A Guide to Living and Working Overseas
Kuala Lumpur Overview
Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding urban areas form the most industrialized and economically, the fastest
growing region in Malaysia. Despite the relocation of federal government administration to Putrajaya, certain
government institutions such as Bank Negara Malaysia (National Bank of Malaysia), Companies Commission of
Malaysia and Securities Commission as well as most embassies and diplomatic missions have remained in the
city. The city remains as the economic and business centre of the country and is the centre for finance,
insurance, real estate, media and the arts of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is rated as an alpha world city, and is the
only global city in Malaysia, according to the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC).
Since the 1990s, the city has played host too many international sporting, political and cultural events
including the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the Formula One World Championship. In addition, Kuala
Lumpur is home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers, which have become an
iconic symbol of Malaysia's futuristic developments.
Protected by the Titiwangsa Mountains in the east and Indonesia's Sumatra Island in the west, Kuala Lumpur
has a tropical rainforest climate which is warm and sunny, along with abundant rainfall, especially during the
northeast monsoon season from October to March. Temperatures tend to remain constant. Maximums hover
between 31 and 33 °C (88 and 91 °F) and have never exceeded 39.3 °C (102.7 °F), while minimums hover
between 22 and 23.5 °C (72 and 74 °F) and have never fallen below 14.4 °C (57.9 °F).
Kuala Lumpur typically receives minimum 2,600 mm (100 in) of rain annually; June and July are relatively dry,
but even then rainfall typically exceeds 133 millimetres (5.2 in) per month. Flooding is a frequent occurrence in
Kuala Lumpur whenever there is a heavy downpour, especially in the city centre and downstream areas. Dust
particles from forest fires from nearby Sumatra sometimes cast a haze over the region. It is a major source of
pollution in the city together with open burning, emission from motor vehicles and construction work.
The geography of Kuala Lumpur is characterized by a huge valley known as Klang Valley. The valley is bordered
by the Titiwangsa Mountains in the east, several minor ranges in the north and south and the Strait of Malacca
in the west. Kuala Lumpur is a Malay term which translates to "muddy confluence" as it is located at the
confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers.
GMT +8 hours
Cost of living
Compared to the UK and many other Asian countries the cost of living in Malaysia is reasonably low.
Below is the average cost of renting an apartment in Kuala Lumpur:
Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre
£100.95 – 506.31
£74.68 – 285.21
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre
£376.81 – 981.91
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre
£189.73 – 490.96
The unit of currency in Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit (RM) which is divided into 100 sen. Currency notes
are in denomination of RM1, RM5, RM10, RM50 and RM100. Coins are issued in 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents pieces.
Major hotels and larger establishment readily accept currencies such as US Dollars, Pound Sterling, Euros,
Japanese Yen and Australian Dollars.
Traveller’s cheques are accepted at banks, hotels and large department stores. Foreign currencies can be
readily exchanged for local currency at a bank or money changer.
Credit Cards and ATM’s
All major international credit cards, such as American Express, Diners Club, Master Card and Visa are accepted
at most tourist hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and shopping complexes. It is possible to apply for a local
credit card, billed in Malaysia Ringgit but some issuers are reluctant to give them to expatriates. Cheques are
Country code: 60.
Telekom Malaysia is the national phone company, and the service is generally reliable. Applications for land
lines must be made at a Telekom Malaysia office. Foreigners are either required to pay a RM500 ‐ RM1000+
deposit, or have a local Malaysian co‐sign their application. International phone calls can be made very cheaply
using a prepaid IDD card. These can be bought from the hand phone shops which can be found everywhere in
shopping malls and elsewhere in towns.
Public coin‐operated phones can be found in many areas, such as supermarkets and post offices. Cards can be
purchased at airports, petrol stations and some shops.
Hand phones (the term used in Malaysia for mobile or cell phones) are very popular and there is a range of
providers to choose from with most offering either pre‐paid or billed services. Roaming agreements exist with
some international mobile phone companies and coverage is good. Maxis is the most reliable provider
There are host of options for entertainment and leisure in Malaysia ranging from bustling nightlife to activities
like golf, diving, white water rafting, river safaris and cruises, cave exploration or mountain climbing and
angling, bird watching and paragliding.
