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Moving to KL - Advice please!

Moving to KL - Advice please!

Old Apr 9th 2007, 8:40 pm
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Smile Moving to KL - Advice please!

My husband has just been offered a job in KL, & we are looking for advice! We are complete newbies to expat living, and have 3 children aged 9, 6 & 1. We are in the process of negotiating his contract, but we are worried that we are missing something out, or whether we have not got a good deal, etc. Can anyone advise what should be included as must haves, and any nice to haves?

I'm also after general advice - where to live, what are good schools (we've looked at the web site of the Alice Smith school, is it any good?), what is a decent rental rate, etc. Also what kind of general day to costs are we likely to incur? Sorry to ask so much but any help would be much appreciated!

thanks

Lindsay
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Old Apr 10th 2007, 12:05 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Originally Posted by Lindsaylupin View Post
My husband has just been offered a job in KL, & we are looking for advice! We are complete newbies to expat living, and have 3 children aged 9, 6 & 1. We are in the process of negotiating his contract, but we are worried that we are missing something out, or whether we have not got a good deal, etc. Can anyone advise what should be included as must haves, and any nice to haves?

I'm also after general advice - where to live, what are good schools (we've looked at the web site of the Alice Smith school, is it any good?), what is a decent rental rate, etc. Also what kind of general day to costs are we likely to incur? Sorry to ask so much but any help would be much appreciated!

thanks

Lindsay

My wife went to Alice Smith its the best in KL

Join the lakeclub and would recommend Bukit Bandar Raya, Pantai & Damansara as nice residential areas to live. Its very western but retains some nice coffee houses.

Try and get (in no particular order):
Private school fees paid
Annual ticket home
Driver and car
Allowance for stay in maid - cooking and cleaning
Membership to a private club (swimming pool, tennis courts, gym etc ie Lakeclub, Royal Selangor Golf Club (RSGC))
Rental allowance
Private health insurance/cover

Enjoy
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Old Apr 10th 2007, 1:21 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Originally Posted by Geelong Gent View Post
My wife went to Alice Smith its the best in KL

Join the lakeclub and would recommend Bukit Bandar Raya, Pantai & Damansara as nice residential areas to live. Its very western but retains some nice coffee houses.

Try and get (in no particular order):
Private school fees paid
Annual ticket home
Driver and car
Allowance for stay in maid - cooking and cleaning
Membership to a private club (swimming pool, tennis courts, gym etc ie Lakeclub, Royal Selangor Golf Club (RSGC))
Rental allowance
Private health insurance/cover

Enjoy
I'd say that about covers everything.

Some you won't get and once you've lived overseas for say two years you will now enough to want to change how the company provides the allowances and lets you utilise them.

You might want to ask about details of areas or countries in which your husband will be required to work rather than a general statement about him working where required.
Also working hours and number of days holiday.

You should prioritise the list as well, and start with the ones you consider the most important.
You might find the company's attitude changes as you ask for more info or more items which require cash and therefore you might drop of some of the items you find less important.

Top of the list should be
salary
housing allowance
school fees
health insurance, medical and dental for all the family, perhaps even medi flights back to UK

etc etc.
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Old Apr 10th 2007, 10:45 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Thanks for your replies, they are really useful. I've thought of a few more queries:
Can anyone advise what type of duties a maid would be expected to do?
Is it usual to have more than 1 car?
What is the public transport system like?
How expensive are utility bills?

Thanks for your collective advice!
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Old Apr 11th 2007, 1:49 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Originally Posted by Lindsaylupin View Post
Thanks for your replies, they are really useful. I've thought of a few more queries:
Can anyone advise what type of duties a maid would be expected to do?
Is it usual to have more than 1 car?
What is the public transport system like?
How expensive are utility bills?

Thanks for your collective advice!
One thing about a maid. Actually quite a few points re reading this.

Obviously the maid will have a lot of contact with your 3 children.

That's normal.

She'll also be involved with the housework.
So she's likely to be very busy.

Surprisingly many people think that they can be nasty to their maid and still expect that to have no impact on how the maid treats the children.
Always bear in mind that if you 'mistreat' the maid she can get her own back on your kids.
Not saying you will 'mistreat' the maid but anyway.

Think about your ground rules with the maid before she starts work with you.

Be firm but fair, that old chestnut.
And don't be too soft or too strict.

Our maid eats what we do at the table with us.
Mind you we now eat a lot of local food.
She comes out with us when ever.
But we both understand that she is employed by us and there are rules.

We recently went to the AGM of a condo where we own a property and some of the owners wanted their maids to be able to use the pool, BBQ pits and other condo facilities as and when they wished. Not only that but to invite maid friends, from other condos and their boyfriends, many of whom are construction workers, to those 'parties'.

