Miscellaneous / Socio-economy

Compare cost of living around the world

Something not so heavy this time around – comparing costs of living between cities around the world.

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Just go to http://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living and key in the cities and they will tabulate the costs which are adjusted with the exchange rates and compiled with the real costs from each city. As the website stated:

Expatistan is a cost of living calculator that allows you to compare the cost of living between cities around the world. The comparisons allow you to get a better understanding of the cost of living of any city before you move there.

What makes us unique is that we collect the prices that we use to calculate our cost of living index from visitors like you. Naturally, the more data entered, the more accurate the index and the calculations will be.

We have compared the cost of living between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore as below:

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Comparison between neighbouring cities

So if you are trying to migrate or go for a holiday in another city, give this website a try and make your decisions wisely. At least it can give you a rough idea on what sort of budget you might encounter.

Thank you.

43 thoughts on “Compare cost of living around the world

  1. Pingback: 2014 COST OF LIVING INCREASE Review 2014

  2. From a perspective of currency, yes Singapore is more expensive. But if we look from a perspective of money earned in that country and how it is spent, Singapore is cheaper. It is because our currency is cheaper than Singapore’s. However salary-wise it is about 1:1. Eg, Fresh graduate in Malaysia earn RM 2500 (average) while in Singapore, they earn $2700 (average). Then you look at the cost of housing, clothes, transportation, Personal care, Entertainment. Don’t look at the currency, just look at the number. You would find most numbers are smaller in Singapore than in Malaysia. So it means with the monthly salary earned in each country, you can spent more things in Singapore as compared to Malaysia. Being Singaporean from this perspective is more manageable than being Malaysian. If I am a Singaporean having friend in Malaysia and both of us just graduated, I can get most of my things at much shorter timeline as compared to my friend in Malaysia. I don’t even need to own my own transportation because of the transport efficiency in Singapore. So I can do without the monthly car instalment and all the costs associated to it. …… then after all these……. I can hop over to Malaysia, with the power of Singapore dollar, Johor would be a shopping haven for me. That is if I am a Singaporean. Now, we Malaysian are just poor and life is difficult!!!

    PLUS, if you are Singaporean, you can travel to other countries for vacation and still affordable because of the currency strength. Being a Malaysian, travelling to other countries is considered luxury as our ringgit is cheap and buying power is therefore limited. Hence if you use the website JMD has pointed out, you would find that being Malaysian, it is cheaper to stay at home. But if you are Singaporean, travelling elsewhere might be cheaper compared to Malaysian. Eg Australia is 8% cheaper than Singapore but 92% more expensive that Malaysia!!! Ouch! Adoi! Aiyo! Ayoyoyo!

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    • From the website and how it operates, you can see that the prices of important items have already been adjusted according to the power of purchasing. So the argument that another country’s currency is bigger do not hold water. But since the prices are sourced from the public/users of the website, it may not necessarily accurate.

      For instance, the website asks what is the price of an average 1500 cc sedan car in Malaysia (RM90,000) and compare it with other countries where the users from that country, say Singapore will key in SGD110,000. Or they will ask for the cost of a 30 minute consultation with a doctor [RM1 in government hospital (RM60 in private clinic)] as compared to SGD80 in Singapore. These are estimated numbers.

      They will average it out (because many people will put in variables of data), and then make the comparison (currency taken into account).

      As for Singapore, the results is quite normal. They don’t say Singapore is one of the most expensive city in Asia for no reason!

      Thank you.

      Like

      • Yes, understand that the comparison is based on inputs received from the various readers. The website answers question like, “as a Malaysian, which is the affordable country to travel to, given my current earning in Malaysia?” Hence it is useful website that JMD share with us just for the rough estimation.

        I am sorry that my point worths a different topic which tries to illustrate the following: “Which is an affordable country to work and live in?”