Food and Drink
In multicultural Malaysia, every type of cooking from Southeast Asia can be tasted. Malay food concentrates
on subtleties of taste using a blend of spices, ginger, coconut milk and peanuts. There are many regional types
of Chinese cooking including Cantonese, Peking, Hakka, Sichuan and Taiwanese. Indian and Indonesian food is
also popular. Korean, Thai and western food are available in restaurants throughout the country.
Alcohol is also widely available, although the country is largely Islamic. Generally, you can eat pretty much
anywhere in Malaysia. Food outlets are comparatively clean; the only thing you should avoid is ice for your
drinks and water when you visit the street or hawker stalls since the blocks of ice used there might not be up
to hygienic standards. However, in actual restaurants this is not a problem. The tap water in the cities is safe,
but otherwise all water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated.
10% service charge and 5% government tax are usually included in bills, and added to the menu prices.
Malaysia is one of Asia’s top health destinations. Its hospitals are generally well equipped and its physicians
are well trained so you probably will not feel like missing anything from home. The Malaysian government
invests great effort in improving and developing its health care system. Also, the budget flowing into the public
health sector has considerably increased during the last years.
The health care system in Malaysia provides universal access to all its residents. It is divided into the
government run public sector and a private health care system. Many physicians have been educated in
Western countries and the majority of the medical staff speaks English. In addition, foreign doctors are
encouraged by the government to take up employment in Malaysia.
Malaysia does not hold any reciprocal medical care agreements with other countries. Tourists and other
visitors to Malaysia, who do not have a Malaysian residence, have therefore to consult private doctors and
visit private medical institutions. The costs can be very high and the private clinics require immediate payment,
so it is highly recommended to take out health insurance.
Recommended vaccinations for Kuala Lumpur include:
Additionally, for a stay exceeding 4 weeks:
Malaria and dengue
If you are travelling to Malaysia’s tropical regions you might be exposed to the danger of malaria and dengue
fever infection. Infections of the latter usually increase during or after the rainy season. Both diseases are
transmitted by mosquito bites, thus take extra precaution:
Wear light‐coloured and long clothes
Use insect repellents; both during the day (against dengue mosquitoes) and night (malaria mosquitos
If possible, sleep under a mosquito net
To play it safe consult a tropical doctor before your departure. He can also advise you on what
medicine you should have in your first‐aid kit when travelling to Malaysia.
Unlike most other Asian cities, driving is the main mode of commuting in Kuala Lumpur. Hence, every part of
the city is well connected by highways. As the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur has a comprehensive road
network that leads to the rest of Peninsular Malaysia.
Public transport services in Kuala Lumpur are provided by conventional buses (operated by Rapid KL), ‘Bas
Mini’ fixed‐route minibuses, taxis and pedi‐cabs (trishaws). Taxi’s are cheap and readily available. Drivers are
usually not tipped. The two light rail transit lines are run by Rapid KL and are a quick way to get around the city
and provide links to the eastern and western suburbs of Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport
The airport is located in Sepang, 31 miles (50km) south of Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: + 60 (0)3 8776 2000.
Terminal Transfer: An Aerotrain provides a free service between terminals.
Ground Transport: The Express Rail Link train provides fast transportation to the city centre. The KLIA Express
and the KLIA Transit links the airport to Kuala Lumpur (KL Sentral ‐ City Air Terminal) and vice‐versa. At the City
Air Terminal departing passengers have the option of checking‐in their luggage, receive their boarding passes
and are able to board the train for the airport ‐ immigration clearance will be completed there. Travel time
between KL Sentral to the airport is 28 minutes on the KLIA Express and 37 minutes on the KLIA Transit. Taxis
are also available; they should be paid for in advance at the ticket counter in the arrivals hall. Many hotels can
arrange for a car to pick up guests, though this is generally more expensive than taking a taxi.
Airport Facilities: Airport facilities include lounges/travel clubs, left luggage, disabled and nursery/baby
changing facilities; banks, bureaux de change and ATMs; restaurants and bars, post office, pharmacy; and duty
An International Driving Permit is required. For UK citizens, a national driving licence is sufficient, but it has to
be endorsed by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles in Malaysia.
