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Property Legal Cost

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Buying costs are very low in Malaysia

How high are realtors’ and lawyers’ fees in Malaysia? What about other property purchase costs?

Transaction Costs

    Who Pays?
Stamp Duty 1% – 3% buyer
Lawyer/Solicitor’s Fees 0.4% – 1% buyer
Other Fees MYR180 (US$49) buyer
Real Estate Agent’s Fees 2% – 2.75% seller
Costs paid by buyer 1.40% – 4.00%
Costs paid by seller 2.00% – 2.75%
See Footnotes
Source: Global Property Guide

How difficult is the property purchase process in Malaysia?

Foreigners can purchase any kind of property with a minimum value of MYR250,000 (US$67,977). They are allowed to purchase up to two residential properties – two condominiums (max. 50% foreign ownership within a block) OR one condominium and one of the following:

  • Terrace or linked houses above two storeys, but limited to 10% of the total number of units built of this type
  • Lands/bungalows and semi-detached houses, but limited to 10% of units built of these types

The first step to purchasing property in Malaysia is to hire a real estate lawyer to assist in the transaction. Once property is selected, a Letter of Offer/Acceptance is signed, and a 3% deposit is expected from the buyer.

Within 14 days, the Sale and Purchase Agreement is signed. The buyer must pay another 7% deposit. From the date of the signing, the buyer has a maximum of three months to accomplish full payment.

The Sale and Purchase Agreement must be stamped at the Stamp Office. After the examination on the property of the valuation department, Stamp Duty is paid to the Stamp Office. The transfer must be registered at the Land Office Registry.

Be cautious when buying new property in unfinished condominium projects. Buyers may not be fully protected against default, an issue vigorously raised by the Malaysian House Buyers’ Association, which has pointed to flaws in The Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act 2002, and the Strata Titles Act. Those buying unfinished property from developers should ensure that the developer has a valid Developer’s License and a valid Sales & Advertising permit

Footnotes to Transaction Costs Table

The round trip transaction costs include all costs of buying and then re-selling a property – lawyers’ fees, notaries’ fees, registration fees, taxes, agents’ fees, etc.

Malaysia uses Malaysian Ringgit. Exchange rate is at US$1=MYR3.6777 as of 26th October 2006.

Stamp Duty:


First 100,000 1%
Next 400,000 2%
Remainder (Over 500,000) 3%

Lawyer/Solicitor’s Fee:
Lawyer/Solicitor’s Fee


First 150,000 1%
Next 850,000 0.7%
Next 2,000,000 0.6%
Next 2,000,000 0.5%
Next 2,000,000 0.4%
where the consideration or adjudicated value is in excess of MYR7,500,000 negotiable on the excess (but shall not exceed 0.4% of such excess)

Other Fees:


Stamping fee (per document) 10
Adjudication fee 10
Search fee 60
Registration fee 100
Total 180

Real Estate Agent’s Fee:
Agent’s Fees are regulated by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (LLPEH). Commission is paid either by buyer or seller, subject to a maximum discount of 30% but a minimum fee of MYR1,000 per case. The scale is not applicable to sale of foreign properties in Malaysia.


First 500,000 2.75%
Remainder 2%

Written by changhwee

October 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Posted in Thoughts

How to Read TNB Electricity Bill

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Taken from 

    “This month’s expat survival looks at how to read your electricity bill and what are the payment methods available. Electricity is provided to both residential and business customers by Tenaga Nasional Berhad(TNB). TNB is the largest electricity utility in Malaysia and serving over six million customers throughout the Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.

Understanding your TNB’s bill:  


Brief translation:

Bahasa Malaysia




Amaun Elecktrik

Electricity Amount

Anggaran Pelarasan

Average Estimates

Bayaran Akhir

Last Payment

Bayaran Dimasuk Setakat

Payment As At

Bil Semasa

Current Bill

Bil Akhir

Last Bill







Jenis Bacaan

Type of Reading

Jum. Perlu Dibayar

Total to be Paid









Lain-Lain Caj

Other Charges









Tambahan Cagaran

Additional Deposit





Details of the Bill:

Every electricity bill contains important information. The most important details that need to be taken into account are as follows:-
– Station Number
– Customer’s Account Number
– Last Date of Bill Settlement
– Bill Codes (please refer to the reverse side of the bill)
– Reading (current/previous month)
-Total Amount to be Settled

Estimated Bill:
An estimated bill will be issued when no reading of the meter can be made by the Meter Reader. The estimated meter reading for a domestic customer will be done only for three (3) consecutive months. After that, a notice will be sent to the customer concerned for the meter to be read.
Calculation of Estimated Bill:

The estimated bill is based on the previous 6 month average consumption. It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that the bill is adjusted. To have the bill adjusted, the customer should contact the local Kedai Tenaga so that a special meter reading can be arranged for an immediate adjustment of the bill done.

