: As Malaysia is ranked top as a retirement destination among North Americans, Tourism Malaysia is pleased that the potential retirees have cited the country's infrastructure and climate as the pull factors to draw them here.
Malaysia figures in the latest Annual Global Retirement Index for 2014
by International Living, which draw up a comprehensive list of the so-called “best-bang-for-your-buck” retirement destinations on the planet.
"We are happy to be placed top and that many choose to retire in Malaysia for the country’s world-class healthcare, which is cheaper than Europe.
"In addition, Malaysia’s weather is more comfortable as compared to the cold climate in the US and Europe," said ‘Malaysia My Second Home Programme’ director Ahmad Salwadi Salleh when contacted by Astro AWANI, here today.
As plans to make Malaysia more lucrative to the potential retirees, Ahmad Salwadi also acknowledges that the other countries are listed ahead of Malaysia due to their geographical factors.
Malaysia was listed as one of the top five retirement destinations, just behind Ecuador, Mexico and Panama – but ahead of all the Asian retirement destinations. - File Photo
"Most of them opt for Ecuador, Panama or Mexico because of their proximity to the US. If they want to come to Malaysia, they are required to travel more than 24 hours to reach the country,” he said.
Ahmad Salwadi also expressed that Tourism Malaysia is pleased that the country is ranked the best in Asia.
“The cost of living in Malaysia is lower than Singapore. The cost of living may be similar with Indonesia and Thailand, but we do have better infrastructure, education and climate,” he said.
When asked to comment on the MMH2 programme, Ahmad Salwadi said that Japanese makes up the largest group of foreigners in Malaysia.
"Although the majority of those under the MMH2 programme are from China, they are mostly aged below 50. If we look at those aged 50 years and above, then it is the Japanese that make up the majority.
"For eight consecutive years, Malaysia has become the number one destination for Japanese retirees due to several natural phenomenons that occur in Japan such as the tsunami and cold weather. They also choose Malaysia because they want to avoid the cold and also they want to enjoy the affordable healthcare.
Ahmad Salwadi said Tourism Malaysia will be working closely with the survey organisation, International Living to identify what are lacking in the country.
“This requires the cooperation of various parties and ministries to ensure that Malaysia continues to be a destination that is comfortable and nice for the retirees," he said.