A very good friend of mine, forwarded me an email on why it's difficult to survive in Malaysia, as compared to another country, such as the UK. Since I've been living here for the last few years, I can agree with most of the contents of the email. The email tries to debunk the commonly held belief that the cost of living in the UK is higher than in Malaysia. That is patently not true. The email is summarised below:
For the purpose of comparison, we will assume that the a person makes about RM 2,000/month in Malaysia and another person that makes GBP 2,000/month in the UK. This is what an average graduate engineer can hope to make working in an engineering company.
Now, if we look at the table, it covers a home, a car, petrol, food, education and healthcare. Although the email goes into details of other things, I feel that these are the most important things in life for an average person. Everything else is a luxury. In summary, an average person has a higher purchasing power in the UK, than in Malaysia.
I would think that the most important factor in comparison, should be healthcare. Just like any other machine, our bodies will fail with time. We can go without owning property. We can always take public transport. But when it comes to the cost of healthcare, I think that the Europeans have got it right. Healthcare should be universally free. Granted, there are weaknesses in the NHS, but at least, I won't have to worry about falling ill while in this country, as the NHS is free.
PS: Of course, the best deal would be to earn a foreign salary while living in Malaysia. That's probably what a lot of people are doing in JB and Singapore.