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Expat commuting to work from Johor Bahru

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Ebony Chic
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Expat commuting to work from Johor Bahru

Postby Ebony Chic » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 7:01 am

I was reading through some of the posting about the Singapore apartment market here and noticed a mention of someone planning to move to Johor Bahru. In some other discussion thread someone was telling about how unpractical, in general, it is to commute from Malaysia every morning.

What I was curious about is, what problems would there be for an European citizen to live in JB and commute to work in SPore daily?

I am here not referring to dealing with rush hour traffic or crowded trains, as those issues are common to all travelers. But issues such as:
A. is it possible to get a visa to live in Malaysia while work is in Singapore?
B. does your passport get stamped every time you cross the border?

Question #B is of interest as it could lead to having to replace the passport every so many weeks.

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boffenl
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Postby boffenl » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 3:28 pm

I'd love to know the answer to this question too. My work at home husband is VERY interested in living in JB and me having to commute.

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Postby freecat » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 4:41 pm

Not very sure about the Malaysian visa, but they do stamp your passport every time you cross the border either way , and i think staying in JB itself is not a good idea, its a scary place
just see the town before renting a place..... you could rent a house in Skudai or other towns in the near proximity from JB though

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Postby durain » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 5:35 pm

loads of people do it. they travel on those blue bus into singapore everyday.

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 6:57 pm

durain wrote:loads of people do it. they travel on those blue bus into singapore everyday.


Yes but they are generally Malaysians and i believe there is some sort of re-entry permit/card they can get for coming in and out of Singapore without the need to get their passports stamped everyday.

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Postby Ebony Chic » Tue, 08 Jul 2008 1:08 am

freecat wrote:you could rent a house in Skudai or other towns in the near proximity from JB though


looking at Google maps it seems like Skudai is directly next beside JB. Doesn't look like it could be that different from JB itself?

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Postby frenzal » Tue, 08 Jul 2008 8:14 am

Yeah, I know of a few managers at my company who live in JB and commute to work near Orchard.

It really does seem to be a toss-up:
* High living expenses in Singapore for small apartments vs. large, comfortable housing in JB for cheap
* Low crime in Singapore vs. very high crime rates (although not murder, luckily)
* Healthy water and food sanitation in Singapore vs. need to boil water and avoid some hawker places in JB

To the above poster: Skudai is a suburb of JB, so essentially it is JB.


Something that interests me: how long would a commute from JB take each morning to Orchard?

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Postby ScoobyDoes » Tue, 08 Jul 2008 10:09 am

frenzal wrote:Something that interests me: how long would a commute from JB take each morning to Orchard?


You're the one with managers doing that, suppose you ask one of them instead?

JB is a big place after all.

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Postby freecat » Tue, 08 Jul 2008 1:17 pm

Skudai is next to JB, but its smaller town with only private housing
and not so many 'bumps' -criminals sitting around on the streets cheking u and your "content" out

:lol: but hey thats just my opinion

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Postby frenzal » Tue, 08 Jul 2008 2:19 pm

ScoobyDoes wrote:
frenzal wrote:Something that interests me: how long would a commute from JB take each morning to Orchard?


You're the one with managers doing that, suppose you ask one of them instead?

JB is a big place after all.

I'm not currently located in Singapore, so can't ask them. I didn't directly speak to those JB managers either - they were directly managing some of my friends.

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Postby TragicallyHip » Wed, 19 Nov 2008 8:56 pm

Hi - I wrote this response in another forum so please forgive the "cut and paste". As such there are some points below pertaining to questions/comments people had in that other forum but still relevant to your questions I think.

To answer your questions specifically, A: yes you can get a visa to live in Malaysia and still work in Singapore and B: yes you do need to stamp your passport everytime.

==========BEGIN COPY OF MESSAGE========

I'm an expat with a family and we're building a house in Ledang Heights (right next to East Ledang). I have several friends that are doing the same (nearly all expats) and some are already living there.

When we first starting looking into it, we experienced the same negative responses that I'm reading here. You need to see through the prejudice and clutter to make a decision that works for you. My wife and I both have engineering and architecture backgrounds which helps.

Commute:
Many people don't realize that this development is 7 minutes over the Tuas link, and not north over the causeway. Most people making negative comments about the commute have only driven over on the weekends when traffic is at its worse. During the week (when you and your kids will be coming into Singapore for work and school) you can expect a commute of 35 to 50 minutes into the CBD. My kids attend the Canadian School. When the new campus is completed (near Chinese Garden) their commute will be only 25 minutes (all these times include border crossing/immigration). These are average times that I have personally experienced. The worst traffic is during weekends and holidays (Chinese New Year) and when the odd terrorist escapes from local custody (that one took me 3 hours at the border. Typical weekend traffic is about 45 minutes to an hour at the border - but this is coming from Singapore into Malaysia. Malaysia to Singapore is against the flow of traffic and faster. Remember you will live there and you don't care how long it takes for others to come into Malaysia. You'll be headed into Singapore against the traffic). No problem for someone used to a minimum 1 hour commute (or 2 hours in the snow).

