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Moving to Malaysia

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by TeachingBusiness, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. TeachingBusiness

    TeachingBusiness New commenter

    Hi all. About to embark on our first ever adventure abroad with my non teaching wife and our two boys. Heading off to Malaysia near KL. Contract seems good but what things should we be aware of. How have other people found the move? Any regrets about leaving the UK?
  2. rosiecg

    rosiecg Occasional commenter

    I'm in my third year in KL, feel free to pm if you have any specific questions. Would love to hear which school you'll be at!
  3. topquark

    topquark New commenter

    Congratulations. KL is fantastic for kids. Not sure about their age range. All the sports including rugby. Unbelievable and cheap food options, surprisingly child friendly. Invest in a cheap second hand car and visit riverside/lakeside/mountainside restaurants. Swim in a different waterfall every weekend,
    Genting Highlands, Crab Island, Legoland, Lake Gardens, KLCC park, rain forest Negara, Cameron Highlands, Fraser's hill, elephant sanctuary and not to forget a mock French town.

    Very cheap childcare and domestic help. Lots of TA vacancies in IS. Invite the grandparents for months on end to get away from the UK winter. What's not to like?
  4. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    Upsides: KL is Asia lite. English is widely spoken, food is good, many expats (but a lot less these days as oil and gas dived) and a good travel hub.

    Downsides: Economy is tanking so exchange rate and inflation are problems - could get very bad due to Chinese loans and possible defaults. Salaries in many schools are too low. Under 20,000 RM per month with a family DONT!!!! KL has pollution issues (nothing like China though) and a crime issue - especially muggings. Many schools are for profit hell holes.
  5. motorhomer

    motorhomer New commenter

    20,000RM is over £3700 per month. That seems like substantial amount to me. I'd accept less than that. Unless that is gross and not net?
    topquark likes this.
  6. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Ignore what nemo has stated. It is laughable that there are teachers and their families out there who think ever so highly of themselves and demand geophysicist (working for Shell or Petronas) like salaries.

    Locals = helpful, (ever so) patient... There is Malay time.
    Students = brilliant and actually want to learn...
    The country = amazing place to explore. Beaches not as crowded as Indonesian or Thailand ones. The jungle. Mountains...
    Your kids = will be better off growing up in a place like Malaysia than any in the ME...
    Expat community = lovely, big, supportive and found them more genuine, not so much ego and status inflation.
  7. I lived in Malaysia teaching EFL for 2.5 years and loved it. It's a very easy place to live in my opinion with a good level of housing (most condos have a pool and a gym). 20,000 ringgit is substantially more than EFL teachers receive even with the biggest providers, but then again they usually don't have to support dependents. I am not sure whether you will need to pay for schooling out of that amount etc.

    As others have commented the nature is great, the expat community is lovely and the locals are friendly and welcoming. The exchange rate took a hit while I was over there (2013-2015) so if you want to send money home it's worth bearing that in mind.

    I wrote a number of posts on living in Malaysia - hope you find them helpful:
    [This comment/section has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]
  8. ToK-tastic

    ToK-tastic New commenter

    I found that I needed a car, despite not wanting to own a car. I lived in KL, but worked outside of KL in 2014-15. Public transport has probably now improved, but when I was there all the teachers that I knew owned cars. My partner found the car particularly useful when she wanted to go out on her own as she didn't find KL such an easy place to be as a female on her own.
    As others have mentioned here it's a great place for families with kids, housing is pretty cheap, it very much fits that: suburban condo, swimming pool, highway, shopping centre model of a city. It wasn't really what I like about cities, but many do !
    grdwdgrrrl likes this.
  9. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    @taiyah yes, but without us teachers, both of physics and geography, how many geophysicists would there be?
  10. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    It's a very easy place to live and doesn't require a ton of money to support a family - certainly not 20k net. The EPF is also great as you get a huge chunk of money when you leave without ever noticing you've been saving.
    Feel free to PM with whatever questions you want to ask. Alternatively, you can email me at my username Gmail account.
  11. reg_mcledge

    reg_mcledge New commenter

    I have been in Malaysia for over 5 years now and to be blunt, it is untrue that you need to be earning 20,000RM a month! Many, many teachers earn considerably less than this and manage to save (with the help of EPF), travel and enjoy themselves comfortably.