        As an illustration”

        Malaysian:
        Earn : RM 2000
        Buy a camera Canon Powershot N RM 950
        Buy a Sofa-Bed Beddinge Lovas from Ikea: RM 800
        Eat Swedish Meatball 10 pieces at Ikea: RM 10
        Buy a book Mandela:The Authorized Portrait RM 198
        Summary:
        Salary: RM 2000
        Total Spent: RM 1958
        Balance: RM 42,

        Singaporean
        Earn: $2000
        Buy a camera Canon Powershot N $ 400
        Buy a Sofa-Bed Beddinge Lovas from ikea $ 345
        Eat Swedish Meatball 10 pieces at ikea $5.50
        Buy a book Mandela: The Authorized Potrait $ 64.83
        Summary:
        Salary: $2000
        Total Spent: $ 815
        Balance: $1,184

        As can be seen if I am a fresh graduate in Malaysia and has a friend living in Singapore, the Singaporean counterpart would still have $1184 left after spending on the same items that I bought. I just merely have RM 42 balance.

        The Singaporean can still rent a HDB flat for $800 whereas I can’t rent a house!
        My friend can still travel to Malaysia to spent on something else (strength of currency) whereas I can’t make it to Singapore with RM 42. So while most Singaporean would be able to travel overseas during the vacation, not many Malaysian would be able to travel outside of the country (selected few maybe).

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        • Hmm.. not sure why all those non-essential items were selected by you for comparison. You could be right in terms of the figures. But HDB flats are only qualified for income less than SGD1500 if I’m not mistaken.

          But in terms of purchasing power – as the website has calculated, Singapore indeed has higher cost of living. Can even look it up here – http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Malaysia&city1=Kuala+Lumpur&country2=Singapore&city2=Singapore

          Which is true, a single flat in Singapore could cost SGD2200 for rent where as in KL is just around RM1400.

          And to buy a house, price per square feet in KL would probably cost around RM300 whereas per square feet in Singapore is SGD1500++

          You win some, you lose some. But on average, Singapore is definitely has higher cost of living. Otherwise it wouldn’t be voted by their own people as one of the most expensive places to live in.

          But hey, we may choose to disagree and we are happy that your friend in Singapore is having the good life as compared to you here in Malaysia. Perhaps you don’t have to eat in Ikea all the time or bought that Canon Powershot.

          Thanks.

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          • It is not true that HDB flats are only qualified for income less than SGD1500. The average Singaporean live in HDB houses. I just googled their HDB website and it states that for a 3-room flat in a matured township, the average gross salary income must not exceed S$10K. Certainly the cost per square feet in the tiny Island Singapore would be more expensive compared to Malaysia.It is impossible to make cost per square feet in Singapore comparable to Malaysia. However property remain expensive these days even the average Malaysian find it difficult to buy a house in Malaysia.

            The items may be non-essential but for illustration purposes I am merely grabbing those items since their prices are conveniently available in both Malaysia and Singapore websites (you can easily go to Canon, MPH, and ikea website) for an apple to apple comparison. We may choose other essential items like cloth, bread, fish, onion and all the groceries essentials item and start to compare them (as I said, this would be a different topic and different exercise all together). We can table it like what I did and I am confident, the balance of the Salary would still be more there (Singapore) compared to here. So, even the basic necessities of daily life would be more “affordable” in Singapore without having to go to ikea or buy a Canon camcorder.

            I am just sharing what I know. Perhaps it might be interesting to carry out some survey, “if you have just graduated and start working, which is more affordable, to be in Singapore or Malaysia?”

            I think let the discussion stop here as JMD’s post is actually about sharing an interesting website and we are not going into anything serious! Cheers!

            Many thanks!

            Like

            • Yes that kind of survey would indeed be interesting. Thank you for the comments.

              P.S: For rental of HDB in Singapore, the ceiling income to be eligible is definitely SGD1500 as per their website here –> http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10323p.nsf/w/RentDirectHDBEligibility#Income%20Ceiling

              If buying a basic HDB flat must have maximum SGD10,000, then no wonder Singaporeans are flocking the property market in Malaysia since our way better property are priced very low. Salary RM10,000 per month can definitely get a good condominium here in KL.

              But you are right. The rental per month of HDB flats are only SGD275 per month at the maximum.

              Have a nice day.

              Thanks.