Avis Car Hire KL: www.avis.com.my
Crowne Plaza Mutiara K.lumpur,
Main Lobby, Jln Sultan Ismail,
+60 3 214 44487
Hertz Car Hire (KL International Airport): www.hertz.co.uk
B10, Arrival level, Main Terminal Building Lot16,
Ground Floor, Car Park D
Kuala Lumpur International Apt,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 3 87874572
Hotel China Town Inn: www.chinatowninn.com
52‐54 Jalan Petaling
50000 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 2070 4008
Citrus Hotel Kuala Lumpur: www.citrushotelkl.com
51 Jalan Tiong Nam
50350 Off Jalan Raja Laut, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 9195 9999
Frenz Hotel Kuala Lumpur: www.frenzhotel.com.my
135 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman
50100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 2693 7878
Garden International School (GIS) is the largest private, co‐educational, international school in Malaysia and is
accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS). Established in 1951, GIS provides a British‐style
education to the expatriate and local community in Kuala Lumpur.
The school has three campuses, the main campus is situated in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, an Early Years
Centre in Desa Sri Hartamas and a campus is located on the East Coast of Malaysia in Kuantan.
GIS bases its curriculum on the National Curriculum of England with modifications designed to meet the needs
of international students. The English system provides a high quality and broad education which enables
students to move to any other English‐speaking country fully equipped to succeed.
16, Jalan Kiara 3, Off Jalan Bukit Kiara,
50480 Kualal Lumpur,
Tel: +60 3 6209 6888
Fire & Rescue:
To call from any hand phone: 112
Water Woes (Selangor): 1800885252
All foreigners working in Malaysia are required to apply for a visa.
Employment Pass (EP)
Application for an EP must be submitted to the Immigration Office once approval has been given by the
Expatriate Position Committee. Salary must be more than or equal to RM5000 per month and the post
approved for a period of two years or more. The applicant's salary has to be under the local payroll.
Approximately four to six weeks.
Certified true Copy of passport.
Academic certificate/School Leaving Certificate (English) (Certified true copies)
Testimonial/recommendation letter or curriculum vitae from head office overseas (English).
Expatriate's service/employment contract (original) with Malaysian company.
Generally, overseas travellers are more likely to be injured through unintentional injuries than to be struck
down by exotic infectious diseases. In fact, accidents and traffic collisions are the most frequent cause of death
among travellers, so ensure you have good insurance and if you are hiring a vehicle, ensure it is in good
working order. It will be beneficial to have some vehicle maintenance knowledge if you are planning on
travelling to the more remote areas of the world, where a breakdown in harsh conditions can cost your life.
Copy your documents
In the unfortunate event of your luggage going missing, or your passport / wallet is stolen or lost, it is a good
idea to have copies that can help you with re‐issues. Take 2 coloured photocopies each of your passport, plus
visa stamps and documents, driving licence, important prescriptions or other ID documents. Make 2 sets of the
documents and keep these copies separate from your main luggage, preferably in 2 separate bags. It is also a
good idea to copy scanned or photocopied documents to an Internet based e‐mail account. Make sure
someone at home knows how to access it in case of an emergency.
Check with your medical practitioner on what vaccines are required before your travel. Due to your medical
history, you may require more than one dose, or you may need boosters for childhood vaccines.
Check the latest travel advice and travel bulletins for your destination before you depart, and also while
travelling, so you can ensure you have the latest information.
Common diseases contracted by travellers include those which are the result of eating or drinking
contaminated food or water, or not practising safe sex, plus a number of mosquito or tick‐borne diseases
endemic to tropical areas.
Be sure to take measures to avoid being bitten such as wearing light‐coloured clothing that covers your arms
and legs, regularly applying an appropriate insect repellent and staying in mosquito‐proof accommodation or
using bed nets.
