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KL vs Singapore

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Fortan
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KL vs Singapore

Postby Fortan » Fri, 04 Apr 2014 9:10 am

There was a thread yesterday comparing living in the UK vs Singapore. I would be interested in hearing people's opinion on KL vs Singapore.

I have been to KL more than 100 times I think and one of the things that strikes me is that almost everything seems to be priced at the same price in ringgit there as compared to in sing dollars here. That makes it about half price or perhaps a little more. The tax is of course higher but it is still quite reasonably taxed with a max of 26% of income above 100k MYR, as far as I have been able to find out.

For the example of the discussion, lets say that you were offered to work in either KL or Singapore and the salary would be app. SGD 20k and the same in KL which would be around MYR 52k. Where would you opt to stay? If you would take the opportunity of staying and living in KL what are the main reasons why and visa versa?

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Re: KL vs Singapore

Postby the lynx » Fri, 04 Apr 2014 9:31 am

Fortan wrote:There was a thread yesterday comparing living in the UK vs Singapore. I would be interested in hearing people's opinion on KL vs Singapore.

I have been to KL more than 100 times I think and one of the things that strikes me is that almost everything seems to be priced at the same price in ringgit there as compared to in sing dollars here. That makes it about half price or perhaps a little more. The tax is of course higher but it is still quite reasonably taxed with a max of 26% of income above 100k MYR, as far as I have been able to find out.

For the example of the discussion, lets say that you were offered to work in either KL or Singapore and the salary would be app. SGD 20k and the same in KL which would be around MYR 52k. Where would you opt to stay? If you would take the opportunity of staying and living in KL what are the main reasons why and visa versa?


I assume you are talking about monthly salary of SGD20k/MYR52k.

I'd rather live in KL then.

Although the purchasing power is significantly lesser in KL than in Singapore (in terms of dollar-to-dollar or ringgit-to-ringgit ratio), accommodation and car ownership is much more possible in KL. The lifestyle is much relaxed and you have a lot of options for food, entertainment and sight-seeing without the need to fly out of the country. Road trips are pretty fun especially north-bound and along east coast of the peninsula. International Schools are also cheaper in KL and let's say International Schools are out of your reach financially, KL also have private schools that are very good too, and cheaper (the likes of Sri Petaling, Sri KDU etc). Plus, you get more culture in Malaysia, and more chaos too.

The only thing that will annoy me about living in KL is safety. Especially with the recent case of an expat child's abduction from the one of the expat bubble neighbourhoods (in this case, that happened in Bangsar), there is no such thing as safe neighbourhood that money can buy. Gone were the days that only rich people live in safe neighbourhoods. IMHO, the safest place you can live with children is high-end condominiums where security is easier to manage.

Other disadvantages of living in KL that you don't really see in Singapore is traffic jams and incompetent customer service (especially government's). If you have driven in Jakarta before, KL would be just one notch lower but still bad enough to make you want to tear your hair out. Dealing with government agencies, in general, is tricky. They can either be downright incompetent or you would need to bribe to oil things through. An exception to this is MM2H by the Ministry of Tourism. I hear great comments from my expat friends living in Malaysia on how quick and efficient this agency is.

Expat community is almost the same as the one in Singapore, except with less of single young banker-type expats and more of family-type enterprenaur/oil-and-gas expats. Finding fellow expat families in KL will not be any harder.

Edit: Spell check
Last edited by the lynx on Tue, 15 Apr 2014 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Brah » Fri, 04 Apr 2014 9:01 pm

I had considered this move at one point when I had a potential offer, but I couldn't find any good reason to go and I just don't think I'd like it there. But mine is a somewhat ignorant view.

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Postby Yahaan » Fri, 04 Apr 2014 9:25 pm

Nice thread. But let me ask, how likely is it for a person earning 20K SGD in Singapore to get 52K MYR in Kl? My understanding is if someone is moving a person from Singapore to KL it is for cost reasons and chances are you will have to make do with 20K MYR in KL, isn't it?