Now to us that sort of thing is a definite no no.
But it does show how other people think about how their maids should be treated.

BTW we tended to agree that those type of parties mentioned above might be allowable if the maid's employer was continually at the party.
But those people who wanted this freedom for the maids weren't agreeable to being at these parties.
Funny innit.

Last edited by ex reg; Apr 11th 2007 at 2:11 am.
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Old Apr 11th 2007, 1:59 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Originally Posted by Lindsaylupin View Post
Thanks for your replies, they are really useful. I've thought of a few more queries:
Can anyone advise what type of duties a maid would be expected to do?
Is it usual to have more than 1 car?
What is the public transport system like?
How expensive are utility bills?

Thanks for your collective advice!
A few more 'answers'.

Two cars is not normal but does happen quite a bit at the higher end of the salary scale or if both husband and wife work.

In KL the transport system is OK but if you are thinking of a second car then it is a big difference between public transport and a second car. .
I wouldn't use the local bus system in KL but I do in Singapore.
Taxis are also a bit hit and miss regarding pricing.
Anyone wishing to drive in KL needs to have lived there for maybe three months minimum in order to get both a feel for the driving and to know the roads especially if you haven't driven in Asia at all.

Utility bills are not too bad out here unless you really blast all the aircons.
Many companies do pay utility bills.

For ourselves although we used to always live with the aircon we've weened ourselves off it, and now just use fans, overhead or high speed, and it's so much better when you leave the house or go out anywhere.
Mind you it was only after living in the region for maybe 20 years that I decided to give the aircon a miss.

You want to ask your employer to let you spend some time maybe a fortnight or so out here so that you can get the feel of the office as well as the environment and housing.

Last edited by ex reg; Apr 11th 2007 at 2:16 am.
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Old Apr 11th 2007, 2:51 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Originally Posted by Lindsaylupin View Post
Thanks for your replies, they are really useful. I've thought of a few more queries:
Can anyone advise what type of duties a maid would be expected to do?
Is it usual to have more than 1 car?
What is the public transport system like?
How expensive are utility bills?

Thanks for your collective advice!
As Exreg discusses above

Look after your maid but don't let them take the piss.

I have only used the bus service once and found it okay but just very slow. Biggest problem I had was finding a parking spot - but considering the amount of traffic you get used to it - and choosing the right time to shoot across town (ie missing public servants lunch hour - sorry afternoon)).

Local food is the best - we always go out to the "cowsheds" near PJ

The driving seems hectic but you get used to it - chaos theory and all that. Get used to locking the doors before you leave and dont leave valuables on the seat next to you (when you are driving) there are alot of smash and grabs by guys/girls on bikes.

You will have a great time, and the kids will enjoy the experience. The school "Alice Smith" is extremely good.
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Old Apr 11th 2007, 2:51 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Originally Posted by Lindsaylupin View Post
Thanks for your replies, they are really useful. I've thought of a few more queries:
Can anyone advise what type of duties a maid would be expected to do?
Is it usual to have more than 1 car?
What is the public transport system like?
How expensive are utility bills?

Thanks for your collective advice!
As Exreg discusses above

Look after your maid but don't let them take the piss.

I have only used the bus service once and found it okay but just very slow. Biggest problem I had was finding a parking spot - but considering the amount of traffic you get used to it - and choosing the right time to shoot across town (ie missing public servants lunch hour - sorry afternoon)).

Local food is the best - we always go out to the "cowsheds" near PJ - or try fresh seafood out near Port Klang.

The driving seems hectic but you get used to it - chaos theory and all that. Get used to locking the doors before you leave and dont leave valuables on the seat next to you (when you are driving) there are alot of smash and grabs by guys/girls on bikes.

You will have a great time, and the kids will enjoy the experience. The school "Alice Smith" is extremely good.
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Old Apr 12th 2007, 1:53 am
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Thumbs up Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

A great way to make new friends in the expat community is MANZA; the "Malaysian Australian & New Zealand Association". I was a volunteer office worker in their Singapore counterpart, ANZA.

Any nationality can join and their activities are a lot of fun and you can get great info on all aspects of expat life from Manza. They also have lots of activities for children too and sport is a big part of Manza....they are Aussies and Kiwis after all! You may even want to do some charity work with the charities they are affiliated with once you have settled in and have time on your hands.

http://www.manza.org

http://www.manza.org/new/newcomers.html

There is also a British Association but if it's anything like the one in Singapore you may find it rather staid/sedate/stuffy compared to Manza.

Hope this helps!
PS: My children went to Tanglin Trust School in Singapore and United World College of SE Asia. Quite a number of pupils had either previously lived in KL and had attended Alice Stevens or were leaving Singapore for KL and were being enrolled there. I've only ever heard good things about Alice Stevens so you should have no worries!
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Old Apr 19th 2007, 5:38 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Hi

I live in KL, OH is in the oil industry and we have 4 small kids- originally from Aberdeen but been roaming the world for the last 4 years!

