Cost of living in Malaysia….Too high ?


The argument in this thread from day one is the cost of living in each country (especially UK and Europe) based on what you earn in the respective country and whether the standards are higher than in Malaysia.I tried to point out that many Malaysians always convert their currency and that is why they say the UK is expensive. In fact, the cost of living is much cheaper than in Malaysia.

In actual fact, Malaysians are being conned because for such a rich and resource rich country, the pay in Malaysia is way too low compared to the cost of living and inflation.

One good example is Singapore.

Singaporeans (average) earns around S$3000 to S$4000 and nearly everything is half the price of Malaysia. E.g. clothes, computer parts, electronics etc. But the average Malaysian still earns M$2000 plus and goods are double the price of Singapore.

This is the same as the UK. If you earn around 2000 pounds, you can liken this to the person earning RM$2000 in Malaysia. I give you some examples below. Maybe you can understand.

1) Good terrace house

It is more or less the same. If you want a house in KL, it would most probably be in Puchong and not Damansara Heights. So your house would be RM$200,000. In UK, you can get a decent new house in Zone 6 (still within the tube) for 200,000 pounds.

If non London, you can get a nice house also for less than 200,000 pounds outside London. The same also applies to buying a house in Seremban, Kajang etc. You can buy a nice house for RM200,000 below.

So buying a house is ! the same for the local and the Malaysian. Renting a place is the same too or maybe cheaper than in Malaysia (I am not sure of this).A 2-bedroom flat in London is about 750 pounds (Zone 2).500 pounds outside Zone 6 but still able to commute to London. A 2-bedroom house in Nottingham is 450 to 500 pounds. A 3-bedroom house in Belfast is about 300 pounds.

2) A car

A good Proton is RM$55,000. Most Malaysians have to take 7-9 year loans and be in debt all the time. If you are earning RM$2000 a month, you take nearly 3 years saving the RM$2000 with not eating at all just to buy a Proton. In UK, the average local earns about 2000 pounds. He saves 3 months, he can buy outright a good Ford Fiesta or a Vauxhall Corsa without being in debt.

If buying a second hand car, even better. A 1990 Mercedes 190E cost 500 pounds. My 1996 Mercede! s E220 cost 2000 pounds. My friend just gave me his 1989 Honda Accord (Auto) for free because he said he could only get 30 pounds for it. I used it for a few months and decided to give it of for free too.

That alone speaks for itself.

Even if you are kuli or an office boy, you still can drive a Mercedes or a BM. Yes, kuli’s and office boy’s get paid quite well. Average temp/office boy in London can earn about 7 to 10 pounds and hour. Overtime is 1.5 times or double.

A brick-layer can earn 20 pounds an hour. The same Indon who lays bricks in Malaysia earns RM$50 for the whole day.

Before I became a doctor, I used to be an office boy and I earned near 300 pounds a week working about 70 hours a week.

My makan was 30 pounds a week. My rent was 70 pounds a week for a room but I still drove a BMW back then. I bought the 10-year old BMW! 3 Series car for 200 pounds.

Amazing how an office boy can drive a safe and luxurious car.

3) Petrol.

For a UK person earning 2000 pounds, 80 pence a litre/gallon is cheaper than RM$1.52 paid in Malaysia. If you don’t convert, it is like paying 80 sen a litre in Malaysia

4) Shopping

20 pounds (which is 1% of 2000 pounds) can buy you 1 week’s worth of groceries in Tesco. RM$200 (which is 10% of RM$2000) can also buy you 1 week’s worth of groceries in Giant or Carrefour.