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Postby Mi Amigo » Sat, 05 Apr 2014 12:27 am

Yahaan wrote:Nice thread. But let me ask, how likely is it for a person earning 20K SGD in Singapore to get 52K MYR in Kl? My understanding is if someone is moving a person from Singapore to KL it is for cost reasons and chances are you will have to make do with 20K MYR in KL, isn't it?

I guess it depends on the circumstances. I came close to moving to KL about a year ago. IIRC the package on offer totalled out at around 85% of the one in Singapore and we were happy to give it a go, considering the lower cost of living there (albeit somewhat offset by a higher income tax rate). It all fell through at the last minute, but having considered the pros and cons (safety being one of the latter) we were comfortable with the idea. At the end of the day it shouldn't only be about money, but also about the opportunity and the experience of course.
Be careful what you wish for

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Re: KL vs Singapore

Postby triste » Tue, 15 Apr 2014 9:02 am

the lynx wrote:
Fortan wrote:There was a thread yesterday comparing living in the UK vs Singapore. I would be interested in hearing people's opinion on KL vs Singapore.

I have been to KL more than 100 times I think and one of the things that strikes me is that almost everything seems to be priced at the same price in ringgit there as compared to in sing dollars here. That makes it about half price or perhaps a little more. The tax is of course higher but it is still quite reasonably taxed with a max of 26% of income above 100k MYR, as far as I have been able to find out.

For the example of the discussion, lets say that you were offered to work in either KL or Singapore and the salary would be app. SGD 20k and the same in KL which would be around MYR 52k. Where would you opt to stay? If you would take the opportunity of staying and living in KL what are the main reasons why and visa versa?


I assume you are talking about monthly salary of SGD20k/MYR52k.

I'd rather live in KL then.

Although the purchasing power is significantly lesser in KL than in Singapore (in terms of dollar-to-dollar or ringgit-to-ringgit ratio), accommodation and car ownership is much more possible in KL. The lifestyle is much relaxed and you have a lot of options for food, entertainment and sight-seeing without the need to fly out of the country. Road trips are pretty fun especially north-bound and along east coast of the peninsula. International Schools are also cheaper in KL and let's say International Schools are out of your reach financially, KL also have private schools that are very good too, and cheaper (the likes of Sri Petaling, Sri KDU etc). Plus, you get more culture in Malaysia, and more chaos too.

The only thing that will annoy me about living in KL is safety. Especially with the recent case of an expat child's abduction from the one of the expat bubble neighbourhoods (in this case, that happened in Bangsar), there is no such thing as safe neighbourhood that money can buy. Gone were the days that only rich people live in safe neighbourhoods. IMHO, the safest place you can live with children is high-end condominiums where security is easier to manage.

Other disadvantages of living in KL that you don't really see in Singapore is traffic jams and incompetent customer service (especially government's). If you have driven in Jakarta before, KL would be just one notch lower but still bad enough to make you want to tear your hair out. Dealing with government agencies, in general, is a tricky. They can either be downright incompetent or you would need to bribe to oil things through. An exception to this is MM2H by the Ministry of Tourism. I hear great comments from my expat friends living in Malaysia on how quick and efficient this agency is.

Expat community is almost the same as the one in Singapore, except with less of single young banker-type expats and more of family-type enterprenaur/oil-and-gas expats. Finding fellow expat families in KL will not be any harder.


Thanks for this thorough reply. We may have the opportunity to move to KL and I have been mostly hoping it comes to fruition. I don't like it here at all and find KL to be as you said, freer, more interesting, more relaxed, cheaper, more food options. I also don't feel the anti-foreigner sentiment there that I feel here. I realize this could change if I lived there, and I'd be interested if anyone had experiences to share on that. I currently live in a non-expat neighborhood that is changing so there's some tension.

I find customer service here to be quite a bit lower than I would prefer so I am disappointed to hear it is worse there, but I can see what you mean about inefficiency and things taking a long time. Things to consider...

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Re: KL vs Singapore

Postby the lynx » Tue, 15 Apr 2014 9:41 am

triste wrote:
the lynx wrote:
Fortan wrote:There was a thread yesterday comparing living in the UK vs Singapore. I would be interested in hearing people's opinion on KL vs Singapore.

