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Malaysian cities among the cheapest in the world for expats

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PETALING JAYA: Malaysian cities have maintained their position as among the cheapest in the world for expatriates, an international survey on the cost of living concluded.

“Cities in Malaysia continue to rank among those with the lowest cost of living for international assignees in the world, and have even become marginally cheaper over the past five years,” said ECA International Asia regional director Lee Quane.

Kuala Lumpur beat more than 200 cities worldwide in terms of affordability and cost of living by securing 212th position while George Town and Johor Baru ranked 245th and 250th out of 262 cities.

Quane said the depreciation of the ringgit contributed to the lower cost of living in Malaysian cities.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, remained the cheapest location in the region, followed by cities in Malaysia and Myanmar.

Singapore was ranked the 24th most expensive location for expatriates globally, falling from 18th place last year due to the depreciation of its dollar.

Hong Kong beat Tokyo to become the most expensive city in the Asia-Pacific region and the second most expensive in the world for expatriates.

However, Tokyo retained its position in the global survey at seventh place while other Japanese cities dropped by four places – Yokohama (16th), Nagoya (17th) and Osaka (18th).

The most expensive city in the world is Luanda, Angola, with the cost of goods – already expensive due to poor infrastructure and high demand – pushed higher by its increasingly overvalued currency.

ECA International carries out two surveys annually to help companies calculate the cost of living allowances for employees on international assignments.

The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services such as food, clothing, and household and electrical goods.

Living costs such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are not included in the survey as these are usually covered by separate allowances.

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