Top Tips On Moving From Malaysia To Singapore: 9 Pointers To Fully Enjoy The Lion City

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Moving to Singapore from Malaysia might not seem like too much of a change, right? You might ask, they’re literal neighbours; how different can it be? Well, you’d be surprised! After all, Singapore is a highly dense urban metropolis with 5.5 million people from many different cultures. The city is often regarded as having one of the best qualities of life in the world.

This article will explore the true cost of moving to Singapore from Malaysia and the many things you need to consider before making an international move. Once you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to get started with one of our dedicated relocation experts to start planning your own move!

1. You’re Already Neighbours, Adjusting Won’t Be Too Much Of An Issue

Moving from Malaysia to Singapore will be a short trip. If you are starting from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city, getting to Singapore is only an hour’s flight. If you are closer to the border and prefer scenery, you could always opt for a ride.

According to a 2022 survey, the Malay population of Singapore sits at a little over 550,000. Thanks to their proximity, a lot about Singapore and its people will be familiar to you. Not only are there many Malaysians in Singapore, but Malay is also an official language.

2. You Can Visit If You Like, But To Stay Long Term, You Will Need An Employment Pass

Thanks to being very close to Singapore, and the application for visa-free access, citizens of Malaysia can enter Singapore for up to 30 days as long as their passports are valid for at least six months. You may leave and re-enter the country, with a maximum cumulative of 60 days.

However, if relocation is your goal, then what you really need is a Work Visa. Several types of work visas are available to foreign nationals depending on their skills and qualifications.

Work Passes are available for highly skilled workers, managers, or those who intend to begin their business in Singapore. Passes are also available for semi-skilled workers in construction, manufacturing, and other related industries.

Depending on your skill level and your experience, your future employer or employment agency will be the one to apply for a pass on your behalf. Once you have a work pass, you can now work in Singapore. As long as you renew your pass on time, staying in the country, long-term, will have no problems.

In due time, you may apply for Permanent Residence status. Singapore has several schemes depending on eligibility, but for one with an Employment Pass, you will go through the Professionals/Technical Personnel & Skilled Worker Scheme.

You should be mindful, however, that there is a 30,000 set quota every year for Permanent Residence. So, better evaluate your chances by looking up the qualifications that apply to you. Make sure you have a great relationship with your employer, a lengthy stay, and your finances are well in order. Maximise your chances of approval before applying, as the screening process can be quite stringent.

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3. Though Malaysia And Singapore Are Neighbours, The Cost Of Living Is Very Different

Singapore is often noted to be one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Coming from Malaysia, you will really need to readjust to the cost of living in Singapore.

To compare, it is estimated that a person will need 650 SGD (2,134 MYR) a month for their costs. A small family of four will need about 2300 SGD (7,553 MYR). These estimates are based on the cost of living in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Compare that to the cost of living in Singapore, which is estimated at 1,429 SGD (4692.85 MYR) per person. The same small family of four will need around 5,186 SGD (17,030.87 MYR) for their monthly needs.

That is more than twice the estimated monthly costs. It is common for people who live in new places to often convert back prices to their original currency and compare costs. This is a habit that one should avoid, especially when there is a vast difference in the cost of living.

The cost of living affects not only the price of goods but also the quality of life. Though prices may seem high, you will notice that there are conveniences that Singapore will provide in your day-to-day living. Better public transport, cleaner public spaces, modern amenities, and much more.

Merlion, Singapore

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4. Be Mindful Of Where You Settle Down, Housing Will Be The Biggest Chunk Of Your Monthly Expenses

Singapore is a small country. It only has roughly 733 square kilometres. Compared to Malaysia, there is a limited amount of land to go around. That’s why real estate in Singapore can get expensive.

We’ve already talked about the cost of living, but those numbers mentioned above still need to include housing costs. Housing costs are usually the biggest chunk of your monthly costs. That’s why it is important to choose the right place for you to settle down in.

Housing costs vary greatly based on location. Fortunately, there are lots of cheap places to live in as rental costs can go anywhere between 700 to 3,500 SGD. It would help if you looked into the following neighbourhoods:

Bukit Panjang is located on the west side of Singapore and is one of the more affordable places to live in. Despite its relatively small size, it has a lot of amenities, such as malls and better roads that make it walkable.

Choa Chu Kang, commonly referred to as CCK, is a neighbourhood in the north-westernmost point of Singapore. Thanks to the Housing and Development Board, CCK has rapidly become a developed town with many rental and housing spaces.

Woodlands is a neighbourhood just after the connection to Malaysia. This neighbourhood is excellent for expats as it has many foreign nationals while having affordable housing.

You can explore several other places, but just be sure to do your research to find the best deals. Once you’ve stayed in Singapore for a long time and are eligible to be a Permanent Resident, you should consider purchasing property through the Housing & Development Board.

No matter where you decide to make your home in Singapore, Sanelo’s customized pre-move consultation and household survey can help you plan for what to bring with you.

5. Healthcare Services Are Excellent In Singapore, But Do Check With Your Employer About The Specifics

Singapore is at the top regarding several public services, one of the most important being public healthcare. In Singapore, MediShield is a universal, lifelong healthcare service that grants Singapore citizens and permanent residents world-class health insurance. It protects those who are eligible from large health care bills, so a person won’t have to worry despite their age or health.

However, for someone who possesses an employment pass, you will not be covered by the MediShield healthcare service. But don’t worry, there are several options available that are excellent but are also very affordable.

