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Making Malaysia the Second Home

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Text & Photo : M. Ismail

Frank Eggman is the Counsellor & Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Switzerland in Malaysia. He has been in Malaysia for two and a half years and a veteran in the diplomatic service – all 25 years of experience in his pocket. Most of his years were spent mainly in South America, the Asian region and some European countries. Home Finder catches up with Frank over coffee, taking in the “sights, smells and tastes” of Malaysia from a foreigner’s view. In this issue, Frank speaks a little about KL’s rapid growth in the property sector.

The property market in Malaysia, says Frank, has grown tremendously, so much more than his first visit here 25 years ago that he hardly recognises it.

“Buildings are coming up rapidly and I feel there is so much that Malaysia can offer in terms of real estate development.”

Frank attributes Mont’ Kiara as a prime location where buildings are “popping” up like mushrooms.

“These days I can hop on to a taxi, tell the driver to take me to Mont’ Kiara Solaris and they would speedily name all the condominiums in the area. They can even ask which particular block I want to be dropped off at. I don’t think a lot of people know the area as much as they do now.”

“From a foreigner’s point of view, I would say if someone is here on a work contract and knows he will be staying here for several years, he should definitely consider buying a place rather than pay horrendous rent.”

“They can choose to sell the property when their contract ends or keep it and make Malaysia their other home.”

“The property market here is very interesting. Bank Negara has done a very good job in harmonizing interest rates and coming out with special home loans enabling people to own properties.”

“These are forms of regulations that stabilize the market, thus making the property market here safe and sound.”

“As a foreigner in Malaysia, I have no doubts or fears whatsoever to invest in a house or apartment here.”

The property market in Malaysia, says Frank, is a “moving market”. He quotes Bangsar and how it was “home” to the expats some years back but isn’t anymore. As a result, prices of property in the area have gone down resulting in less occupants and therefore vacant units. But this is not all bad for the area as Frank observes. Buildings in Malaysia don’t last as long as those in cold countries where they are built to be insulated and solid to withstand snow and storm. Due to the country’s hot and humid climate, the construction of properties here is different from properties abroad, he says.

“It is good that the market can switch from one place to the other, giving the opportunity for old buildings to be torn down and replaced with something new and more solid using new technologies.”

Kuala Lumpur, says Frank, is still very green despite the rapid development and that there is no real concern about KL becoming too concrete.

“Wherever you go you have trees and huge parks. You don’t really feel the pollution in KL as compared to other mega cities. But people here should be a bit more enthusiastic with their gardens and keep them greener and nicer. It’s just a matter of taking care of your front yard.”

One other reason why Frank would recommend Malaysia to Swiss companies is because KL is a fantastic hub to travel to other countries.

“You have low-cost carriers, which take you everywhere at competitive prices. You can cover the rest of Asia easily from Malaysia.”

“Malaysia’s infrastructure is very good and you can travel in and out with ease via the international airport, Subang airport and LCCT to visit clients or companies. There are many short flights, which is fantastic – fast and convenient.”

Frank however stresses the need for those who plan urbanization to take into account public transportation to the city center. He suggests keeping the flow of traffic to outside of the perimeter, offering better public transport for faster movement within the city center and directly from one location to another.

“That will be my dream about KL,” says Frank. “Invest in public transport because nowadays it is difficult to take a bus to the city center. Everybody relies on taxies, which makes moving about difficult.”

“Overall though, when compared to other big cities, KL is a gem of its own and not as polluted as other cities in the ASEAN region.”

“The property market here is very interesting. Bank Negara has done a very good job in harmonizing interest rates and coming out with special home loans enabling people to own properties.”

– Frank Eggman, Counsellor & Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Switzerland i