    In terms of crime, I can only speak of my experience here, it is not different to any SE Asian country. Normal rules apply - be safe, vigilant and aware of your surroundings. There are still many poor people who, if given an opportunity, may well take advantage. However, as a general rule, the Malaysian people are very welcoming.

    Feel free to message me (if possible) if you have any other Qs about Malaysia or the school you are joining.
  12. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I'm in my second year in KL and I love it, as does my (non-working) husband. Happy to have a conversation with you via PM if you have any particular questions or want info about salaries that I don't really want to put on a public forum.
  13. reg_mcledge

    reg_mcledge New commenter

    I should edit this here: this is irrespective of socio-economic status. 99% of the poorer people I come across are just as welcoming, if not more, as more well off citizens.

    I hope you enjoy Malaysia - there is much to love!
  14. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    Gross. A teaching couple can take less of course, or a single newbie - a couple on 15k gross each is ok.

    I worked in Malaysia 8 years and apart from teachers I have many local friends who laugh at 20k as high. Take a state school senior science treacher gets 6,500 rm per month for half day work (they use schools ttwice with two sets of teachers). They get massively subsidised house and car loans. They usually do tuition that adds another 6 to 7k per month on top of that or have a restaurant on the side. I know local teachers via marriage to my now ex Malay wife and as family members they did alright most were in working couples as childcare is cheap. As an expat you need to earn more than that to build up a pension back home.
  15. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    You obviously need a lesson in manners. I feel sorry for any kids that you teach. Your comment about Malays and time is rascist.

    See my above post and 20k is a low middle class wage in KL. Ok for an unmarried single person to take a low salary for fun, but a married person with partner and kids its misery when you can't afford to travel and save.
  16. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    @nemo. Racist? Don't use words you don't understand nemo... Aren't you the same nemo who boast about inflated and unrealistic salaries in other threads?! When asked by other posters to prove your bold claims you went quiet?

    @nemo. You lived in Malaysia for 8 years and call 20000RM/month "misery" because, as you quote "...its misery when you can't afford to travel and save." You must have lived in the only place in Malaysia where you couldn't see poverty to make that sort of a statement. There are a high percentage of the population who earn between 1500-2500RM per month.
  17. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    As other people have said many times on this board, whenever there is a conversation about Malaysia, Nemo seems to be the only person who thinks that RM20k is the lowest possible wage a teacher should accept. To put this into perspective, at the school which pays the highest wages in KL, the maximum pay point for a teacher without additional responsibilities is RM19k plus housing allowance (RM3k-4k). Other schools pay substantially less than this (e.g. the highest pay point at another highly regarded school is RM13k) and all of the staff I know at the different schools all manage extremely well on whatever their salary is, even people with children and a non-working partner. Personally I'm on a middling wage and my non-working partner and I have a much better standard of living than we had in the UK on two salaries. We don't have a super-extravagant lifestyle, but we travel every holiday, eat out several times a week and still save much more than we ever could in the UK. If you hold out for RM20k+, I'm afraid you're unlikely to ever find it unless you go in on the top pay point and have additional responsibilities, but you can live very well on much less than this!
    rosiecg likes this.
  18. cdgray

    cdgray New commenter

    Hi all - I will also be moving to Malaysia in August with my teaching partner. I'd love to hear any advice/info from people who live or have worked there previously. My biggest questions are regarding clothing and what to pack! I am moving directly from another international school, and so I either bring stuff with me, or get rid of it (no storing it at my parents' house etc)....Is there anything I should definitely pack, or definitely leave behind clothing and shoes-wise? I will be based in KL.
  19. rosaespanola

    rosaespanola New commenter

    Whatever you'd bring to any hot & humid country - it depends where you are now, whether you'll just need the same sort of things. Sandals, clothes for very hot & humid weather (including clothes that are smart enough for work - you'll have air con in school, but you'll still have to get around the campus outdoors), swimwear. Clothes for cold weather if you're likely to go anywhere cold during the holidays - we love our annual 2-week winters!
    Unless you're particularly tall or wide, pretty much all types of clothes and shoes are available in Malaysia, even things for cold weather, so don't worry about buying things before you come unless you're plus size or very tall, or have very big feet.
  20. rosiecg

    rosiecg Occasional commenter

    I would also add if you are female and have a large chest it might be worth stocking up on bras as they don't tend to have anything much above a C cup apart from in M&S.

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