Self-Meter Reading

If however, you are a domestic consumer on tariff A and have problems leaving the gate open for monthly electricity meter readings, you can read your own meter . All you have to do is to get a ‘self meter reading card’ from any Kedai Tenaga, fill it up with the meter reading along with the other details required, post it and TNB will send you a bill by post.

This can be done for 3 months consecutively. On the 4th month, TNB will read the meter on a date to be agreed upon by both parties.

– TNB’s bill must be paid within 15 days (refer to 16 above)

Payment Methods:
– Cash, Cheque, Bank’s autodebit service or ATMs
  (Cross cheque and make payable to Tenaga Nasional Berhad)
– Other Internet Online payment services provided by Malaysian banks

Payment Centers:
– Kedai Tenaga, Post Office, Kedai Telekom  

TNB’s new Call Management Center  
– for power outage reporting or complaints
  Tel: 15454 (Yes, 5 digits only from TM’s fixed line and not mobile phone)


Written by changhwee

July 12, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Thoughts

Really Bad Powerpoint

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Really Bad Powerpoint

By Seth Godin

I wrote this about four years ago, originally as an ebook. I figured the idea might spread and then the problem would go away–we’d no longer see thousands of hours wasted, every single day, by boring PowerPoint presentations filled with bullets. Not only has it not gone away, it’s gotten a lot worse. Last week I got a template from a conference organizer. It seems they want every single presenter to not only use bullets for their presentations, but for all of us to use the same format! Shudder. So, for posterity, and in the vain hope it might work, here we go again: Really Bad Powerpoint It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to champion at a church or a school or a Fortune 100 company, you’re probably going to use PowerPoint. Powerpoint was developed by engineers as a tool to help them communicate with the marketing department—and vice versa. It’s a remarkable tool because it allows very dense verbal communication. Yes, you could send a memo, but no one reads anymore. As our companies are getting faster and faster, we need a way to communicate ideas from one group to another. Enter Powerpoint. Powerpoint could be the most powerful tool on your computer. But it’s not. Countless innovations fail because their champions use PowerPoint the way Microsoft wants them to, instead of the right way.

Communication is the transfer of emotion.

Communication is about getting others to adopt your point of view, to help them understand why you’re excited (or sad, or optimistic or whatever else you are.)If all you want to do is create a file of facts and figures, then cancel the meeting and send in a report. Our brains have two sides. The right side is emotional, musical and moody. The left side is focused on dexterity, facts and hard data. When you show up to give a presentation, people want to use both parts of their brain. So they use the right side to judge the way you talk, the way you dress and your body language. Often, people come to a conclusion about your presentation by the time you’re on the second slide. After that, it’s often too late for your bullet points to do you much good. You can wreck a communication process with lousy logic or unsupported facts, but you can’t complete it without emotion. Logic is not enough. Champions must sell—to internal audiences and to the outside world. If everyone in the room agreed with you, you wouldn’t need to do a presentation, would you? You could save a lot of time by printing out a one-page project report and delivering it to each person. No, the reason we do presentations is to make a point, to sell one or more ideas. If you believe in your idea, sell it. Make your point as hard as you can and get what you came for. Your audience will thank you for it, because deep down, we all want to be sold.

Four Components To A Great Presentation

First, make yourself cue cards. Don’t put them on the screen. Put them in your hand. Now, you can use the cue cards you made to make sure you’re saying what you came to say.

Second, make slides that reinforce your words, not repeat them. Create slides that demonstrate, with emotional proof, that what you’re saying is true not just accurate.

Talking about pollution in Houston? Instead of giving me four bullet points of EPA data, why not read me the stats but show me a photo of a bunch of dead birds, some smog and even a diseased lung? This is cheating! It’s unfair! It works.

Third, create a written document. A leave-behind. Put in as many footnotes or details as you like. Then, when you start your presentation, tell the audience that you’re going to give them all the details of your presentation after it’s over, and they don’t have to write down everything you say. Remember, the presentation is to make an emotional sale. The document is the proof that helps the intellectuals in your audience accept the idea that you’ve sold them on emotionally.

