Penang Named Second Best Place To Retire In World: Conde Nastadminemanpower
Penang has emerged as the second best place in the world for retirement, according to New York-based travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller, which highlighted its great food, historic architecture, international-standard healthcare, sunny beaches and it’s MM2H program.
World-class medical services at affordable prices and a beautiful island setting are attracting foreigners to retire in Penang.
The Malaysian state also has a large English-speaking community of expats due to the government’s policies, which does not alienate foreigners, said a spokesperson for Alter Domus, a local agency specialising in immigration matters.
In 2002, the authorities introduced the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) scheme, which makes it easy for foreigners to apply for a 10-year visa. There are currently around 29,000 foreigners on the scheme, most of them Chinese nationals.
“Foreigners who are keen to apply for the programme must show that they are financially capable of supporting themselves,” said Averie Seed, Sales and Marketing Manager at real estate firm Zeon Properties.
The basic requirements include a monthly income, liquid assets and a fixed deposit, among other requirements, she noted.
Said Alter Domus’ spokesperson: “The MM2H visa is unrestrictive and you can buy properties under your own name. You don’t need to buy or rent properties in order to get the visa.” Interested applicants can apply for this visa through the MM2H portal.
Spend less, live more
The island’s general cost of living is also much lower than other Asian cities, such as Singapore. According to Seed, you would need to make around S$8,000 a month in Singapore to maintain the same standard of living that you can have with RM8,000 (S$2,700) in Penang, assuming you rent in both cities.
However, there are foreign ownership restrictions on Penang property, which aim to protect the interests of local home buyers. For instance, foreigners can only buy non-landed property worth more than RM1 million (S$335,000), and landed property worth more than RM2 million (S$670,000).
Such prices are still lower than in Singapore. In fact, high-end properties in the city-state range from about S$2,500 psf to S$3,500 psf, while similar properties in Penang cost about RM1,200 psf to RM1,800 psf (S$480 psf to S$720 psf), said Seed.
Healthcare costs in Penang are also roughly 30 percent cheaper than in Singapore, factoring in the current exchange rate. “Generally, specialist consultations cost between RM60 to RM100 (S$20 to S$34), while a bypass ranges from approximately RM50,000 to RM70,000 (S$17,000 to S$23,000),” said Alter Domus’ spokesperson.
And since 2010, Singaporeans and permanent residents residing in Singapore can use their Medisave to pay for hospitalisation and day surgeries at Medisave-accredited hospitals in Malaysia, such as the Parkway Pantai Hospital in Penang, making it even more affordable for patients from Singapore.
Aussie in Penang
Australian travel blogger Sharon Gourlay visited Malaysia last year with her family and spent some time in Penang. The 37-year-old from Melbourne told PropertyGuru that they loved the experience and found the locals friendly and helpful.
“We found it to be a very easy and simple place to live. Within a week of arriving, we had a car, a home, a preschool for the kids and a nice routine,” said Gourlay. “The thing that stood out the most was the food. It is so good and we still talk about it often.”
She also found the cost of living in Penang to be much lower than in Melbourne. “Our monthly budget (in Penang) was AU$3,500 (S$3,600) for our family of four, which covered a big house, car hire, eating out all the time and whatever we wanted to do. In Melbourne, we spend more than this just on our rent. It is crazy!”
News source: PropertyGuru
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