Useful Information on Living in Malaysia

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The Language Barrier in Malaysia

Doing business in Malaysia may be quite simple in that English is the country’s secondary language, and is commonly used by professionals. However, living in Malaysia may prove to have its difficulties in day to day life, because the primary language of the country is Bahasa Malaysian and many of the locals will not be familiar with English.

Weather & Climate

Living in Malaysia will be quite an adjustment from life in the UK, in regards to the weather alone. There is minimal temperature change throughout the year in Malaysia; usually staying between 27 and 32°C during the day and rarely dropping below 20°C at night.

Malaysia has a typical tropical climate with high humidity levels, high temperatures and varying levels of rainfall. Living in Malaysia is likely to expose you to typhoons, especially between July and November, which may restrict your daily life at time. These could even cause damage to your home if you live in a high risk area along the coast.

British Embassy in Malaysia

Address:British High Commission
Level 27 Menara Binjai
2 Jalan Binjai
Kuala Lumpur, 50450
Phone:(+6) 03 2170 2200
Fax: (+6) 03 2170 2370
Website:https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-high-commission-kuala-lumpur
Office hours:Local Time
Mon-Thu: 08.00 – 12.30 and 13.15 – 16.30
Fri: 08.00 – 12.30

Emergency Service Contact Information in Malaysia

Emergency ServiceContact Number
Police & Ambulance Service999
Fire Service994
From a Mobile112


Health in Malaysia

Those planning on leaving the UK to live in Malaysia should visit their GP to seek medical advice, and find out about any vaccinations that may be needed. In addition to the UK’s standard MMR and Tetanus top-up injections, you might also be recommended Diphtheria, Rabies, Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B, and Japanese Encephalitis. In addition to this, a Yellow fever vaccination certificate will be demanded from those aged 1 year or over, if they are travelling from – or through – a country that has a Yellow fever risk.

The inhabitants of Malaysia are becoming increasingly aware of public health and are taking actions to improve it. Things like smoking in public have been made illegal and can result in up to 2 years imprisonment.

Malaysia is a high risk country for insect spread diseases, especially mosquito-borne ones, such as Dengue fever and Malaria. Both diseases can be extremely debilitating and dangerous, which is why the use of mosquito repellents is strongly recommended. You should visit your GP for medical advice against these and research where you’ll be living in Malaysia to see if you’ll be in a high risk region. View the Malaria Map of Malaysia

The standard of healthcare in Malaysia is high, and is constantly evolving to include the latest treatments in many specialist areas. Many medical establishments in Malaysia receive internationally recognised accreditation. The medical practitioners are also generally highly qualified and receive international training in the latest medical techniques and treatment options.

Malaysia has both public and private health care services, both of which are inexpensive compared to Western healthcare. Its major cities are popular locations for medical tourists because of the relatively cheap services and high expertise in specialist medical areas. Expats planning on living in Malaysia are encouraged to participate in the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) which allows individuals to save money for future medical services and/or retirement living costs.

A comprehensive health insurance policy is strongly advised for any British expat looking to live in Malaysia. Most British expats living in Malaysia choose to use health insurance to gain access to private medical care. Although this is more expensive than using public medical care services, it significantly reduces waiting time and provides more in-depth service.

Driving In Malaysia

One thing that will make it easier to adjust to life in Malaysia is the fact that they drive on the left. This, coupled with the world-class highways, will make driving seem quite familiar to all British Expats living in Malaysia.

Although Malaysia maintains world-class highways, many expats tend to take advantage of the developed public transport systems. This could be because of the traffic congestion in city centres. Another consideration you should take into account is tolls and parking charges, which are common in the major Malaysian cities. For this you should think about registering for a Touch ‘n Go Card, which will allow you to securely make payments for parking and tolls without needing to carry pockets full of coins all day.

You will be allowed to drive on your UK drivers licence while living in Malaysia for up to three months, or up to a year if you have an International Driving Permit (IDP). After this, you will need to convert your UK driving licence into a local Malaysian driving licence.

Getting your Malaysian Driving Licence

Before converting your UK licence into a Malaysian one, you will need to first obtain a Certificate of Entitlement (D737). This needs to be done by contacting the DVLA on (+44) 300 790 6801.

Once you have this, you will need to contact your local JPJ (Malaysian Road Transport Department). In order to convert your licence into a Malaysian one, you will need:

  • Your Passport (Original and Copy)
  • Your UK Driving Licence (Original and Copy)
  • A colour photograph (25mmX32mm)
  • Certificate of Entitlement from DVLA
  • The Appropriate Fee (Varies between local JPJs)

Once you have received approval from the Director General, you will need to resubmit your application along with the complete JPJL1 application form and the correct fees.

Legal Requirements

As in the UK, the minimum age to drive in Malaysia is 17.

You should be extra careful to avoid drink driving while living in Malaysia as any charges will be registered on your passport number. This could result in it being difficult for you to exit or enter the country.  The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.8, which is the same as in the UK.

If you are charged with drink driving, you will face a heavy fine and could face imprisonment between 3 months and a year.