              Like

              • Jebat.. Rainbow.. Great discussion. Its very subjective. In this case between Singapore and Malaysia. thanks for all info🙂..

                BTW, for past 5 years I hv been HR Manager (regional) covering Phil,Singapore and Malaysia. I have around 100++ Singaporean staff and very closed with them. From my experiences, I could see that:-
                1. 70% of my Singaporean staffs request my help to get PR status in Malaysia Or get my 2nd home visa. They said they like it here in Malaysia. Maybe they just told me like that to impress me that malaysia a great nation to live, but… for me, they only want to live.. same like us. we want to live and fully enjoy our life with our hard earn money. (btw, 99% of my staff is chinese.)
                2. Their salary for fresh graduates 300-400 less than malaysian fresh graduates. (but they are in Sing dollar of course)
                3. They complaint a lot about a lot of things. (Same like malaysian) Long, hard and crap National Service, Cost of living, SPACE, lack of opportunities, government, Invader from China, etc.
                4. As comparison between 2 staff, same level, same age, same gender between 2 nation, I can see that, Malaysian staff got house, car, enjoy their weekend in malaysia sight seeing, watching movies, work till maximum 6pm, enjoy life, watching movies, laughing a lots and more creative… why more creative. it strange. maybe the quality of life make them be more creative. Or maybe because our malaysian way of thinking spark our creative mind.. or maybe because of food. dont know. It strange. considering that our staff in Singapore got better academic qualification make it more strange……. One more thing, integrate well between race, wheter malay, chinese, indian, expats, etc. (Still not as good as US. we have vernacular school remember.. but, still acceptable watching my staff treat each other like brothers. btw, my malaysian staff consist of 30% malay, 5% indian and 60% chinese, 5% others)

                As for Singaporean??? They work till late night… less enjoy their life. when I arrange karaoke+yamseng session, they feel its like a heaven and thanking me all night. They less creative. Hardly seeing them laughing in office. Bullied by senior is some sort of normal there. Unable to integrate well between different racial group..

                Thats from my perspective… and of course, there always pro and cons. My fellow malaysian brothers, let make our Tanah Tumpah Darahku better.. more money, more enjoyable, more happening!!!!!!!

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                • Neo,
                  Good that you are a HR Manager. Can you give us the actual average figures regarding salary for new graduates both in Singapore and in Malaysia? You did say in Singapore they earn by less by 300 to 400 but my findings (as my son works there) do not agree with your figures. Care to let us know what business sector is your company in?

                  Like

    • My dear Rainbow,

      That website states “the cost of living of any city before you move there”. So, if your are moving to the city concerned, you have to accept all there is in that city/ country, warts and all. It therefore means that if parking there costs RM50 per hour, you jolly well pay it or use your foot and sweat it out. If you are not moving there, why Ouch! Adoi! Aiyo! Ayoyoyo!? It’d be interesting to know what really pricked you!

      Not relevant to say transportation system in Singapore is good, no need to buy a car, but keep quiet about walking like a slave carrying all that you bought in Johor Bahru all across the Causeway under the hot sun! And there aren’t many places which afford exploitation of the Singapore-Johore Bahru heavenly benefits anyway, not even on a weekly basis.

      That’s why expatriates are given Overseas Cost of Living Allowances on top of their salaries so as to cater for the higher cost of living differences, if any. And if you are employed by a local company, your salary will surely be commensurate with the cost of living of that city.

      Btw, are you the Rainbow that some blogs associate with Lim Guan Eng of Penang? The one who was alleged to have caused an ash tray flung by Betty and the poor man appearing in a photograph with a plaster on the forehead. If so, how mean of you. You appear to be laughing at my country, Malaysia, and I’m laughing and sneering at you as a possible cause of the the forehead plaster.

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    • “if you are Singaporean, you can travel to other countries for vacation and still affordable because of the currency strength”?

      If the cost of living in Singapore is also high and you can’t save much, what to travel on?

      Like

  3. Pingback: 2014 COST OF LIVING IN AUSTRALIA Info 2014

  4. Good comparison with Singapore.
    Firstly the exchange rate is 2.5 times ie 250%

    Singapore new graduates earn a minimum of S2000 average
    Malaysian new graduates earn a minimum? of RM2000 average?

    So if Singapore cost 109% more, those earning in Singapore $ have the better deal and live in Singapore as they have almost 150% advantage in exchange rate?

    Is that how the comparison work?

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    • Not necessarily. Indonesia’s currency is about 300% smaller than Malaysia yet their cost of living in Jakarta is just 8% cheaper than Kuala Lumpur.

      If we use your Singapore line of argument, Jakarta’s cost of living should be more than 100% cheaper than in KL.

      This website gives you the rough idea on what to expect by comparing prices even after taking into account the purchasing power. That’s all.

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      • Ok taking Jakarta as the comparison. What is the average salary of their new graduates compared with our new graduates? If ours is RM2k or RM2.5K if they only earn R2k or R2.5k per month (I do not have any idea), surely they are almost 300% worse off?

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        • It doesn’t matter what they earn as comparison to other country. It is the purchasing power that matters. And that is what being compared here – via the cost of living.

          But hey, this blog did not create the said website and we don’t intend to defend on behalf of them. Any questions can be directed to them. Please make the enquiry.

          This blogpost is just to provide a rough comparison on cost of living. Feel free to compare between major cities in the world (not necessarily just with KL).

          Thanks.

          Like

        • MikeC,

          No such thing as earning in one country and living in another. You earn in Singapore and live in Singapore with the cost of living in that country. The few who earn in Singapore and live in Johor Bahru are harassed by Immigration controls on both sides of the border, and other regulations.

          The important thing is that salaries are always based on, and definitely take into account of, the cost of living in that country. So, if you have high salaries, you spend more, consistent with the cost of living in that country.

          No point comparing salaries in Malaysia and in Indonesia. Btw, you know that monthly salaries can be in the billions even? In Zimbabwe! I won’t even bother to find out the cost of living index of that place.

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          • I am comparing $1 with RM1 in earnings as an average salary.

            Chicken Rice $5 v RM5 per plate.
            Taxi $20 from airport v RM80
            Buses or LRT typical day $5 v RM10?
            Car? New graduates cannot afford to buy car in both country
            House/Flat? Nope for both, so stay at home?
            Rental 1 room $600 v RM500?

            At the end of the day, or month, how much savings or leftover?

            That would be the better comparison.

            Like

            • Not sure why the stubbornness in trying to compare between denominations. RM1 can get a teh tarik here. USD1 can get teh tarik in US?

              RM1 can get a 2 curry puffs here. How much rupiah for two curry puffs in Jakarta?

              RM1 can get a roti canai, how much in rupee the cost of roti canai in Mumbai?

              It’s the purchasing power that matters.

              Not sure what is the purpose to all these comments when the website gave data which says cost of living in Singapore is much higher than in Kuala Lumpur but some people chose to deny it and gave their own assumptions.

              Might as well throw away all the studies that have been made.

              On a different note, cost of living in KL is way higher than certain cities in the world too. It’s not all about Singapore. That was just an example.

              This post was published so that it can help people gauge in general terms the comparison between cost of living from one city to another. But if we want to divulge that anywhere in the world is way better than Kuala Lumpur, then perhaps that is for another posting.

              Thank you.

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  5. I like the words “if you are trying to migrate ..”. This has been quite often talked about since the Chinese tsunami. Even before – on Merdeka eve 2012 at the Dataran Merdeka where blokes were behaving badly with regard to the national flag etc that made Professor Emeritus (History) Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim tell them that if they don’t like the country, “Berhijrah lah”.

    Then when Anwarul Al Juburi and gang could not accept their loss at PRU13, went round demonstrating on the streets etc, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid said that those who don’t like the system used in the country (pertaining to election results tht have for 56 years been determined by the electoral college votes), they should migrate to countries whose system they like. Since then so many blogs have echoed what those two prominent personalities have said – if you don’t like the country, migrate.

    I echo those calls any time and all the time when there are buggers claiming to be citizens of this country but not respecting the Constitution – the highest set of laws from which all other laws emanate, that which cannot be contradicted otherwise ultra vires. The DAP has been known as anti-Malay, anti-Islam, caused the race riots of 1969 and has not respected the Constitution since the time they hogged the Maha Chauvinist and Racist Lee Kuan Yew’s slogan of “Malaysian Malaysia”. Wanting equality without acknowledging the Special Position of the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak.under Article 153 of the Constitution. Those belittling Malaysia and glorifying Singapore, like 1-2 comments above appear to be doing.

    Yes, to DAP and bad-intentioned, Malaysia-degrading blokes – who even include Anwar Al Juburi (he did those when in US etc) – I certainly urge them to check the cost of living of countries they like to live in, and migrate.

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  6. what about health ? dental treatment/care? vital factor. Dont want to live in a place where the publichospitals/emergency units are cramp 24/7 , wait nth hours for an x-ray of a broken bone.. exorbitant and bad dental service etc..Cant just live cheap with bad health or perhaps u die faster 🙂

    Like

    • Bing, you are talking about Singapore, are you? Hehe

      Last I checked, not too bad in Malaysia. If you talking about Malaysian gomen hospitals, a member of my family works in one of ’em – he said far different now than last time. Unless you went during visiting hours and mistook the visiting relatives as patients!

      Family ties are strong in this country – they do visit relatives in hospitals. That should be many plus points on the cost of “being alive” index in this country!

      Like

        • I disagree with you. You have not substantiated your allegations. I do not go to the link you provided assuming it’s the same kind of allegations. Otherwise you would have mentioned one or two examples in here.

          My own personal experience does not show decadence. No more the kind of doctors who say the illness is due to “angin”. One private practitioner GP and one Specialist I go to even take the trouble to sketch on paper when explaining the illness.

          I have a close family member working as a doctor in Singapore. His reasons are:

          a. easier to become a Specialist in Singapore – the field he is interested in is not too crowded there.
          b. better money – he wants to save and buy a house when working in Malaysia – as a Specialist.

          Like

    • Yes Thumb Logic, at least Rainbow had the courage and intelligence to argue using logic and with data which will be then read by all readers for them to digest. No compulsion in which argument to believe. Thank you.

      Like

      • If you are thinking of connecting your name to that fler’s mouth, I’ll support you, hehe. And hope that this comment passes the censorship master in here. We must have some humour, innit, this is Sunday la.

        And I have not said anything unprintable, have I? “The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars, but in those who think what I said above is tak kena.”

        Psst, do you know that the famous British playwright William Shakespeare knew Bahasa Malaysia during his time? He was in touch with Tun Sri Lanang, the author of Sejarah Melayu, what.

        Damn the Portuguese for ransacking Malacca and carting away tons of riches and literary materials from the famous entrepot in the 16th Century. And Stamford Raffles carting away loads of Malay manuscripts that were destroyed when one ship caught fire on the way to England. All the proofs to the Sakespeare-Lanang links disappeared in the ocean.

        And now this bloke Thumb Logic is able to stick out like a sore thumb!

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  7. Pingback: COST OF LIVING INCREASE 2014

  8. I have migrated. Yes I live and work in Singapore. Not that I like it very much here. But I fucking hate Melayu more.

    JMD : Comment moderated with apologies.

    Like

    • Good that you have migrated and we wish you well in Singapore.

      We don’t hate those who don’t like Malaysia but we just want all those in this country, especially those claiming to be citizens, to respect and abide by the Constitution of the country fully. Particularly the sensitive clauses pertaining to citizenship which the Malays agreed to for the non-Malays, it’s quid pro quo, the Special Position of the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak,

      So are the clauses stating Islam is the religion of this country, Malay is the National Language, and clauses pertaining to what has been called Ketuanan Melayu e.g the roles, functions and responsibilities of the YDP Agong, the Malay Rulers, the Rulers Council, etc.

      These were placed in the draft of the Constitution by the British colonialists based on the discussions and negotiations for independence with the British government by the Malaysian team which included representatives of all the major communities in this country. The draft Constitution was discussed, debated and approved in Parliament where, again, practically all the communities in the country were represented. The sensitive clauses are protected under the Sedition Act.

      I agree with the opinion that those not liking and not respecting the Constitution should migrate. It’s good for them and good for those who remain. We want to avoid another race riots of the type on 13 May 1969. I believe that with less of those not respecting the Constitution in the country, the less the chances of racial clashes.

      I note that you “don’t like it very much” in Singapore. Since you hate Malays more, and there are also Malays in Singapore, you should plan to go to other countries which take in immigrants quite readily – Australia, New Zealand, Canada. Look at the cost of living in those countries and you might find them to your liking. I would advise you not to waste your time trying to migrate to the United Kingdom – even if the cost of living there is attractive – because since the time British PM David Cameroon said “Multi-culturalism is dead”, the British Police have been hounding the over-stayers in the China towns there. Even the political refugees – the British are among the countries who take in the least.

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    • You may dislike certain policies but hating other races is a no-go. Here in Malaysia, no matter from what perspective the Malays are being seen, the successful people are still the Chinese. There are many Chinese businessmen around. Imagine if race is the issue, Chinese hate the Malays and Malays hate the Chinese and instead of “Belilah barang buatan Malaysia”, it becomes “Belilah barang buatan Melayu”. What would happen to the Chinese’s businesses in which majority in Malaysia is Malay?

      From my observation, Chinese in Malaysia don’t regards China’ Chinese as the 1st class. Likewise Chinese Malaysian is also not regarded well there. My Malaysian Chinese friends dislike Chinese Singaporean. So if you are Malaysian Chinese and living in Singapore, I can feel that sense of inferiority and that would affect your sense of belonging. Would you be able to call Singapore…
      …this is my country,
      this is my flag,
      this is my future,
      this is my life,
      this is my family,
      these are my friends
      ……

      Here in Malaysia, there are still so much to achieve, so much more room for betterment.
      So sad to see personal bashing and racy racial remarks being made when some points were being discussed.

      These days, they want religion out of politics not realising that politic is now the new religion.
      If you are Pro-BN, your belief is BN and you cannot touch anything associated to BN or face the consequence to be condemned to a certain degree. If you are Pro-DAP, your belief is DAP and there would be name calling. Then in Dewan Rakyat, issue of the rakyat is always tainted with ‘belief-bashing game’. To me, whatever you ‘believe’ in, we are all Malaysian and as one we should develop the country. If the country is moving in the right direction, we should be proud of the country’s achievement, no matter who the ruling party is because as Malaysian, together we should succeed.

      However I like the new development where even pro-BN bloggers are constructively critising BN for the love of the country. BN would be more respected if they listen more to these voices of the rakyat as check and balance to ensure they make wise decision from intelligent inputs. If they step in the right direction and achieve results, then we should be proud of their achievements as Malaysian. The presence of opposition can add valuable contribution to the country but if it makes a divided Malaysia adding fuel to the politic of hatred then Malaysia would collapse and eventually Malaysian suffer! By that time which countries in the world would accept us? Therefore it is here that we belong and together we build a successful Malaysia for our future and the future generation.

      Like

      • An errata:
        Stated as: From my observation, Chinese in Malaysia don’t regards China’ Chinese as the 1st class.
        Should be: From my observation, Chinese in Singapore don’t regards China Chinese as the 1st class.

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      • I quite like your views. Please be assured that many Malays are mainly against the “ungrateful ingrates” which usually refer to the DAP and those who think and act like them.

        I am not a member of any political party but I think the DAP has been racist, wanting equality without acknowledging the Special Position of the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak. I believe in what was written in the White Paper, “13 May 1969: A Tragedy, National Operations Council, October 1969” (can be Googled for details), produced by the authorities of the time and it’s not imaginable that they put out untruths and lies. The role of the DAP was stated in there in quite some detail.

        I think many of the racial problems in the country stem from the DAP as many of them do not respect the Constitution and the sensitive clauses in that august document, and they twist, spin and slant information to get the support of other Chinese until the Chinese tsunami occurred at PRU13, changing the sentiments of the Malays on racial harmony quite a bit.