Security
Again, please note there is a difference between JB (Johor Bahru) and Johor (the state). This development is not in JB. It is in a township called Nusajaya, which is the capital city of the iskandar project. These communities are gated and guarded and the entire area is not as highly populated as JB. JB (by singapore standards) has a higher crime rate. However, anyone who has lived outside of Singapore is familiar with employing some common street sense. JB is no more dangerous then any other major city in the world, and Nusajaya is "country living" by comparison. Your commute to Singapore is direct on the highway and there is no need to go down any local sideroads (if this is a concern - it's not for me).

Government and Iskandar project
It is true what one of the posters said - government changes can impact your investment. This is true anywhere in the world. Will they shut down the Iskandar project? Perhaps parts of it. The Iskandar project is huge. On a grand scale it combines several projects into one. For my investment I care only about one of those projects - Nusajaya. This is the "jewel" of Iskandar and the new government offices are almost completed. It would be foolish to kill that part of the project. Could it still happen? Perhaps but I doubt it. Just take a drive around the area and you'll be amazed by what is already built. Ask yourself this question - if the worse case scenario is that you have a beautiful home within a 1/2 hour commute of Singapore CBD and nothing else happens with that development, will you still be happy? That one was an easy one for me.

Construction Quality and cost
You get what you pay for but don't confuse total cost with Construction cost. Just because the total cost is cheaper than singapore does not mean the quality is worse. The reason things are cheap in Johor is because the land is cheap. The next variable you have to play with is the construction cost and this will vary by developer. You don't want to go cheap here or you will get some of the problems that others have posted about above. Make sure you go with a reputable developer. The only way to do this is look at existing homes. Also make sure your contract is ironclad - deadlines, materials, etc all need to be included in the specs. Be very vigilant about this. Saying floors are "hardwood" is not descriptive enough. You need to know type of wood, plank thickness and length, etc or you will end up with parquet veneer.

East Ledang is actually of good quality. I've checked it out myself. It's not top of the line (finishes, etc) but its very good value for money. We decided on a custom designed home on a larger piece of land so we are building in Ledang Heights. There you can get much bigger plots and can build your dream home. Ledang East has smaller plots and smaller homes. Still - that's a personal decision. If you like what you see then go for it. Although it's not advertised there is still plenty of land available 3rd party at Ledang Heights. It's 100% sold to other investors so the people in the office there won't bother mentioning it to you.

Can you get cheaper housing? Of course! Price is based primarily on land so it's all about location, location, location. Ledang area is prime for a very good reason. It is the closest (as the car drives) residential community to the Tuas link. It is also a beautiful sprawling gated community. Just take a drive around there to see all the amenities going up. Marina, commercial district, etc.

Schools
We'll have to wait and see. There are already some signed deals that see International Schools in the area but that's about 2 years away. For now you need to make your decision based on a commute for kids into Singapore. This commute will vary depending on school location - see above for our personal commute times.

Immigration
How do you retain your EP? PR? etc. There are lots of options to this and a bit too long to add to an already long post. But it's not a problem. You can send me a message separately and I'd be happy to talk you through it.

Final Analysis
Taking all of the above into consideration the decision was easy for us. We're moving into an 8000 sqft custom designed Balinese villa on 30,000 sqft freehold land complete with landscaping, pool and 2 dogs. Total cost less than my 1300 sqft condo in Singapore. Yes, I will be saving money and increasing quality of living

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 19 Nov 2008 10:24 pm

TragicallyHip,

Excellent! And many thanks for sharing this with us. It's good to get some from-the-ground facts instead of third party hearsay.

SMS

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Postby carolynW » Wed, 19 Nov 2008 11:42 pm

My friends travel across on a (sorry i can't remember the name) type of border card where you have to scan your thumb instead of stamping their passports.

ok... this again is from memory years ago but was singapore not rolling out this technology for all frequent travellers between JB and singapore and also Singapore and Batam?

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Postby TragicallyHip » Thu, 20 Nov 2008 8:19 am

My understanding is that they have already rolled out the technology but it's more of a political decision as to when to implement.

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Postby Mr Q » Thu, 20 Nov 2008 3:19 pm

So how's the social life like? Where do expats go to meet other expats?

A friend of mine just moved to JB from Europe. He would like to meet other people rather than just hang out with his boss and 1 other colleague after work.

Could you recommend a few cool expat hangouts in JB?

8-)


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