KL Top Choice Of Expatriates IN Malaysia
By TAN KARR WEI
KUALA LUMPUR is becoming the top choice for foreigners wanting to live in the country under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.
According to The Expat Group managing director J. Andrew Davison, the earlier groups of people who came often picked places like Penang.
“Penang has always been a tourist destination in Malaysia because of its historical connection. Many tourists go straight to Penang without coming to KL,” Davison said.
Our home now: Paul and Natasha Godbold finds comfort in the cosmopolitan environment of Kuala Lumpur.
The Expat Group is the one of the approved agencies for the MM2H programme. It publishes a few magazines and a MM2H guide for expatriates living in the country.
Due to some changes in the rules, the British and Japanese are now among the top nationalities applying for the MM2H visa. Previously, about four years ago, applications from China and Bangladesh topped the list.
“Certain groups of people prefer KL because it is a developed and modern city. They don’t want to live in or too near the city centre. Their favourite residential areas are the upmarket condos or apartments within a gated community as they feel more secure in these places. Many are nervous about houses,” Davison said.
More relaxing: Stephen and Bella Howse loves the less hectic lifestyle in Kuantan and are pictured here in the garden of the house that they bought there.
For Raymond and Joy Keys, having school-going children was a big incentive to stay in KL rather than in another state.
“I was working in Malaysia in 1999 and my contract expired in 2002. We didn’t want to disrupt the children’s studies so we decided to stay on in Malaysia under the MM2H programme,” said Raymond, 56.
The Keys and their children Rory, 15, and Stuart, 13, live in an apartment near the Mid Valley Megamall on the outskirts of the Kuala Lumpur city centre.
Their home is far from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, yet they have the convenience of the amenities and entertainment facilities at the megamall.
The Keys, originally from Britain, had stayed in places like Hungary and Thailand but decided to settle down in Malaysia.
According to Raymond, one reason that they chose KL is the language.
At ease: Raymond and Joy Keys have happily settled down in Kuala Lumpur with their children Rory (left) and Stuar t (right) under the Malaysia My Second Home programme
“Even though some people spoke English in Hungary or Thailand, I would still need an interpreter if I needed something done in the apartment, like if I were to hire a plumber. In Malaysia, there’s never been an issue,” he said.
“Coming here is like coming home. I could find things in the shops here that I would in Britain, silly little things like ginger biscuits which I couldn’t get in Thailand,” said Joy, 52.
Raymond said although the cost of living in KL was not as low as it used to be, there were some things he could enjoy here which he would not be able to do in Britain.
“I could just go out to the mamak stall to get a roti telur or tosai for very little because the cost of food is cheaper here,” he said.
Paul and Natasha Godbold were used to living in a lush green area in Nottingham, England, but they opted to live in KL when they came to Malaysia under MM2H programme in March this year.
“My mother is actually from Penang. I’ve been there before so we considered living there but it is becoming too busy,” said Paul, 40.
Natasha, 30, agreed: “It’s a big island and there is only so much you can do there, only so many places you can go.”
Paul and Natasha were previously company directors in Britain before they decided to sell off their businesses and retired at their youthful age.
“We tried to look at other areas like Malacca but we realised not as many people spoke English in smaller towns,” Paul said.
“We decided to stay in KL because it’s the city centre and more people spoke English,” Natasha said.
According to Paul, he feels that KL is safer for foreigners because there are more people who they could relate to.
The Godbolds have since settled into an apartment in Wangsa Maju but have bought a house near the city centre.
“We looked at some beautiful houses in Sungai Buloh but after we went down to the local shopping mall, we realised there are not as many foreigners there,” Paul said.
For Stephen and Bella Howse who decided to call Kuantan home, smaller towns away from KL offered them a more peaceful surrounding.
“A friend took us around and gave us a good introduction.