5 reasons why you should retire to Malaysia

Did you know that Malaysia was voted the fifth best country in the world to retire in? Well, according to a specialist relocation magazine ‘International Living’ in 2019, Malaysia placed 5th whereas Thailand managed to grab the 9th place. These two countries were the only Asian countries that made the Global Top 10 list.

You might be wondering where the best place to settle in after retiring is. If what you’re looking for is a place with a vibrant multicultural setting, modern cities, great healthcare facilities and a low cost of living, then Malaysia might be the place for you.

Here are some of the many reasons that make Malaysia one of the best countries to retire in away from your home country.


  1. Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Programme

One of the main reasons Malaysia is the best country to retire in is because of the MM2H Programme. The Malaysian government is fairly hospitable towards foreign retirees and working expatriates as compared to other countries.  The MM2H programme is a visa initiative promoted by the Malaysian Government, and allows foreigners to obtain a 10 year, renewable, multiple-entry social visit pass when they fulfil certain criteria.

The criteria require the applicants to be 50 years of age and above, have clean security and criminal records, as well as being financially stable.

This programme makes Malaysia a very attractive location for foreigners looking to reside in the country after retirement. It also provides great opportunities for foreigners to make major investments and business deals in the country.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), about 40,000 MM2H applications have been approved for more than 130 countries from 2002 to 2018. Applicants from China contributed the highest number with 11,820 applications, followed by Japan (4,618) and Bangladesh (4,018).


  1. Affordable housing options

Malaysia may very well be the perfect place for foreign retirees and working expatriates to live in, as it allows foreigners to purchase any number of residential properties in the country, subject to the minimum price established for foreigners by the different states.

The Economic Planning Unit (EPU) had revised the minimum threshold on the acquisition of properties by foreign interests from RM500, 000 to RM1 million, effective March 1, 2014, which is stipulated nationwide.

Although there are certain rules and restrictions when it comes to buying your own home, the entire buying process for a foreigner is the same as a local buyer and it is one of the few places in Asia whereby you can buy property freehold.

According to Juwai.com, China’s biggest international property website, Malaysia is the top choice for Chinese investors and developers, with Kuala Lumpur, Johor, and Melaka being its most sought after areas. 48% of Chinese corporate investment in Malaysia today is in real estate while the number of residential real estate buyers from China has more than tripled since 2015.

Read more

5 affordable properties in Klang Valley

Foreigner’s guide to buying property in Malaysia

  1.  Low cost of living

Other than that, the strongest deciding factor when it comes to moving to another country would probably be the cost of living. Part of Malaysia’s biggest appeal for foreign retirees is the low cost of living as they often find that their retirement nest egg in their home currencies could last even longer when converted into the Malaysian Ringgit (RM).

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Malaysia is 46.09% lower than in the United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Malaysia is 74.23% lower than in the United States (average data for all cities).

For instance, when converting USD 2,500 to Malaysian Ringgit, it equals to approximately MYR 10,000, a retired couple living in Malaysia could live a rather comfortable life with that amount of money, provided they do not shop for luxurious high-end brands and have overly expensive hobbies. There’s a big possibility that retired expatriates would be able to enjoy a relaxing lifestyle in Malaysia rather than the countries that they originate from.

Milk (regular), (1 liter) 1.59
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 0.77
Rice (white), (1kg) 0.91
Eggs (regular) (12) 1.20
Local Cheese (1kg) 10.69
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) 2.85
Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) 6.37
Apples (1kg) 2.31
Banana (1kg) 1.21
Oranges (1kg) 2.13
Tomato (1kg) 1.06
Potato (1kg) 0.78
Onion (1kg) 0.83
Lettuce (1 head) 0.81
Water (1.5 liter bottle) 0.51
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 14.20
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) 1.98
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) 2.72
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) 4.02

The average food prices (US dollars) in Malaysia sourced from Numbeo.com


  1. Excellent Health Care and Medical Centres

Another factor that contributed to Malaysia’s high ranking is the exceptional healthcare facilities and medical centres. Many people from different countries have travelled to Malaysia seeking high-quality healthcare at a low cost.

International Living magazine’s Annual Global Retirement Index had voted Malaysia as the ‘Best Country in the World for Healthcare’ in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 — ahead of France, Thailand, Ecuador, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Malaysia has an appeal for retired foreigners and working expatriates with its affordable health care cost, the latest medical technology and highly trained medical professionals.

Furthermore, hospitals in Penang and Kuala Lumpur are among Southeast Asia’s first recipients of the United States’ prestigious Joint Commission International (JCI) certification, which is regarded as the gold standard for health care service providers around the world. There are 10 JCI accredited hospitals located in Malaysia. Foreign retirees and working expatriates can rest assured that the provided medical treatments are up to world standards.


  1. Great Universities and Educational facilities

Those planning to retire to Malaysia who are worried about their children’s education can find several excellent international schools in the region such as St Joseph’s Institution international school, the international school of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) and more.

Malaysia plays host to branch campuses of top international universities, such as the UK’s University of Nottingham or Australia’s Monash University, providing an opportunity to obtain a degree accredited by these institutions at a fraction of the cost.

On the other hand, Malaysia also has many local high-quality universities including Universiti Malaya (ranked 70th in the world), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, the International Islamic Universiti Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi MARA.

There is no need to worry about the costs of education in Malaysia as the country is undoubtedly one of the most affordable countries to study when it comes to the cost of living. Kuala Lumpur came first for affordability in the QS Best Student Cities 2016, and most students will only need approximately MYR 14,400 (USD 3,550) per year to live comfortably in Malaysia.

Final Word

Now that you have learned about what makes Malaysia one of the best retirement destinations, you can probably consider Malaysia as a potential country to relocate to.

Having thoughts of relocating to a different country? Here at IQI, we provide services in finding our clients their dream home with the budget that is suitable for them. Talk to us and we’ll provide a free consultation!

Related posts

A Malaysian SPM Graduate’s Journey in Becoming An Influencer


5 Trendiest Interior Design Ideas For Your New Home!


Get To Know Deepavali Customs and Traditions!