According to a list by travel web-magazine Internationalliving.com titled ‘World’s Top Retirement Havens in 2013’, Malaysia ranks a stunning third behind Panama and Ecuador among the 22 countries featured in the line-up.
The list in question is the result of a survey that covered factors affecting retirees in the country of their residence such as real estate prices, overall living costs, special retiree-focused benefits and infrastructure, climate and medical facilities.
Contributing writer Keith Hockton sang the country’s praises in his post titled ‘Malaysia: Asia’s Most Desirable Destination’, stating, “It has everything. Its weather is a tropical 27°C all year round and its beaches, islands and jungles are pristine.”
Other qualities that he noted were greatly in Malaysia’s favour were the region’s wide selection of delicious street food, shopping complexes and bars which are very affordable. “Malaysia is also an easy place for expatriates to make friends as English is widely spoken,” he added.
Hockton, in particular, drew attention to Kuala Lumpur and Penang due to the medical centres of excellence that have established themselves there. These medical centres have developed a reputation that has reached international levels to the extent that hundreds of medical tourists arrive in the country in order to receive medical treatment.
“Not only is the healthcare amazing, but it is among the world’s cheapest. Prescriptions here cost a fifth of what you pay at home,” he added.
According to Tourism Malaysia’s Deputy Director-General (Planning) Datuk Azizan Noordin, the country’s ‘truly Asia’ identity has played a large role in the promotion of the country as a tourist destination. He cited Malaysia’s stable government and economy, pleasant tropical weather, large variety in cuisine, as well as exceptional education and medical institutes.
He went on to mention the ongoing Malaysia My Second Home programme, which provides foreigners who desire to make Malaysia their home with a 10-year Social Visit Pass that can be renewed, as another major factor.