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KL is becoming too expensive? Now ranked 182 / 475 cities. Wow…

After travelling 18 days in Australia, specifically Sydney and Melbourne, all I can say is that I need real food, for example Nasi Lemak with Ayam Rendang and I don’t even mind if the rendang is not crispy. Just joking yeah. Anyway coming back to topic, it’s expensive here (Sydney and Melbourne for a Malaysian) and I know, people wants to tell me that it’s because of your currency, that’s why. Perhaps it’s also good to ask those Australians struggling to get a decent home closer to the working place instead of one that’s over an hour drive away? I would love for ringgit to be stronger, who does not? A BIG BREAKFAST set in Sydney is around AUD25-30, depending on the place inside CBD. Whether it’s a proper restaurant or inside a small cafe. This is not something very affordable even if our Australian friend is earning AUD and not RM. I know, one does not need to eat BIG Breakfast sets every morning… By the way, an Australian earning above AUD7,000 is already within the top 25 percent income earners in the country. Source: sbs.com.au The middle income Australians? They earn between AUD21,930 – AUD78,205 per annum. Monthly wise, that’s between AUD1,800 – 6,500 per month.

Cost of food is however not a major determinant for cost of living. It’s usually related to property… From renting that commercial space to running a business to buying a shop-office within a popular area and even all the way to buying a small SOHO within the CBD or a modern and spacious home in a suburb around an hours away, all these would determine where most of our earnings go to. Remember that big breakfast set? Well, even if one were to eat it every morning, that’s still just AUD900 per month. Eat it for lunch as well, that’s AUD1,800 per month and if we include dinner, it’s still only AUD2,700 per month. Meanwhile, a mortgage for a AUD1,000,000 home with a 10% downpayment? That’s about AUD4,560 per month for the next 30 years or around 360 months… This is just so that one has a home yeah. Please take a look at the image for the housing affordability for some countries in the world not too long ago.

Source: Edgeprop image

Do not worry that you did not see Kuala Lumpur being listed yet. We are on the way up, definitely. Latest ranking show that out of some 475 cities, KL is now ranked 182nd MOST EXPENSIVE among the world cities. Here’s that article in edgeprop.my  Some of the items the researchers used in their calculations include: a litre of petrol, cinema ticket, a cup of cappucino and even half a pint of beer at a bar. This is what ECA International Asia regional director Lee Quane said in a statement in the article, “In the case of Malaysia, especially in Kuala Lumpur, this shows that the inflationary impact of the imposition of GST (Goods and Services Tax) seems to have been brought under control. Rather, it is the relative appreciation of each country’s currency that saw Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur rise in our rankings to 99 and 182 respectively.” Here’s that article for everyone to read yeah. They have many more examples too. 

I hope everyone noticed that Thailand is ranked HIGHER than us despite RM1 equalling to Baht 8. A friend pointed out many months ago that the food in Thailand is cheaper than in Malaysia. Well, I do not wish to debate (though I am crazy over Thai food) but this morning I had a roti kosong and roti telur and LOTS of kari ikan and dhal plus a teh tarik for RM4.20 and I was so happy with it! (I just arrived from Melbourne yesterday…) My business partner meanwhile had a nasi lemak set with teh-O and total came to just RM3.60.  Would appreciate if anyone can tell me what kind of breakfast they can get in Bangkok, Thailand for around Baht 29-32 yeah. In a PROPER restaurant yeah, not some stalls along the street. Someone told me that they could have a good breakfast of fried mee hoon with egg and a cup of coffee in Singapore food courts for just S$3.50 It’s okay, I know their food courts are very clean even if it is not really a restaurant versus restaurant comparison.  All these calculations continue to tell us that currency strength does not necessarily mean higher affordability or even lower cost of living even if it’s much more advantageous when someone earning a higher valued currency travel to a place where the currency is lower. Yes, I am extremely happy with all the opportunities I get in Malaysia thus far and have zero intention to migrate. Travelling to Australia again? Of course! I love the first world experience there.  Happy travelling everyone.

written on 16 June 2018

Next suggested article: Sydney: Cost of living, property, taxi, trains and shopping

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