IMPORTANT: Don’t hand out the written stuff at the beginning! If you do, people will read the memo while you’re talking and ignore you. Instead, your goal is to get them to sit back, trust you and take in the emotional and intellectual points of your presentation.

Fourth, create a feedback cycle. If your presentation is for a project approval, hand people a project approval form and get them to approve it, so there’s no ambiguity at all about what you’ve all agreed to. The reason you give a presentation is to make a sale. So make it. Don’t leave without a “yes,” or at the very least, a commitment to a date or to future deliverables.

Bullets Are For the NRA

Here are the five rules you need to remember to create amazing Powerpoint presentations:

  1. No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken.
  2. No cheesy images. Use professional stock photo images.
  3. No dissolves, spins or other transitions.
  4. Sound effects can be used a few times per presentation, but never use the sound effects that are built in to the program. Instead, rip sounds and music from CDs and leverage the Proustian effect this can have. If people start bouncing up and down to the Grateful Dead, you’ve kept them from falling asleep, and you’ve reminded them that this isn’t a typical meeting you’re running.
  5. Don’t hand out print-outs of your slides. They don’t work without you there.

The home run is easy to describe: You put up a slide. It triggers an emotional reaction in the audience. They sit up and want to know what you’re going to say that fits in with that image. Then, if you do it right, every time they think of what you said, they’ll see the image (and vice versa).1 Sure, this is different from the way everyone else does it. But everyone else is busy defending the status quo (which is easy) and you’re busy championing brave new innovations, which is difficult.

Written by changhwee

April 27, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Posted in Thoughts

New North Klang Valley Expressway

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PETALING JAYA: A new expressway is in the pipeline to link the various development projects in the fast-growing northern part of the Klang Valley, located west of Kuala Lumpur.

Sources said the Government had given the green light for Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat Sdn Bhd (or Sprint) to proceed with the detailed design.

Construction could begin at the end of this year and be completed in two to three years, said the sources.

The 23km expressway, to be called the New North Klang Valley Expressway, will be an extension of Sprint’s Penchala Link, which opens today.

This would allow users to get to Jalan Duta directly and then proceed to the Kuala Lumpur city centre, added the sources.

The new expressway is expected to begin at the Damansara Puchong Expressway (LDP) at the junction with Persiaran Surian in Mutiara Damansara and end at the Shah Alam-Puncak Alam road near Bandar Puncak Alam.

“The expressway will be elevated above Persiaran Surian from the LDP to the bridge over the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE). It will then be on ground level for the rest of the way,” the sources said.

While most of its alignments would be new, parts of the expressway would go over existing roads such as Persiaran Surian and the Sungai Buloh-Batu Tiga road between the Rubber Research Institute and Kampung Melayu Subang, they said.

These stretches would be upgraded to expressway standard, with six lanes and proper interchanges.

The expressway would have six interchanges and one of them would be with the Guthrie Corridor Expressway which is currently under construction.

The alignment would serve many development projects, such as Kota Damansara, Subang 2, Bandar Pinggiran Subang, Bukit Subang, Kayangan Heights and Shah Alam Two.

It would also provide a faster and more direct way to Bandar Puncak Alam and adjacent developments, including the proposed new Universiti Teknologi Mara campus.

“By 2010, the whole area is expected to have over 700,000 households,” the sources said.

Most residents in the area currently use the Sungai Buloh-Subang road to access either the North-South Expressway at Sungai Buloh or the NKVE at Bukit Jelutong or Subang to go to Kuala Lumpur, they said.

They said it would be difficult for the NKVE to handle the increase in traffic volume when the area was fully developed and could suffer from congestion, especially between Subang and Damansara.

“There is actually a shortage of direct routes to Kuala Lumpur for people in the area. The Federal Highway and NKVE are too far to the south, while the Guthrie Corridor Expressway runs in a north-south direction and does not bring people directly to Kuala Lumpur,” they said.

They added that it was important for the expressway to be planned and built now because land was still available.

“If an expressway is constructed after the whole area is built up, it will be difficult to find enough space for such a road,” they said.

Written by changhwee

March 9, 2010 at 10:36 am

Posted in Thoughts

How to pay less personal tax in Malaysia

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The 2009 tax-filing season for individuals has arrived. For many of us, April 30 will be just another day (perhaps accompanied by scrambling for our just-in-time filing) to settle our dues with the Inland Revenue Board by submitting the Form e-BE and paying any balance tax.