First off, if you possess an S-pass, which is a skilled work pass, the government of Singapore has mandated that your employer will provide you with health care. After all, S-pass holders have lower income requirements. This is a way for the government to ensure you will still get healthcare coverage without having to shell out personal funds.

However, if you are an E-pass holder, your employer is not mandated to provide you with healthcare. Remember that you must earn at least 5,000 SGD a month to qualify for an E-pass. Thus you can probably afford to pay for your personal insurance from private insurance providers out of pocket. Still, there are lots of companies that provide even E-pass holders of health insurance. Just be sure to open it up during your employment hiring process.

On average, a 45-year-old person will spend a little over 3,000 SGD per year on health insurance coverage. If you are younger, the cost will be significantly lower.

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6. Communication With The Locals Will Be A Breeze

When it comes to communication, you won’t have much of an issue. Malay is, after all, one of the four main languages spoken in Singapore, along with English, Chinese, and Tamil.

On top of that, English is widely taught in Malaysia. It is estimated that more than 60% of the population of Malaysia speaks English.

One thing to note is that Malaysia and Singapore have an English-based creole language permeating the local parlance. While Singapore has Singlish, Malaysia also has what is called Manglish.

Both are highly related, and one speaking Manglish will most likely be able to communicate freely with someone speaking Singlish. There is a lot of overlap when it comes to words, syntax, and even the use of several Sentence-final particles such as lah, loh, or leh.

It should also be noted that there might be a bit of a difference between accents and slang. Singlish leans more towards Hokkien slang, while Manglish is towards Malay. Still, it will be an easy transition and an excellent learning opportunity to better communicate with the locals.

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7. The Food Will Have A Lot Of Similar Notes, But There’s Lots Of Exciting Things To Explore

Proximity will always lead to a lot of influences and similarities, especially for something as universal as food. Singapore is labelled as a true foodie’s paradise. Thanks to being a cultural melting pot, Singapore has lots of cuisines available, and of course, that includes Malaysian cuisine.

There are dozens of restaurants in Singapore that specialise in Malaysian cuisine. For starters, you can visit the following, to name a few.

  • Meng Meng Roasted Duck
  • Lim Bo Rojak
  • Fei Zhu Lok Lok
  • Papich
  • JJ Sarawak Noodles

If you are up for a bit of exploration, Singapore has lots of Hawker Centres. There you can find so many different cuisines from all over the world. Whether traditional recipes or new fusion-type cuisines, one of the best parts about living in a city considered a foodie’s paradise is the chance to explore and discover new favourites!

8. Singapore Is An Excellent Place For Expats, So Don’t Worry About Feeling Lonely

We know that moving can be difficult. Sure, it’s close to your home country, but uprooting your life and living in a completely new place can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be so difficult.

Singapore is a cultural melting pot, and thousands of people like you are living their great new adventure. If you are feeling a bit lonely and want to be a bit more sociable, you should definitely look into expat events.

Several local groups hold events and activities such as quiz nights, workshops, talks, and so much more. These events, which often have an online presence, will often have these events as a way for people to connect.

If you feel that going to an event out of the blue is a bit much, you could also try and join online forums and groups. Join in on conversations, ask or answer questions, and make online friends. When you feel more comfortable, you can join actual gatherings. Making friends as an adult is more challenging than kids sharing toys at the park, but you never know the potential connections and friendships you might make if you don’t put yourself out there and say hello!

9. The Right Moving Company Will Make All The Difference

Relocating will most often have a mental toll on someone. You might get anxious, stressed about what to prepare, and a bit worried about the impending change and possible culture shock. We know it takes work.

That’s why you need a partner who will be there for you every step of your relocation journey. A partner like Sanelo. Sanelo has years of experience helping people change their lives by relocating to new places moving locally or moving internationally. No matter where you start, moving with Sanelo includes a comprehensive set of moving services to cover everything from packing for your move to ocean & air freight to storage for your belongings.

You won’t have to worry about your belongings as they will be well taken care of by Sanelo’s shipment protection services. You’ll just sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight to a new life that awaits you!

Conclusion On Moving To Singapore From Malaysia

The benefits of moving to Singapore will be a long list. The quality of living is very high, public services are excellent, the city is beautiful, and all the modern amenities you’d expect from a highly urbanised city.

Singapore is also a financial centre of the region and has many employment opportunities to further your career. Not only that, but the country is also a melting pot that has amazing food, people, and a mixture of many different cultures and languages.

There is something familiar, yet always something new to discover. So, what are you waiting for? Plan that trip today!

Still not convinced? Read up on some of our other guides on other places you can relocate to, such as Illinois, Colorado, or Hawaii!

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Singapore From Malaysia

Is It Easy To Live In Singapore As A Foreigner?

Yes. Singapore is a very popular destination for expats, and it is very easy to adjust to Singapore as a foreigner.

Is It Difficult To Move To Singapore?

Staying in Singapore long-term, such as getting a working visa or permanent residence, will have lots of eligibility requirements, but it is very much worth it.

Is Public Transport Expensive In Singapore?

Public transport in Singapore can vary anywhere from 0.99 SGD to 2.5 SGD, depending on the distance. Prices are also reduced if you use the many available payment cards.

How Soon Do I Need To Engage With Sanelo For Relocation?

Engaging with Sanelo at least 3 months before your intended relocation date will be best to give you and our staff time to prepare the requirements. Just contact us through call or email as provided on our website, and one of our representatives will be glad to assist you.


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