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Twilight zone

Malaysia is the best place in Asia to lay one’s hat, according to a recent survey of global retirement destinations

Southeast Asia has been drawing expatriates looking for a low cost of living and sunnier climes for years now. Thailand and the Philippines are favourites, but it is Malaysia that is being touted as offering the retiree the most. According to International Living’s (IL) Annual Retirement Index, Malaysia is the best country in Asia for one to spend their twilight years.
The government has been wooing expats since 2012 with its Malaysia My Second Home programme, and through this it claims to have persuaded nearly 20,000 foreigners to set up home in the country. More recently, the government has established an Expatriate Service Division, which aims to help people settle in to their new home more easily. Along with this, the country is now increasing the number of ten-year visas it hands out.
IL estimates that one can live comfortably in Malaysia for $1,700 a month – including rent. Attractive properties can be found next to spectacular beaches, on cool hill stations and in vibrant cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
Of course, for the older retiree, access to affordable, good-quality healthcare is a major concern. No problem, says IL. Many of Malaysia’s healthcare professionals have trained in Western countries and speak good English – a bonus, if the patient speaks English, of course.
On the cultural side, IL mentions the diverse ethnic mix in Malaysia and the fact that older people are given more respect than they might in their country of birth. Added to this, the locals are friendly and will welcome foreigners into their homes with abandon, suggests IL.
But who is going to do the ironing? No problem, according to IL. Live-in maids can be hired for about $400 per month to do those nasty, boring chores.
Head out for some food and a decent dinner can be bought for as little as $3, according to IL. And when it comes to alcohol, the expat staple of a cool gin and tonic can be enjoyed for just $2. Chin-chin!
 
Also view:
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Public enemies – Gang warfare has gripped Malaysia, and while authorities have upped their game against organised crime, little is being done to address the roots of the problem
Keeping the past perfect – Amid the screech of progress, the battle is on to preserve Malaysia’s architectural charms

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