I have been to KL more than 100 times I think and one of the things that strikes me is that almost everything seems to be priced at the same price in ringgit there as compared to in sing dollars here. That makes it about half price or perhaps a little more. The tax is of course higher but it is still quite reasonably taxed with a max of 26% of income above 100k MYR, as far as I have been able to find out.

For the example of the discussion, lets say that you were offered to work in either KL or Singapore and the salary would be app. SGD 20k and the same in KL which would be around MYR 52k. Where would you opt to stay? If you would take the opportunity of staying and living in KL what are the main reasons why and visa versa?


I assume you are talking about monthly salary of SGD20k/MYR52k.

I'd rather live in KL then.

Although the purchasing power is significantly lesser in KL than in Singapore (in terms of dollar-to-dollar or ringgit-to-ringgit ratio), accommodation and car ownership is much more possible in KL. The lifestyle is much relaxed and you have a lot of options for food, entertainment and sight-seeing without the need to fly out of the country. Road trips are pretty fun especially north-bound and along east coast of the peninsula. International Schools are also cheaper in KL and let's say International Schools are out of your reach financially, KL also have private schools that are very good too, and cheaper (the likes of Sri Petaling, Sri KDU etc). Plus, you get more culture in Malaysia, and more chaos too.

The only thing that will annoy me about living in KL is safety. Especially with the recent case of an expat child's abduction from the one of the expat bubble neighbourhoods (in this case, that happened in Bangsar), there is no such thing as safe neighbourhood that money can buy. Gone were the days that only rich people live in safe neighbourhoods. IMHO, the safest place you can live with children is high-end condominiums where security is easier to manage.

Other disadvantages of living in KL that you don't really see in Singapore is traffic jams and incompetent customer service (especially government's). If you have driven in Jakarta before, KL would be just one notch lower but still bad enough to make you want to tear your hair out. Dealing with government agencies, in general, is a tricky. They can either be downright incompetent or you would need to bribe to oil things through. An exception to this is MM2H by the Ministry of Tourism. I hear great comments from my expat friends living in Malaysia on how quick and efficient this agency is.

Expat community is almost the same as the one in Singapore, except with less of single young banker-type expats and more of family-type enterprenaur/oil-and-gas expats. Finding fellow expat families in KL will not be any harder.


Thanks for this thorough reply. We may have the opportunity to move to KL and I have been mostly hoping it comes to fruition. I don't like it here at all and find KL to be as you said, freer, more interesting, more relaxed, cheaper, more food options. I also don't feel the anti-foreigner sentiment there that I feel here. I realize this could change if I lived there, and I'd be interested if anyone had experiences to share on that. I currently live in a non-expat neighborhood that is changing so there's some tension.

I find customer service here to be quite a bit lower than I would prefer so I am disappointed to hear it is worse there, but I can see what you mean about inefficiency and things taking a long time. Things to consider...


Speaking of racism, it works slightly different in Malaysia. While this topic is vocally discussed locally and globally, there are three distinctions about it, some of which you can relate to in Singapore.

1. Race-based policy. It is usually the Malays (aka bumiputers) versus the rest of other Malaysians. From businesses, property ownership to universities, there is often two-tiered policy being put in place. To summarise, the Malays (who are also the majority) get the first priority (and/or the only priority) in everything. Most of the housing developments (I don't know of any exception but I don't want to make blanket statement) must have certain percentage dedicated for bumiputeras. While this causes dissatisfaction among the others, who often have to work way harder for what is left of the pie, most people are probably numbed down (like me).

2. The foreign workers. Just like Singapore, cheap foreign labour is imported for unwanted jobs that Malaysians refuse to do like cleaning, construction, waiting tables, security guards, factory operations etc. Immigration is unfortunately not stringent enough so illegal immigration is a huge problem. That's how we get really serious crimes and also vice activities. And the conspiracy that many of the immigrants are offered citizenship for votes are just not helping either (sounds familiar?). To top it all, there is a problem of local men keeping foreign women as mistresses (or legal 2nd, 3rd or 4th wife) so it cause the general population to distrust female workers from Vietnam, PRC, Indonesia and Thailand.

