The Malaysian Insider has suggested that Penang is more expensive to live in than Kuala Lumpur. What do you think?
Of course, mainland Penang is slightly cheaper than Penang Island. A friend told me he could get an ‘economy rice’ meal in Butterworth for just RM3.80, while on average it would cost close to RM5 on the island, depending on what you order.
These are a couple of excerpts from the report in the Insider:
A poll by The Malaysian Insider found that Penang, a popular tourist destination, is more expensive to live in than Kuala Lumpur.
The cost of living survey conducted in December covered Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Kuala Terengganu, Klang, Kuching and Alor Star.
The survey compared prices of necessities, such as chicken, vegetables (mustard greens and red chillies), fish, house rental and the minimum wage in a month….
An individual would require an income of RM4,000 to survive on Penang island, given its high rental and expensive daily goods.
Trailing closely behind Penang are industrial cities Bintulu in Sarawak and Paka in Terengganu.
However, prices of goods in Penang are much lower on the mainland in places such as Seberang Prai.
The lower cost of living has made nearby mainland towns a sprawling suburban neighbourhood with heavy traffic flow daily on the connecting Penang Bridge.
The poll conducted in December found that a kilogramme of chicken cost RM9 in George Town, while it was only RM7 in Kuala Lumpur and RM6.50 in Klang, Selangor.
In Kuala Terengganu, prices of daily goods are comparatively higher despite its lower cost of living.
A kilogramme of chicken cost RM7.50 while fish, such as mackerel at the Chabang Tiga market cost between RM10 to RM15 depending on the quality.
The cost of seafood there is also not cheap although it is located near fishing villages.
However, low rental rates and toll-free roads have kept the cost of living relatively low in Kuala Terengganu.
With an income of RM2,500 a month, a family can own a car and rent a home.
Then again, many Klang Valley commuters pay a lot more in highway tolls and petrol (think of the hours stuck in traffic jams).
But perhaps what is driving up the cost of living in Penang (and elsewhere in varying degrees) is the spiralling cost of property, driven by speculators/’investors’ and property-led development. Market and retail traders and hawkers in Penang probably factor in higher property and real estate prices (apart from tariff/utility increases/civil servants pay hikes) when fixing their prices.
In JB, the stronger Singapore dollar and the higher purchasing power of Singaporean visitors and Malaysians working in Singapore but living in JB could also be fuelling price increases.
What do you think? Do you agree that Penang is more expensive than KL, Ipoh and JB? And how does it compare with the East Coast, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu?