Three Malaysian cities beat Singapore as best bang for buck worldwide

This year in the region, KL ranked 54th most expensive country compared to Singapore which ranked 10th. — AFP pic
This year in the region, KL ranked 54th most expensive country compared to Singapore which ranked 10th. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 ― The cost of living gap between Malaysia and Singapore has widened over the last 12 months, making three cities here among the 50 cheapest locations globally while the red dot ranks 10th priciest in Asia-Pacific.

According to the Cost of Living survey by ECA International released today, Kuala Lumpur, George Town and Johor Baru are cheaper for expatriates because of the depreciated Malaysian ringgit.

“The continued weakness of the Malaysian ringgit is responsible for Kuala Lumpur’s decline in the rankings, as well as Johor Baru’s status as the location with the second-lowest cost of living in the region,” Lee Quane, ECA’s regional director for Asia, said in a statement.

“Cities in Malaysia continue to rank amongst those with the lowest cost of living for international assignees in the world, and have even become marginally cheaper over the past five years.”

This year in the region, KL ranked 54th most expensive country compared to Singapore which ranked 10th. In 2016, KL had ranked 49th while Singapore was ranked the same.

Globally, KL was ranked 212nd among 262 locations, making it among the 50 most cheapest cities.

Other Malaysian cities were also in the bottom 50: George Town at 245th and Johor Baru at 250th.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Singapore was the 24th most expensive location globally.

“Prices have risen in Singapore since our last survey. Therefore, in local currency terms expatriates in Singapore will clearly have felt an increase in their cost of living in the past twelve months,” Quane said.

“However, as the Singapore dollar has depreciated against many currencies over the course of the last year, this has made the cost of living cheaper relative to several other locations than it was a year ago.”

The Cost for Living survey is carried out twice a year in March and September, using a basket of day-to-day goods and services commonly purchased.

ECA International describes itself as a provider of knowledge, information and technology that enables businesses to manage their international reward programmes.

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