5) Utility Bills (This is what I pay in UK)

1. Virtually non-stop heating the whole day only 20 pounds a month. (Only 1% of the 2000 pounds earned)

2. Electricity, I use my electricity maximum only 20 pounds a month. (Only 1% of the 2000 pounds earned)

3. My water bill also comes to about 20 pounds a month (Only 1% of the 2000 pounds earned)

4. My internet – I get 2Mbps for about 25 pounds (Bulldog DSL) (Also slightly above 1% of the 2000 pounds earned)

5. Astro Equivalent (NTL cable or Sky) – 30 pounds per month (Also slightly above 1% of the 2000 pounds earned)

In Malaysia, this is what I used to pay:

1. Tenaga Bill comes to RM$200 to RM300 a month with 3 air-cons. This is more than 10% of the RM$2000 earned)

2. Water (Puas) comes to RM$40 (This is about 2% of the RM$2000 earned)

3. Astro RM$100 (if you take Chinese package) (This is about 5% of the RM$2000 you earn)

4. Internet Streamyx 512K RM 88 per month (This is about 5% of RM2000 you earn)


6). Books:

A good book is about 10 to 15 pounds in the UK. This is less than 1% of the 2000 pounds you earn. In Malaysia, you have to spend RM$75 to RM$100 for a decent book in MPH or Kinokuniya in KLCC. This is about 5% of the RM$2000 ringgit you earn.

7). Education:

I think it is about RM$20,000 per year to do a degree in Sunway Monash and about RM$12,000 per year to send your kid to UM, UKM, USM etc.

I am not sure about this.

But in UK, it is only 3000 pounds a year to send your kid to a great university. That also, the white man still makes a lot of noise because the grants were taken away. Previously, it was virtually free for the English man to send his kid to university but now, since the grant was taken away, he has to spend 3000 pounds per year to send his kid to university and less money to get drunk in the pub.

Well, if you are earning RM$2000 ringgit, sending your kid to UM to study is quite difficult. If you are earning 2000 pounds per month, you can easily send you kid to university in the UK.

Even worse for the ! poor non bumi’s not given a place in local university.

Even if they can afford, they won’t get a place because of the quota system. Unfortunately, the Chinaman and the Indian who gets 5A’s in STPM have to be sacrificed and not given a place to let the Malay fellow with 2E’s and 3 Fail’s to enter the Medical Faculty or Law Faculty.

So the non-bumi’s have to save RM100,000 per year to send their kid to the UK. In the UK, at least the white man still can go into university based on results and merit and only pay 3000 pounds per year.

8) Luxuries

Panasonic Plasma TV in Malaysia about RM20,000. If you are earning RM$2000 a month, memang mahal! You have to save 2 years your monthly salary to buy it.

In UK, the same Panasonic ironically, Panasonic plasma is made in Japan and Japan is close to Malaysia, so the plasma should be cheaper in Malaysia) is only 2000 pounds! And this is only 10% of the 2000 pounds earned.

9) Health

NHS is free. Though the service is slow, quality is still there. You still can get a top quality by-pass for free although you may have to wait many months.

In Malaysia, IJN charges RM$30,000. SJMC charges RM$50,000. GH is free but as many people know, GH and UH have clown doctors. (For example doctors who wear tudung and use a pen to touch the patient because scared dosa).

10) Assessments to local councils

I may pay high council tax but at least my council assures my streets are clean and safe, got no holes (pot holes) on my roads, and they jump and attend to me whenever I call them.

When I stayed in Malaysia, I paid my assessment and quit rent but MPSJ (I lived in Subang) told me to “podah” whenever I asked them to come and fill up the pot holes, cut the long lalang, put street lighting etc.

The councils, especially MPPJ and MPSJ, were more interested in eating nasi lemak and going for 10 teh tariks in a day during office hours and hardly did anything for their residents.


11) Income Tax

My national insurance and income tax also is not wasted. When I was unemployed in 1997, the government via social security paid for my 2-bedroom flat for one whole year and I was given about 100 pounds per week for me and my wife to live on. I am happy to know that one day if I lose my job, I can still claim social security and get my apartment paid and food to eat again for free. It is a good security to know.

The list goes on. Here alone you can see, the sterling you earn goes a long way in the UK. So your quality of life is far better in the UK than a Malaysian in Malaysia. It is just that Malaysians are just too content with what they have.! But you compare apple for apple.

The British just love to complain. They have it made but still they love to complain. Nothing is good enough for the British. The government gives the citizens so much but they still seem to want more and more.

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