Before clicking the button to complete the e-filing, take a second look at the figures keyed in. Is the amount of tax calculated the lowest it can be? Here are some tips on saving tax that would not get you in trouble with the law.

1. Know your income: What is taxable and what is not.

Gone are the days when you agonise over the delay in receiving your Form EA from your employer. It is now a law for employers to issue the Form EA to their employees no later than the end of February. The key point to note is not all income in your Form EA is taxable! Scrutinise all the items in Form EA to see if there is any which should be tax-free. For example:

Travelling allowances

If you receive travelling allowance, up to RM2,400 for your travels from home to office is tax-free. What this means is if you receive an allowance of RM12,000 for such travel, you can deduct RM2,400 and only RM9,600 is taxable. Further, travelling allowance of up to RM6,000 for official duties is tax-exempt.

Meal, parking and childcare allowances

Many employees receive these allowances, do you? You would be happy to know that you can enjoy such perks with no worries about paying tax thereon (up to RM2,400 in the case of childcare allowance).

2. Make the most of all tax-free benefits.

Medical benefits

Medical benefits for traditional medicine including ayurvedic, plus maternity benefits are also tax-free.

Interest subsidies

Your employer may have subsidised interest on your housing, car and education loans. In the past, these subsidies would be taxable on you. Now you would be glad to know such interest subsidies are tax-exempt (so long as the total loans do not exceed RM300,000).

Broadband and telephone benefits

Who can leave home without the iPhone, Blackberry or PDAs nowadays? Getting such a device from your employer plus reimbursement for broadband and telephone bills are tax-free. So take advantage and enjoy the latest gadgets and services.

3. Know your limits.

Just as in drinking and driving, stay within the limits to avoid any trouble or triggering tax.

If you have enjoyed any staff benefits like discounts on your company’s goods or services and kept within the RM1,000 a year limit, you should enjoy tax exemption thereon.

Did you receive a small token from your employer on your achievements in service excellence, innovation or productivity which brought on a smile? Don’t blame your employer if they kept the awards below RM2,000 as no tax should be levied on you. Neither is the award for your long service with the company (for more than 10 years) forgotten. As long as your employer kept the value of all awards to you within the RM2,000 limit, the smile should remain on you.

4. Look for more tax-free income.

Bank interest income

You will note a subtle difference in your bank statement nowadays as it no longer shows the amount of tax withheld. Bank interest income is now tax-exempt.


Dividends need not be entirely taxable. Have a good look at the dividend voucher. If it states that the dividend is “tax-exempt”, then it is not taxable anymore.

5. Gain more deductions.

Purchase of sports equipment

If the slimming fad has caught on with you, keep the receipts of your purchases of any sports equipment. A claim of up to RM300 is a small incentive to shape those curves and muscles in a big way!

Have receipts or evidence to support more deductions

Medical expenses for your parents certified by a medical practitioner (restricted to RM5,000);

Medical expenses for serious diseases for self, spouse or child (up to RM5,000), including a complete medical examination for self, spouse or child limited to RM500;

Basic supporting equipment for disabled self, spouse, child or parents (ceiling of RM5,000);

Disabled person (self) (RM6,000);

Disabled husband/wife (RM3,500);

Education fee (self) up to tertiary level for the purpose of acquiring law, accounting, Islamic financing, technical, vocational, industrial, scientific or technological skills or qualifications for a masters or doctorate level, undertaken for the purpose of acquiring any skill or qualification (limited to RM5,000);

Purchase of books/journals/magazines/similar publications for self, spouse or child (up to RM1,000);

Net deposit in National Education Savings Scheme (ceiling of RM3,000);

Purchase of personal computer for individual (maximum deduction of RM3,000 allowed once every three years);

Premiums on life insurance plus EPF and other approved fund contributions (subject to RM6,000 restriction);

Premiums for education or medical insurance (restricted to RM3,000);

Relief of up to RM10,000 on the housing loan interest paid (conditions apply);

Payment of alimony to former wife (maximum total deduction for wife and alimony payment is RM3,000);

Zakat other than monthly zakat deduction from salary; and

Fees/levy paid by a holder of an employment pass, visit pass (temporary employment) or work pass.

