Michael William Martin found out about the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2h) programme through a UK-based Malaysian friend but he firist came here back in 2000 on vacation. The Brit decided, almost immediately, that this was where he wanted to settle. “What with the climate, the culture and the cost of living as well as the ease of fulfilling the MM2H programme criteria, what is there not to like?” Michael laughs.
The 61-year-old Essex boy worked in the UK’s North Sea oil industry for over 20 years and latterly was a director of a business management/ICT consultancy. Like many other expats, Michael seriously began to consider the possibilities and options of living here after travelling around Malaysia. “I knew very little about Malaysia but after numerous visits here I figured it’s a pretty good place to be.”
Michael’s favourite holiday destination is Langkawi. “I have been there six times and still enjoy the environmentand scenary of the island.”
He has found it easy to make Malaysian friends. “I have always tried to live in a mixed community. I did not want to live in an expatriate enclave and mix almost exclusively with other expatriates (like in Bangsar or Mont Kiara for example). I make friends with Malaysians of all ethnic races very easily and have made many new friends since arriving here six years ago.”
The comparatively low cost of living is another big draw for Michael. “The living standards are excellent and compare favourably with other places that I have visited.”
So does Michael miss anything from his home country? Only his family and friends. He tries to keep busy. “I go to the cinema often and there are so many new multi-screened, well-appointed cinema complexes around it is so difficult to choose. I eat in both local restaurants and western style restaurants – I enjoy almost all food here,” he adds. Although retired, Michael is also the elected chairman of his condominium management corporation, and this keeps him extremely busy – too busy really. “I came here to retire and relax, not work!” he says jokingly.
So what was it specifically that drew Michael to the MM2H programme? “I was looking for somewhere warm, probably tropical in climate, where the cost of living was less expensive. I am gregarious, so I wanted somewhere near a large city, but not to live in a central city area – just to be able to travel into town for the night life if and when I wanted. Malaysia has provided most of what I was originally looking for and the MM2H programme made the decision even easier.”
By Aida Ahmad