Taking medicines with you
Book a check‐up at your doctor or dentist, before you leave. If you wear glasses or contacts lenses, bring an
extra pair of glasses and your prescription. Persons taking prescription medications should make sure they
have an adequate supply for the trip, and/or bring their prescription, making sure it includes the medication
trade name, manufacturer’s name, generic name, and dosage. Prepare a simple medical kit of over‐the‐
counter medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, antihistamine, antiseptic, and diarrhoea medication), band aids,
thermometer, sunscreen, and insect repellent. When travelling overseas with medicine, (including over‐the‐
counter or private prescription) it is important that you talk to your doctor and discuss the amount of medicine
you will need to take. Carry a letter from your doctor detailing what the medicine is, how much you will be
taking, and stating that it is for your own personal use. Leave the medicine in its original packaging so it is
clearly labelled with your own name and dosage instructions. If you have to inject your medication, inform
your airline before you travel and, if necessary, arrange a letter from your doctor explaining why you need to
Your health on long‐haul flights
Keep important medication with you in case your luggage goes missing. To help avoid deep vein thrombosis
(DVT): drink plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and whilst seated, stretch and rotate your feet and
lower legs. Walking around the cabin at regular intervals will help.
If you have been scuba diving, don’t travel in an aircraft for at least 24 hours after your final dive.
Coping with Jet lag
Factor the effects of jet lag into your itinerary. In order to cope with Jet lag you should get a good deal of sleep
before your journey. It is also important to rest as much as possible during your flight. Planning to arrive at
your destination as near to the time when you normally go to sleep will also help with the adjustment. If you
are able to plan your itinerary allow time on arrival for adjustment or plan meetings at similar times to back
Some people advise changing their watches to destination time when they get onto the plane. While this helps
many people, for those who are on regular medication, such as diabetics, watches should remain on home
time until you are able to adjust your medication to local times on arrival at your destination or as suggested
by your health advisor.
On arrival at your destination get active as soon as possible, as exercise has been proven to improve
productivity. Adjust your meals and activities to local time as soon as you can. Exposure to light is also a good
way of naturally allowing your body to adjust. If you need to take a short nap, do, it will help refresh you, but
don’t forget to use an alarm clock or wake up call to get you up!
If you happen to lose your baggage on arrival at your destination airport, tell the airline immediately and get
suitable compensation. Agree on an amount you can spend on essential items that you will need and give
them an address to deliver the luggage to when they find it.
It is wise to make a copy of your passport details and any other important papers or vaccination certificates
that you are carrying with you when you travel. Leave them in a safe place in the office or copy to an Internet
based e‐mail account. Make sure someone at home either a partner or friend knows how to access it in case of
an emergency. You will need photo identification even for air travel within the UK.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times; thieves will use many tricks to distract you ‐ wiping something off
your shoulder while an accomplice is picking your pocket, getting young children to surround you while they
plan to rob your belongings. Trust your instincts, especially when visiting countries where a high poverty rate
comes along with high petty crime rates. When not attending meetings, try to blend in with the crowd when
out and about ‐ try not to look like a visitor!
When enjoying the local nightlife, guard your food/drinks and keep your wits about you. Beware of the fact
that you will be an easy target after a few too many drinks. Avoid walking home to your hotel late at night,
even if it is close by. Get a taxi. Don’t take shortcuts through poorly lit areas; it pays to trust your instincts in
these situations. Keep your wits about you when making new friends – men and women may come across very
friendly indeed if you are the route to an easier life. Be careful of telling people where you live.
Unsafe Water ‐ What to do
If travelling to more remote areas with poor sanitation ‐ only drink boiled water, hot beverages, such as coffee
and tea, canned or bottled carbonated beverages, beer, and wine. Ice may be made from unsafe water and
should be avoided. It is safer to drink from a can or bottle of beverage than to drink from a container that was
not known to be clean and dry. However, water on the surface of a beverage can or bottle may also be
contaminated. Therefore, the area of a can or bottle that will touch the mouth should be wiped clean and dry.
The Mosquito – Disease Carrier
Mosquitoes transmit the viruses responsible for yellow fever, dengue haemorrhagic fever, epidemic
polyarthritis, and several forms of encephalitis and, most famously, malaria. Mosquitoes lay their eggs
wherever there is standing water, ponds, salt water marshes, or even puddles and discarded containers. Only
female mosquitoes bite, as they require blood to produce their eggs.
