaurant (Anjappar/ Saravana Bhavan/ Gems) etc: RM 20-30 at least for Vegetarian meal & RM 20-30 more or higher for non-veg meal.

A can of coke: RM 1.20

Big Mac: RM 3.95 & meal: RM 9.95 ( although during current times McD has come up with value meals during lunch time for RM 5.95)

Cigarettes (20): RM 11.00 & above

Bottle of wine: At least RM 30 onwards for something decent, more if you order one at a restaurant

Loaf of bread: RM 2.00 (white) & RM 4.10 (brown)

Starbucks drink: RM 8 onwards

Movie ticket: RM 11 onwards on weekends and public holidays & weekdays at RM 8

One hour at an internet cafe: RM 2


Mobile phone: Deposit (RM 500) + RM 50/ 80/ 120 depending on the plan – one could also opt for prepaid phones which are available with top-ups in small amounts.

Home computer: RM 1700

Laptop: RM 2500

DVD player: RM 100 onwards

Plasma TV : RM 1800 onwards depending on make

5. Normally how much goes off in tax deduction, what is the computation?


Ans: Please check my blog under Country Guide - Individual Income Tax - Salaried Employee for Kuala Lumpur although just an important point to note - if you stay less than 183 days in a calendar year in Malaysia be ready to pay 28% flat as tax on your income. If you stay more than 183 days in a calendar year make sure you check all the benefits available for any type of insurance investments or any other purchases made on personal front.


6. If one goes on a spouse visa, can the spouse take up a job legally there?

Ans: Spouse is given a dependant Visa when he or she travels with the person on employment pass. This directly does not allow the spouse to work & is considered illegal. Spouse would need a working permit for working with any company in Malaysia. Advantage in getting job is good for spouses from IT industry. Other professionals like Sales, Doctors, Teachers, etc are usually hard to find a job but if you know some people & try smartly one could get job.

Malays who make up about 57% of the population, followed in order by the Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups.

Bahasa Malaysia is the national language which everyone speaks to a certain degree, but English is widely spoken. The Chinese and Indians are able to speak a variety of dialects while the ethnic groups have their own unique language.

Malaysians live in a multireligious society. Islam is the official religion but other religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism are practised.

Malaysia has a tropical climate with warm weather all year round with consistent rainfall, more towards the year-end. Temperatures range from 21°C to 32°C. Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm.

 I would welcome any specific queries & would appreciate if you could leave your comments or suggestions. Please do share this with someone in need of this kind of information around you.

All the best!!!!!



vivek said...

Hi Amol,
Can I get ur email id pls. I am coming to KL with my family I am in IT form Pune, will be working for IT firm in the TPM, Bukit Jalil. I need some understating from ur end on the curies I have. THnaks

Amolsledge said...

Hi Vivek

Thank you for visiting my blog..

You can send me your email & I can write to you..