Kingsley is Ghanaian. A husband and father of 3 who fell in love with Malaysia after a brief trip. He finally got the opportunity to work here and he moved in March 2018 for an exciting role in the banking sector. His wife and kids only joined him in June 2018. He lives in Mont Kiara with his family.
Why exactly did you move to Malaysia? What do you do?
I’ve worked in Standard Chartered for over a decade with diverse experiences in Retail and Corporate Banking. I moved to support our Investment and Business Efficiency office in Group Retail Banking.
How was the process of obtaining a visa and work permit?
My company engages a vendor for this process so it was fairly seamless and straight forward. The timeframe provided at the start of the process was largely met. Work permit does not however extend to spouses. To work here, my wife has to find a company that is willing to get the permit for her. From experiences shared by friends and our own, even though there are numerous job opportunities in Malaysia it is very difficult to land one if you’re from sub Saharan Africa.
Was your relocation process assisted by a relocation company?
My company has a strong International Mobility team that supported throughout the process. Where required, vendors will assist to find schools and accommodation.
LIVING IN MALAYSIA
What do you enjoy most about Malaysia? how’s the quality of life?
I first came to Malaysia in 2007 as a fresh Management Trainee of the Bank. I instantly fell in love with KL and somehow determined to work here one day. I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city life, the multi cultural feel, food, good infrastructure and so on and so forth. Malaysia as we’ve seen is a strong emerging economy with several opportunities for young people. I think cost of living is reasonable; there’s something for everybody no matter your income level. A drive around the country and townships will reveal a beautiful blend of modernity and rich cultural heritage. The people are generally warm and easy to get along with. It’s definitely a good place to raise a family and to live.
Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
As with many cosmopolitan cities in the world there are challenges. Vehicular traffic can be terrible sometimes. You can be stuck in traffic jams for long hours, especially during rainfall which is very common in KL, by the way. We hate paying for car parking everywhere we go. Even in hotels when you have paid to attend events. Gosh!
We do miss the religious freedom in Ghana and a sense of being with your own kind. Not being starred at in the mall or tarred with the same brush as some African criminals doing cyber fraud or peddling drugs.
Is the city safe? Are there any areas expats should avoid?
We think the city is relatively safe especially in the typical expat communities. You can go out at midnight without looking over your shoulders. Be extra vigilant of petty thieves in the city centres and avoid secluded fuel stations at night. Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle and do well to park in well regulated spots.
How would you rate the public transport? What are the different options? Do you need to own a car?
We find public transformation fairly reliable. There are modern buses and trains all over the city at affordable prices. You can also get by with local taxis or any of the car hailing services, even though the latter is quite pricey on a long term basis. Being a family of 5 we decided to own a car to have a firm control of our mobility. We think it’s also cheaper long term compared to going around with taxis.
What’s your opinion on healthcare?
Good health facilities and personnel. We find that doctors are more engaging and makes you comfortable
Which are the best neighborhoods for expats to live in the city in your opinion?
Given our brief stay in the city we can only recommend a few places – Mont Kiara, Bangsar, Bandar Utama, Damansara Heights, Mutiara, Kota Damansara
How would you rate accommodation in the City?
International standards. Condos typically have all the necessary and sometimes luxurious facilities and they are well maintained. Security is never compromised.
What’s the cost of living compared to your home country? What are the things you find really affordable here?
As earlier mentioned, the cost of living in Malaysia is reasonable. We find that food, clothing, air transport, fuel, electricity and water are more affordable compared to Ghana.
Are you part of any associations or do you associate solely with expats?
We are not part of any formal association but we’ve found a home in our church – Kingdomcity. It’s a good place to feel at home and be welcomed and accepted by all. It’s a fairly multicultural environment so one does not feel lost.
The small Ghanaian community in KL is a breath of fresh air. We find opportunities to catchup and bond over our cherished local dishes. In general, we mix with all manner of people so long as they’re open to associate.
See Also: The Ossoms – Ghanaian Expat family
Did your spouse or partner have problems adjusting to their new home?
Having previously lived and worked in the UK, my wife settled in pretty quickly. Her warm personality definitely played a critical role. She’s easy going and can find her way around things independently. She’s however picky with food (especially if it has curry or Asian spices) so that department is a bit late in the curve but she’ll get there eventually.
Did your children settle in easily?
Experience has taught us that young kids are very adaptable. My school going son made lots of friends in school and church quickly. They love to go out and play in the condo pool, play ground, sports area etc so they’re one happy bunch right now.
What are the schools like? Would you recommend local schools?
We cannot speak authoritatively about local schools as we’ve not enquired or researched on any. Even though the medium of instruction in most local schools is Malay we’ve been told some few local schools use English and expat kids can fit in just fine.
Medium to high end international schools can be quite expensive but you can find a middle ground in mission schools that use international curricula. Start school search early.
What’s the best advice you would like to offer a prospective or new expat?
Be very open minded and don’t have any high expectations of anything. Be warm, friendly and try out new things. Tourism is encouraged and well facilitated. Travel around the country and the sub region. Have rich experiences and good memories before leaving Malaysia – it’s truly Asia.