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes. The most deadly strain being
plasmodium falciparum. The mosquito unwittingly transmits this parasite when biting its victim. These
parasites then spread to the liver where they take one to four weeks to multiply. Once mature, they spread
throughout the red blood cells resulting in the first symptoms – a flu‐like fever, which, if left untreated will
lead to liver failure, coma and ultimately, death.
Malaria symptoms are very similar to flu; however you may not suffer from all of them:
General ill feeling
Muscle and joint aches
Jaundice / yellow skin tone
Medical attention should be sought immediately if you have any symptoms that could be malaria. Ensure that
you can get to medical facilities 24 hours a day, and know your options when in developing countries. Bear in
mind that once malaria symptoms strike, you will not feel like travelling very far. Malaria can kill within 48
hours of developing symptoms.
Mosquitoes have been found all over the world, however not all mosquitos carry malaria. The countries below
are malaria hot spots, if you are travelling to them, it is necessary to take medicinal precautions. Malaria is one
of mankind’s oldest known killers, dating back almost 5000 years.
What attracts mosquitoes?
Carbon Dioxide ‐ we exhale it when we breathe and also secrete it from our pores.
Fragrances such as deodorant, soap, shower gel, even cosmetics on the skin
Body heat and sweat
Dark Coloured clothing
Cover up after dusk.
Use a repellent on your skin.
Close doors and windows at night.
Avoid lingering near stagnant water, ponds, lakes, and old containers are breeding grounds.
If you are out after dusk, wear a long‐sleeved shirt, trousers in a closely woven fabric and cover feet
If you must wear thin clothing, buy a fabric friendly insect repellent, as mosquitoes will bite through
Choose insect repellents with DEET, on any exposed skin ‐ highly effective against all biting insects. Do not put
your trust in products without DEET, no known natural remedies have been scientifically proven to provide a
barrier for your skin. When visiting countries high in temperature or humidity, choose a repellent with 50%
DEET protection, as humidity coupled with sweating will evaporate the repellent and reduce its effectiveness.
Read labels carefully and do not be complacent with re‐application.
Buy a pyrethroid coil or a plug‐in insecticide.
Lemon eucalyptus oil and citronella are natural fly repellents. It is not recommended that you rely on
them as their potency wears off quickly, but they may be of use alongside the above.
Ultrasonic devices and bug ‘zappers’ are not effective against mosquitoes
Make sure window and door screens are intact so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
If you are sleeping in an unscreened room, a mosquito net is advised. Nets come in a range of mesh weaves ‐
choose wisely depending on your situation. Heavy‐duty nets get hot and uncomfortable, whereas others may
not offer enough protection, so do some careful research into the climate you are going to be in. A permethrin
spray can be used on a mosquito net and sometimes clothing. It will instantly kill any mosquito that lands on it.
This, coupled with a skin repellent creates a formidable barrier.
There are several different types of medication depending on such factors as area to be visited, length of stay,
type of travel, your own medical history and drugs you may already be taking. Highly sensitive persons may
consider antihistamines to minimise allergic reactions to mosquito bites, and other insects you may encounter
for the first time.
If you think you have Malaria
Seek advice from a medical professional to discuss the most appropriate anti‐malarial medication for your
needs. Visit the nearest medical facility as soon as possible for emergency treatment. If you go to an area
where a well‐equipped hospital cannot be reached within 24 hours, take emergency medicines with you.
Take anti‐malarial medication as prescribed
Screen doors and windows
Sleep under a mosquito net
Spray your room with insecticide
Wear long trousers and sleeves after dusk
Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin when outdoors
of the risk of malaria if you are travelling to a foreign country.
Avoid bites and reduce the chances of getting malaria.
with the appropriate drug regimen for the area you are visiting.
Malaria can be fatal but early diagnosis and treatment is usually 100% effective.
Globaleye (Labuan) Ltd.
Unit A‐23‐7 Tower A, Level 23
Menara UOA Bangsar
No.5 Jalan Bangsar Utama 1
59000 Kuala Lumpur
T: +60 3 228 22996
Head Office Dubai
P.O Box 24592
Villa 801, Al Thanya Street
Umm Sequim 3
United Arab Emirates
T: +971 4 404 3700
F: +971 4 348 6362
Toll Free: 800 4558