MALAYSIA on the Move!

The Centre’s roundup of some key industry news from Malaysia over the past quarter:

  • According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the cost of living in Kuala Lumpur is the lowest in Southeast Asia. Kuala Lumpur ranked 96th in its latest cost-of-living survey, even below the likes of Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh. The cost-of-living index is calculated by comparing the prices of 160 goods and services in the cities rated. The survey also noted that Asia now hosts five out of the six most expensive cities in the world and European cities, which made up eight of the ten most expensive places a decade ago, now account for just four. [Read more]

  • According to the World Economic Forum, Kuala Lumpur was placed seventh on a list of the world’s most visited cities in 2016, with the city welcoming more than 12 million international visitors. Kuala Lumpur even edged out popular Asian destinations such as Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong, which took the ninth, 10th and 11th spots respectively. Other Southeast Asian cities included Bangkok (top spot) and Singapore (sixth place). [Read more]

  • Penang has been recommended as one of the 17 best places to visit in 2017 by According to, Penang is arguably one of Asia's best street food destinations. It offers a mix of traditional Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes, as well as fusion cuisines such as Baba Nyonya, or Peranakan, which incorporates regional ingredients and Chinese and Malay cooking methods. Combine this with the city's collection of historic buildings in various styles, from old English colonial mansions to classical Chinese shop houses and Islamic mosques, and you have a city made for walking and eating. [Read more]

  • Malaysia topped the Southeast Asian nations in the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2017 rankings. Malaysia placed fourth in the overall index, which offers a snapshot of industry sentiment and a ranking of the world’s top 50 leading emerging markets by size, business conditions and infrastructure and transport connections. According to Agility Global Integrated Logistics Chief Executive Officer, Chris Price, Malaysia’s open economy and continued investment in infrastructure have positioned it as an attractive export location. China was again the number one emerging market ahead of India, which achieved its highest-ever index ranking, and United Arab Emirates (UAE). [Read more]

  • The Malaysian economy picked up pace in the final quarter of last year (2016) and grew at 4.5%, bringing last year’s overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 4.2%. According to Bank Negara Malaysia, growth was driven by the manufacturing and services sectors, while exports contributed positively as real exports expanded at a faster rate than real imports. Private investments also recorded strong growth and the Malaysian government will need to be more aggressive in attracting trade and investment activities, including stepping up domestic investments. [Read more]

  • The Malaysian government has waived its visa fees for Indians, except a processing fee of $USD20 (RM84), for single entry visas valid for 15 days. According to Tourism and Culture Minister, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, India was the sixth top tourist source market for Malaysia and last year, from January to October, with a total of 540,530 Indian tourists. [Read more]

  • Despite the uncertainties in global and regional markets, Malaysian business events players are optimistic about their core markets in 2017, based on forward bookings and enquiries received at the end of 2016. It was claimed that the weakened ringgit, which depreciated by 7% in November alone, after the US presidential election, has helped secure new business in the country. That said, despite feeling optimistic about their core markets, Malaysian business event players are also bracing for another challenging year in 2017. According to Syed Razif Al-Yahya, Group Managing Director of Sutra Group Companies, the cost-cutting fever that plagued companies and government agencies in 2016 will continue into 2017. [Read more]

  • Malaysia has been ranked the 49th richest country in the world’s richest and poorest countries for 2016 rankings, released by Global Finance, a monthly magazine based in New York. Malaysia fared as the third best Southeast Asian country behind Singapore, which is listed as the fourth richest country in the world and top in Southeast Asia, and second placed Brunei, which also ranked fifth in the world. [Read more]

  • Malaysia Airlines has become the first Malaysian carrier to receive the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Fast Travel Green certificate. It recognises the airline's efforts at making passenger travel more flexible and convenient via self-service facilities. The airline earned the Green ranking by meeting five of the requirements, namely check-in, bags ready-to-go, flight re-booking, self-boarding and bag recovery. [Read more]

  • Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) will soon introduce busses between Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2, in an effort to better facilitate passenger connections. According to MAHB General Manager of Marketing, Mohamed Sallauddin, the services are likely to start in within the next couple of months. He said, a study found that passenger flying patterns were flexible. Some would connect between low-cost carriers and full-service carriers, instead of just flying on one type of airline. The bus between the terminals is not viewed as a long-term solution however, with the operator encouraging airlines to establish their own interline relationships and “self-generate demand for connectivity”. [Read more]

  • A new landmark in Malaysia’s civil aviation industry, the Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre (KL ATCC) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), was recently launched. At the ground-breaking ceremony for the RM650 million complex, Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, said it would be another important milestone in the country's transformation programme, to improve the quality of public service delivery. The complex will house the air traffic control operations for the Kuala Lumpur Flight Information Region (KL FIR), becoming the backbone of the country's air traffic control, as well as the central coordination centre for the Department of Civil Aviation's (DCA) Search and Rescue (SAR) system. [Read more]

  • According to a report titled “4 Countries With The Best Healthcare In The World” by International Living, a leading expat lifestyle publication, Malaysia has been recognised as among the top four destinations for foreigners, especially those from developed countries, to get good healthcare. Malaysia is also the only Asian country in the report, ahead of Costa Rica, Colombia and Mexico which are second, third and fourth, respectively. The publication said the healthcare available is sometimes even better than what’s on offer in developed countries, and at a more affordable price. According to the report, the key benefit for getting good healthcare in Malaysia is that the doctors speak English and that the country have some of the best-trained doctors in Asia, with many graduating from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. [Read more]
Destination Highlights