3. The "white" guys. Interestingly locals there do not despise the Western residents as much as the locals here do. Perhaps it is the colonial mentality, perhaps the locals do not feel that their livelihood is threatened by them (because most Westerners there are not fighting with them for their jobs). And they are not strongest drive behind the rise in living cost and property purchases (because Malaysia is cheap enough and the land is aplenty). I think the only grouse locals would have against Westerners is that they take away their nice ladies from them.

These views are mine alone and while a lot of people agree to it, it is not representative and authoritative.

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Postby Fortan » Tue, 15 Apr 2014 1:25 pm

Yahaan wrote:Nice thread. But let me ask, how likely is it for a person earning 20K SGD in Singapore to get 52K MYR in Kl? My understanding is if someone is moving a person from Singapore to KL it is for cost reasons and chances are you will have to make do with 20K MYR in KL, isn't it?


I had an offer and although it is not the same figures as I mentioned initially, it came close. Had the chance to go there last week and the location of the company together with a job description that was not clear at all + a few other factors, had me write to them and thank no. In case it was not about relocating for the same company but changing company/industry. My wife is not thrilled about living there because of strictly safety worries. So happy I made the trip up there to visit them though, as it really was an eye opener :)

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Re: KL vs Singapore

Postby ScoobyDoes » Tue, 15 Apr 2014 3:25 pm

triste wrote:Thanks for this thorough reply. We may have the opportunity to move to KL and I have been mostly hoping it comes to fruition. I don't like it here at all and find KL to be as you said, freer, more interesting, more relaxed, cheaper, more food options. I also don't feel the anti-foreigner sentiment there that I feel here. I realize this could change if I lived there, and I'd be interested if anyone had experiences to share on that. I currently live in a non-expat neighborhood that is changing so there's some tension.

I find customer service here to be quite a bit lower than I would prefer so I am disappointed to hear it is worse there, but I can see what you mean about inefficiency and things taking a long time. Things to consider...



I lived on the outskirts of KL for 5yrs before heading south here and would not have a problem moving back again. I was up in the centre of KL a couple of weeks ago and there was a huge amount more white expats around than when I left ~6rs ago.

With a car, in a condo, generally life is pretty good and safe. Usual precautions are necessary still, though.

Nowhere as cheap now as I remember but then, where is these days?

With regards KL's service, I don't rate it any lower than here, even some of the government departments are worth a notable mention. When I went to their equivalent of CFP to claim all my money back on departure, it took less than a week for it to be banked into my account. Some years later they even wrote me saying there was a miscalculation and I was due even more. I quick trip to JB was enough to get even another cheque.

Forget the miscalculation bit and concentrate on the fact 98% was repaid in a week and the rest sorted out via a cheque posted from KL to JB for me to collect.

General tax filing is a pain in the butt, but I would say still easier than the likes of the US, Oz etc. Nowhere near as painless as here though.

It used to be that buying a car, also, involved a lot of wasted time at JPJ doing the ownership and transfer papers etc. but I don't know if this is till the case........overall Malaysia is a bit Hit'n'Miss (same as everywhere).
'When Lewis Hamilton wins a race he has to thank Vodafone whereas in my day I used to chase the crumpet. I know which era I'd rather race in.'

SIR Stirling Moss OBE

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Singapore vs Kl…Really???

