Dean and Simonetta Smith

This monTh, we interviewed Dean and Simonetta Smith who are happily settled in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, under the MM2H programme. Dean, who hails from the UK and Simonetta, who is of Italian-Mexican descent, chose Malaysia as their home-away-from-home because of the low cost of living and warm, tropical climate.

The Expat: How long have you lived in malaysia under the mm2H programme?
Dean: Over a year and a half since January 2007.

The Expat: How/where did you hear about the mm2H programme?
Dean: I was travelling to Malaysia a lot and I found out about the MM2H programme through my expat friends here. They suggested that this would be a potential option for me if I wanted to settle in Malaysia.

The Expat: what do you do for a living / what did you before retirement?
Dean: I am the head of a regional office for a software company, based in Bangalore, India. Our headquarters is in Singapore.

The Expat: Had you spent time in malaysia before moving here? when?
Dean: Yes, I did. I conducted some projects about 12 years ago and probably spent about 18 months here.

The Expat: can you describe what it is about malaysia that tempted you to join the mm2H scheme?
Dean: I liked the location because it’s near Australia, India and Singapore – the countries where we carry out businesses often and Kuala Lumpur is very convenient for us. The quality of living is quite good although there are some downsides, as is in any country. Overall, Malaysia is a good place to be as the general population is warm and friendly.

The Expat: what other countries did you consider and why did you ultimately discount them?
Dean: For me personally, the other viable country was Singapore because I needed to be centrally positioned between Indonesia, Thailand and India for work. But in terms of cost and quality of living, KL was the best option. Australia was a bit too far for us.

The Expat: can you describe the opinion of malaysia that you had before you began looking into life here?
Dean: I was quite well versed with Malaysia before I moved here as I have many friends who moved here before me, so I had a pretty good understanding about the country.

The Expat: In what ways is malaysia the same and in what ways is it different to that expectation?
Dean: One area which differs is the quality of service in Malaysia. It was different before when I used to stay in hotels during business trips I didn’t have to worry about utility bills and paying for household services. Now, living in a house with my family, I realise there is some bureaucracy and a lack of proper services. Compared to Singapore, Malaysia lacks a little in that area.

The Expat: tell us about your favourite holidays and experiences in malaysia since joining mm2H?
Dean: One of our favourite holiday destinations is Langkawi because it’s got everything you need there – good weather all year round, beautiful beaches and good quality hotels. Moreover, Langkawi has a huge tourist market as it is tax-free. It is a good place for a holiday escape especially during weekends. Terengganu in the East Coast and the surrounding islands such as Perhentian is also the perfect place for a do-nothing weekend. We also found Cameron Highlands very refreshing and the resorts there are good in terms of quality. Our next trip will probable be to Fraser’s Hill.

By Aida Ahmad