Malaysia: A Haven for Retirees


According to a list by travel web-magazine 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.

MAPEX 2012 Makes Waves in Penang

As far as property showcases go, MAPEX Penang’s position as the most “Lau Juak” Property Show definitely lived up to its billing in attracting Penangites and visitors alike to the 3-day weekend showcase lasting from last Friday, March 23 to Sunday, March 25 beginning at 11am to 8pm daily during the entire duration of the event.

YB Chow Kon Yeow officiating MAPEX Penang 2012

YB Chow Kon Yeow officiating MAPEX Penang 2012

While holding the showcase at Penang’s very own Straits Quay Convention Centre was an unconventional first for both the venue operators and the organizers, Malaysia’s No.1 Property Website, and the Real Estate & Housing Developers Association (REHDA) Penang, an exit survey done among the developers who were present showed that above 80% were very happy with the turnout.

Further to the success of MAPEX 2012 was the fact that it presented a Real Deal campaign, in which buyers and investors who came to the property fair were not only treated to interesting and viable property options but also getting to choose from the top notch property developers in the market.

Among 35 of the most prominent developers who filled out the more than 100 booths at the showcase were Dijaya Corporation Berhad, E&O Property Development Berhad, Land & General Berhad, Mah Sing Group, Selangor Dredging Berhad, SP Setia Berhad and Sunway Integrated Properties.

Mr Toh of REHDA Penang giving his speech

Mr Toh Chin Leong of REHDA Penang giving his speech

As for collaborations with related products and service vendors, such as home design and decor, all of them fit the bill when it came to collaboration with the developers for a holistic solution that captured the homebuyers’ pride and joy. Many who attended the show stood a chance of potentially winning RM70,000 worth of goods and appliances that would make their purchasing experience complete.

On another note, the property showcase also featured hourly talks and seminars by prominent property players and investment gurus made the outing to the most “Lau Juak” Property Show a truly “lau juak” and happening experience for both property hunters who are buying for their own consumption and investors alike.

We sent our team to experience the heat for ourselves and here’s what went down at the launch of the MAPEX Penang 2011 show at Straits Quay Convention Centre.

Shaun Di Gregorio, CEO of with his opening address

Shaun Di Gregorio, CEO of iProperty Group with his opening address

The crowds thronging the registration counter

The crowds thronging the registration counter

A Love That Will Last

A Place For The Arts

Happy Valentine’s Day! As the world celebrates this day dedicated to lovers everywhere, we take a different look at the love affair for the heart and soul of a city.

Georgetown has always attracted those with a particular love for the arts and heritage and in the past few months, we have had the privilege to witness how the passion, dedication and simple vision to share one’s personal love of art and heritage transform into a vibrant space for the arts.It adds value to the way performing arts are experienced and in so doing enriches the lives of those dwelling within the city limits.

In our exclusive with Narelle McMurtrie, owner of China House in Georgetown, Penang last month, there were some behind-the-scenes shots that we captured to show her love affair with Penang’s art scene.

The Food Had The Crowd Eating Out Of China House's Hands

The first clue that tipped us off to her love of the cultural heritage of Penang was reflected in the gilded mirrors that adorn the ground floor dining area. Of course, there was the food itself, an array of Western and local delights, that enticed the taste buds.

Celebrating Local Handmade Jewellery

The jewellery gallery next to the main dining area welcomes all to take a look at the handmade items and appreciate wearable art.

The Art Gallery Upstairs

Talking about art, we were led upstairs where the art gallery and performance space was. There are various activities held at the theatre besides contemporary art exhibitions, among them open-mic nights and live band gigs on different nights of the week.

A Testament Of Good Times Here

All in all, we came away from the interview and photo shoot we had at China House with a brand new take on Narelle’s love affair with the culture and crafts of various locals whether in the performing arts scene, fashion or even food and beverage.

The Courtyard That Joins Both Shophouses

There are two entrances to China House, as it consists of two pre-war shophouses that are back-to-back and joined with a courtyard. Another one of Narelle’s passions, animal rescue, is evident here as the wading pool is used by the dogs she rescues to learn how to swim. The main frontage is on Beach Street while the quieter one faces Victoria Street. With the walkabout ending on Victoria Street, we had a good look at how different passions come into play to make China House a labour of love for something that will last.

Victoria Street Signs The End of Our Walkabout

Text, Coordination & Photos by Yan Yi. All Rights Reserved.

Kindly contact owner for reuse of text and images.

Nuggets of Info – Ho Chin Soon’s Latest Book

Published in November 2010, property consultant Ho Chin Soon’s latest book “Penang Island & Golden Triangle” offers a 3-in-1 concept where 3 booklets are merged into one, offerring many choices for readers who like their books packed with information on a big range of topics. It kind of reminds one of developers’ offers where you get free legal fees, free kitchen cabinets and club membership when you buy their properties.

Ho Chin Soon's Latest Book

Part 1 deals with Ho’s idea on how to bring sustainable development to Penang. His idea is simply to develop Penang Hill much like those picturesque hillslope developments in Switzerland. He proposed that this development should be facilitated by 2 strategic tunnels coming from Air Itam and connecting to Balik Pulau. To support his vision, a technical report from 2 experts on the feasibility of the project is attached to the book.

As usual, there are lots of statistics and photos to increase your knowledge on the subject matter. After all, we can assume that the mapmaker’s mind works well, like a map. He likes to map out his thoughts with photos, statistics and news clippings. Words apparently are not his communication method of choice. No offence, Mr Ho! Economy of words is much valued in these busy times.

Part 2 of his book deals with the Golden Triangle, a subject that never ceases to interest everyone interested in Malaysian properties. Ho believes that this area, despite weakening rental rates is still a hotspot that is set to grow stronger in years to come. He backs up his opinion with loads of data and news of recent developments, such as the proposed MRT and Greater KL programme. You have to read this one to find out for yourself how valid is his argument.

Part 3, which takes up more than half of the book comprises of writings from 10 contributors, all of whom are experts of some kind in the property industry. This part makes for interesting reading, if you have some free time on your hands. You could even contact some of them directly, so it sort of acts as a contact point.

In conclusion, is this book worth it? That depends on whether you are interested in those topics above. Ho always has something new to say, something different and bold. So, if you want to pick up some nuggets of information not found elsewhere, pick up this book. After all, it is Ho Chin Soon’s book.