Postby TryingTBBMom » Tue, 15 Apr 2014 3:33 pm

Safety, is a huge concern….
I lived in KL for 3 years. It mattered not whether I lived in a "security complex or in a exclusive area in a landed house. I had to have a security guard.
From home invasion breaking, to purse snatchings, to your car getting smashed and your handbag grabbed out the window, you lived on constant guard.
I personal know of 4 families that had their small kids held with a machete
demanding parents to give up all jewels,cash and anything of value.
There was also a young boy who was walking no more than 50 meters from his home on a busy street who was kidnapped for ransom.
Taxi drivers also took advantage of expats but not using meters and then threatening you.
The police are of little help.
Now on to any service oriented jobs… do not expect to go to a fine dining restaurant and get good service.
there is little difference in the cost of living and with the exception of more natural jungle, hiking and scenic beauty, Singapore is a clear winner. Malaysia asa whole has little civic pride and do not take care of the properties, or public areas.
I have lived in India and would move there in a heartbeat if i had to choose between KL and Mumbai. NOW that is not to say that I do not like Malaysians, on the contrary I simply find the country and how it's governed and policed very lacking. Some complain that Singapore has too many rules but we can all agree it's a pleasure to take a stroll, our kids are safe and can play outside, and generally we all are or try to be respectful of our environment, and others here in singapore.

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Postby Fortan » Tue, 15 Apr 2014 4:00 pm

I used to live in Bangkok for a couple of years and I've never lived in a place where I felt more safe. That might sound very strange to people but I actually felt safer there than I have ever done here in Singapore. KL though.... hmmm... not so sure...

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Kl vs Singapore or anywhere in the world...

Postby TryingTBBMom » Tue, 15 Apr 2014 4:22 pm

if you put it perspective… Terms like expats, or foreigners has a different meaning to each of us. As does what makes for a great experience or what puts us off. For an adventurous young couple, or a a single gentleman, what would be a non factor could be a deal breaker for a family who's husband travels a lot. If you have the chance to see how another culture lives and experience something new and different, why not embrace it. Take on good advice, surround yourself with a nice variety people. worst case you find it's not you cup of tea … you can always move home:-)

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Re: Singapore vs Kl…Really???

Postby Max Headroom » Tue, 15 Apr 2014 6:11 pm

TryingTBBMom wrote:Safety, is a huge concern….
I lived in KL for 3 years. It mattered not whether I lived in a "security complex or in a exclusive area in a landed house. I had to have a security guard.
From home invasion breaking, to purse snatchings, to your car getting smashed and your handbag grabbed out the window, you lived on constant guard.
I personal know of 4 families that had their small kids held with a machete
demanding parents to give up all jewels,cash and anything of value.
There was also a young boy who was walking no more than 50 meters from his home on a busy street who was kidnapped for ransom.
Taxi drivers also took advantage of expats but not using meters and then threatening you.
The police are of little help.
Now on to any service oriented jobs… do not expect to go to a fine dining restaurant and get good service.
there is little difference in the cost of living and with the exception of more natural jungle, hiking and scenic beauty, Singapore is a clear winner. Malaysia asa whole has little civic pride and do not take care of the properties, or public areas.
I have lived in India and would move there in a heartbeat if i had to choose between KL and Mumbai. NOW that is not to say that I do not like Malaysians, on the contrary I simply find the country and how it's governed and policed very lacking. Some complain that Singapore has too many rules but we can all agree it's a pleasure to take a stroll, our kids are safe and can play outside, and generally we all are or try to be respectful of our environment, and others here in singapore.


Hear-hear.

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Postby the lynx » Wed, 16 Apr 2014 8:35 am

Fortan wrote:
Yahaan wrote:Nice thread. But let me ask, how likely is it for a person earning 20K SGD in Singapore to get 52K MYR in Kl? My understanding is if someone is moving a person from Singapore to KL it is for cost reasons and chances are you will have to make do with 20K MYR in KL, isn't it?


I had an offer and although it is not the same figures as I mentioned initially, it came close. Had the chance to go there last week and the location of the company together with a job description that was not clear at all + a few other factors, had me write to them and thank no. In case it was not about relocating for the same company but changing company/industry. My wife is not thrilled about living there because of strictly safety worries. So happy I made the trip up there to visit them though, as it really was an eye opener :)


Well look at the bright side, we won't have to lose you to the equivalent of Malaysian Expat forum.

:P :cool:

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Re: Singapore vs Kl…Really???

Postby AngMoG » Wed, 16 Apr 2014 9:47 am

TryingTBBMom wrote:Now on to any service oriented jobs… do not expect to go to a fine dining restaurant and get good service.


I don't expect that in Singapore either :lol:

In the Philippines, on the other hand... mamsir!


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