The rule of the “game” of keeping your tax liability to the minimum when preparing your tax return Form e-BE is to do it right within the law. For a start, make the website of the Inland Revenue Board,, one of your favourites from now until April 30 to access its easy to read guides. Happy e-filing!

● Ang Weina is executive director and global employer services leader with the tax practice of Deloitte Malaysia

Written by changhwee

February 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Posted in Thoughts

Australian bosses are racist when it’s time to hire

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June 18, 2009

A FOREIGN or indigenous-sounding name gives people less chance of landing a job in Australia, a study has found. Unless your name sounds Italian and you’re in Melbourne, in which case it can be an advantage.

dilbert271120052xfAustralian National University researchers Alison Booth, Andrew Leigh and Elena Vargonova sent out 4000 fake job applications to employers advertising on the internet for entry-level hospitality, data entry, customer service and sales jobs, changing only the racial origin of the supposed applicants’ names.

Applicants with Chinese names fared the worst, having only a one-in-five chance of getting asked in for interviews, compared to applicants with Anglo-Saxon names whose chances exceeded one-in-three.

Typically a Chinese-named applicant would need to put in 68 per cent more applications than an Anglo-named applicant to get the same number of calls back. A Middle Eastern-named applicant needed 64 per cent more, an indigenous-named applicant 35 per cent more and an Italian-named applicant 12 per cent more.

But the results varied by city. Sydney employers were generally more discriminatory than those in Melbourne or Brisbane, except when it came to indigenous names, where they were more accepting.

But only in Melbourne was there a type of non-Anglo name that was actually loved. Melbourne employers were 7 per cent more likely to respond well to someone with an Italian name than they were to an Anglo name.

Asked to guess why, Dr Leigh hastened to point out that the 7 per cent bias in favour of Italian-sounding names was not statistically significant.

“But what it does allow you to say is that there is no statistically discernible discrimination against Italian names in Melbourne. They are as well-regarded as Anglo names.

“This could be because Melbourne has a higher share of Italians than other Australian cities, and has had for a long time. Discrimination tends to be higher when you have a recent influx of arrivals, as Sydney has from China and the Middle East.

“Or it could be because many of the jobs we pretended to apply for were waiter and waitressing positions in bistros, bars, cafes and restaurants.”

Asked whether the study had found that Australian employers were racist, Dr Leigh said it was clear they discriminated on the basis of the racial origin of applicants’ names. “There is no other reasonable interpretation of our results,” he said.

The fake applications had made clear that the supposed job-seekers had completed secondary schooling in Australia, making it unlikely that the employers had assumed the non-Anglo applicants could not speak English.

A similar study carried out in the US found that applicants with African-American-sounding names needed to submit 50 per cent more applications than white applicants to get the same number of interviews, suggesting that Australian employers were more prejudiced, except when it came to Italians and Australians with indigenous names.

Written by changhwee

November 13, 2009 at 11:44 am

Posted in Thoughts

The thing about presentation

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An average person attention span is 10 minutes. For people who are time poor, it’s less than 5 minutes.  After that, it depends on the presenter’s creativity and showmanship to retain attention.  For most people, presentation is scary because it is a perfect platform which allows people to critique whether verbally or via their facial expressions. It is one of the most dreaded task for any jobs at hand. And to me, it’s still is. presentation jokes

The other side of presentation is that it’s a PRIVILEGE to the presenter. It is a privilege simply because it’s the only platform whereby you have a group of people taking their precious time to pay their attention to you. Normally, you would have to pay to garner people’s attention  which is how advertisement originates.

The next challenge is to get your audience excited and believe in your presentation. A good dipstick to know whether you have a good presentation is when your audience starts asking questions, nods as you go along and their eyes focused to you or your slides.  Nervousness is a basic feeling especially when you’re presenting to a large crowd consisting of influential and powerful people. It’s normal.  The good thing is that they’re interested to listen if not, why else they be here. So, the battle is half won.

Nothing beats to having a good presentation than preparing for it. PREPARATION is the only way I know to having a good presentation regardless whether it’s a 5 min or 50 minutes. This means planning your presentation flow, what to say, what to expect, how to captivate your audience, knowing your audience, where is the presentation location and the list goes on.  A good preparation leads to a good presentation and it builds your confidence along the way.

So, the next time your boss ask you to present, view it as an opportunity and put passion in developing your presentation. You never know, you may enjoy it in the end.

Written by changhwee

October 8, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Thoughts