        Politics we can never escape from but extremist politics we have to eradicate. On who started being extremist first may be arguable but on the race riots of 1969, they have been well documented – this Jebat Must Die blog features those documents and articles – they are stated in the information column on the main page here.

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  9. @Rainbow

    The key problem in comparing living costs between countries with different income levels is the different pattern of expenditure. Higher income countries have a higher cost of labour (wages are higher); therefore, anything with higher labour inputs will be relatively more expensive, while anything with lower labour inputs will be relatively cheaper. Your comparison is therefore incomplete, because you were only looking at material goods.

    Restaurants, hotels, and health services in Singapore for example will be much more expensive and take a greater portion of income than in Malaysia. This is a consistent, empirically proven difference with income/price differentials if you extend the comparison to other high income countries. The higher the income level, the more costly the services sector is.

    The reason for this is relatively straightforward – goods are by their nature tradeable, which means they are subject to global market forces. Globalised supply and competition conspire to reduce prices. Services, and especially personal services, tends to be more localised and non-tradeable, and thus subject to much, much less competitive pressure.

    Nevertheless, even with higher overall prices, higher income nations definitely have a higher standard of living, if only because material goods are cheaper relative to income levels. However, the difference in living standards would be sharply overstated if you rely on this metric alone.

    Interesting corollary: you can gauge the extent of Malaysia’s success towards becoming a high income nation by looking at the extent to which services price inflation is outstripping goods price inflation.

    P.S. Income per capita difference between Singapore and Malaysia has increased from a ratio of 3:1 in 1980 to about 5:1 now. However, after adjusting for purchasing power parity, the ratio has remained relatively unchanged at 3:1 from 1980 to now. Conclusion: much of the apparent increase in income differences between Singapore and Malaysia is largely due to higher service sector inflation in Singapore.

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    • I’ve read your comments before. I have not much problem with this one and I like your pointing out “Restaurants, hotels, and health services in Singapore for example will be much more expensive and take a greater portion of income than in Malaysia” and also the “higher service sector inflation in Singapore”.

      Like

  10. Work in Iskandar, live in Malaysia and earn in Sing Dollars. But wait a minute…..what currency will be used in Iskandar?. That is left for ponder.

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  11. As someone who is working and living in Singapore. The biggest chunk of money is spent on home rental. 3 Bedroom HDB rentals near the city starts of at $2500. Private apartment & condos may start at $3.5K.

    Daily necessities comparable 1 to 1 with Malaysia. Purchasing power to buy other ‘toys’ are better compared to Malaysia.

    In my opinion, the only comfortable way to live in Singapore is you earn minimum $15K a month. Well, that really depends on your level of comfort.

    For me, the only real reason to work in Singapore is money. Make a lot, save a lot and hoping one day to come back and retire in my hometown in Malaysia.

    Like

    • I like this comment of yours. It confirms my feeling that a lot of the talk glorifying Singapore is hogwash.

      I agree with the opinion that salaries are always commensurate with the cost of living in all countries concerned. Adjustable with the rise of the cost of living.

      But saving in Singapore dollars and bringing back to Malaysia in Ringgit is the smart thing to do.

      Like

  12. “In fact for the past 10 years, the quality of ministers has greatly diminished.”

    Appointments have largely been made out of political convenience rather than intellectual or mental excellence.
    The populist politicians get high votes in the party and get appointed to Cabinet. Yet being populist does not make a politician highly capable.

    Posts are also given to those nominated by component parties. And the Hindraf guy was made Deputy Minister for supporting BN. Fine, but is he towing the BN line now? That surely is one measure of acceptability.

    MCA has just elected their leaders. And the former MCA Youth Head Wee won the No 2 post apparently out of a populist attack on UMNO at their General Assembly. Would MCA take the 2 Ministerial posts reserved for them and tow the BN line? Disagreements they surely would be, but thrash them out quietly at intra-party meetings, thereafter keep to what has been agreed.

    But what disappointed me the most was giving Khairy Jamaludin a Cabinet appointment. He may be an Oxford graduate, but has been talking erratically, not in line with the UMNO aims and objectives in protecting Malay rights and promoting Malay interests. Those are signs of not being rational.

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