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Housing the expatriates
22/01/2004 NST-PROP By Khairil Anhar

Since the launch of the Malaysia: My Second Home programme, the country has witnessed an influx of foreign residents with the funds to live a good life, whether as retirees or as businessmen.

Foreigners who arrive in a country with different social and cultural norms would have some particular requirements when searching for a place to call “home”.

These demands could be as diverse as the expatriate’s ethnic origin, lifestyle and purpose for living in a strange country.

Developers and real estate agencies in Malaysia are more or less on the ball as to what these demands are, resulting in certain localities and types of dwellings being choice spots for expatriates.

Most expatriates cite location as their top requirement, with proximity to schools for the children, their workplace and a commercial-entertainment hub being among the key considerations. Other requisites include security and a community or environment that reminds them of home.

According to a Canadian High Commission officer, “most expatriates with families will look for a place to live that’s close to an international school”.

From her experience, she said, “Where are the schools” is the first question posed by parents coming to live in Malaysia because they do not want their children to waste time on the journey to school.

In Kuala Lumpur, this is why housing near Mont’ Kiara, where the Garden International School is located, and in Ampang, where Fairview International School operates, are in demand.

Proximity to the workplace is another important consideration, as there is concern over chaotic traffic conditions in places such as KL and Penang. The only way to avoid spending fruitless hours in congested traffic is to live close to the workplace.

A home near the city centre and its facilities is also important for those in business and commerce. The city is also the place they return to, for dining and entertainment after hours and on weekends.

Security is another crucial factor, especially with the rising crime rate. As such, condominiums and gated-and-guarded communities are especially appealing, as they usually come with 24-hour security service and adequate and proper car-parking bays.

According to Sunrise Bhd’s senior corporate communications manager Joachim Ng, “expatriates demand a safe place for their families, and we are fortunate that there are a number of well-managed high-end condos in the country that offer a high standard of security”.

Sunrise is developer of Mont’ Kiara, one of the most reputable condo developments in the country.

Said Ng: “As transient residents, expatriates want to live in a community they can relate to.

“More and more developers are recognising the need to provide a sense of community in their projects where the population is mainly expatriates, where the families can fraternise in a safe environment. This is why Mont’ Kiara has grown to become one of the best expatriate settlements in Malaysia.”


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