My older kids go to The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) just because we are used to the American system from previous postings and the classes are smaller (max 16 for the 7 year old) but I do hear good things about Alice Smith (OH went there from the age of 5). You should apply for school places as soon as possible - ie NOW. It costs hardly anything and gets them onto the waiting lists which are very long. Then when you get here you can visit and get a better feel for the school.

Almost every family I know has 2 cars - husband has the little run around and wife has the big people mover (we're the same). You can get a part-time maid that visits 1/2/3 times per week (aound RM15 an hour) or a full-time maid that can either live in or out. My daughter age 3 goes to a Montessori nursery called The Children's House (around RM3400 every 4 months 9am - 12.30pm) - excellent teachers, good facilities and she loves it! Loads of expats use it and some locals too.

Areas to look at

Kenny Hills (Bukit Tunku and Taman Duta)
Damansara Heights (Bukit Damansara)
Bangsar
Federal Hills

These are all on the west side of KL but really you could live in most areas and the school bus will pick you up. Check with the schools where they pick up from.

We live in Kenny Hills and it takes OH around 10 minutes drive to the Twin Towers at 7am every morning. He leaves at 5pm and usually takes around 30 minutes.

Good luck with the negotiating.

Galba
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Old Apr 19th 2007, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Originally Posted by galba View Post
Hi

I live in KL, OH is in the oil industry and we have 4 small kids- originally from Aberdeen but been roaming the world for the last 4 years!

My older kids go to The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) just because we are used to the American system from previous postings and the classes are smaller (max 16 for the 7 year old) but I do hear good things about Alice Smith (OH went there from the age of 5). You should apply for school places as soon as possible - ie NOW. It costs hardly anything and gets them onto the waiting lists which are very long. Then when you get here you can visit and get a better feel for the school.

Almost every family I know has 2 cars - husband has the little run around and wife has the big people mover (we're the same). You can get a part-time maid that visits 1/2/3 times per week (aound RM15 an hour) or a full-time maid that can either live in or out. My daughter age 3 goes to a Montessori nursery called The Children's House (around RM3400 every 4 months 9am - 12.30pm) - excellent teachers, good facilities and she loves it! Loads of expats use it and some locals too.

Areas to look at

Kenny Hills (Bukit Tunku and Taman Duta)
Damansara Heights (Bukit Damansara)
Bangsar
Federal Hills

These are all on the west side of KL but really you could live in most areas and the school bus will pick you up. Check with the schools where they pick up from.

We live in Kenny Hills and it takes OH around 10 minutes drive to the Twin Towers at 7am every morning. He leaves at 5pm and usually takes around 30 minutes.

Good luck with the negotiating.

Galba
Thanks Galba (& everyone else who has responded!), thats really useful. I've looked at the ISKL website & it looks a great school, although the deposits / registration fees seem very large for both the ISKL & Alice Smith. Anyway we are coming to the end of negotiation so we'll know shortly if we will be coming over. Also very useful about the maid, we didn't really fancy a live in so a part time one would be ideal.

Thanks again!
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Old May 6th 2007, 3:31 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Hi Galba,
You mentioned Children's House in your post. Which location does your daughter go to? We will be relocating to KL in 2 months and I checked out the Bangsar location while I was there a couple of months ago and liked it. However, I saw that there are 3 in Damansara Heights and was wondering what they are like. Heard good things about the one on Jln Batai. I'm debating whether I should sign up now or wait until we're there to check out the other places. But I'm nervous about losing a spot by waiting.

Thanks
Aida
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Old May 6th 2007, 3:39 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Hi Aida

My daughter goes to the one at 3, Jalan Batai Barat and loves it. The application fee is only RM350 (£50) and then you pay all the other fees when the child actually starts. I've already registered my 10 month old for starting in January!

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Old May 6th 2007, 8:40 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Thanks Galba! I'll sign up for that one then. The one in Bangsar required an $4600 down (registration fee, application fee, one term fee). My 3 yr old will be so excited. She keeps asking to go to school because she sees playgrounds in all the schools. The youngest they'll take is 18 months right? My younger daughter is 4 months and I'd like to sign her up when she's old enough.

Thanks again!
Aida
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Old May 10th 2007, 10:30 am
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Default Re: Moving to KL - Advice please!

Hi Lindsay!
I have just moved here a week ago from N Yorkshire with my husband and 2 children aged 1 and 3. I may have some good advice for you. Please email/pm me.

Last edited by newbrit; May 10th 2007 at 10:57 am. Reason: Email not available here?
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