malaysia my second home
by aida ahmad
The Expat MM2H Interview
As the former group managing director of Fitness First (Asia), tempted you to join the mm2H scheme?
Michael Lamb is now semi-retired and loves living in Malaysia. michael: Simple … I fell in love with Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia
The 45-year-old Briton lives in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur and I saw no reason to return to the UK. Having left Fitness
and does occasional consultancy work for UK companies setting First earlier last year, I was delighted that Malaysia offered a
up businesses in Asia. retirement program for me to stay on. My kids also enjoy the
schooling environment and lifestyle that this country offers. It’s
Originally born in Hong Kong, Michael has lived most of his life just relatively relaxing here and my heart sings every time I see
to date there and in the UK. Recently, I managed to catch up with the blue skies and green backdrop. More importantly, there is
him at his beautiful home where he now spends most his time. no other country in Asia where English is spoken as a common
language. I also like living in a country where as an expat, I can
the expat: How long have you lived in malaysia under the enjoy the good quality of life.
michael: Since September 2007. the expat: what other countries did you consider and
why did you ultimately discount them?
the expat: How/where did you hear about the mm2H michael: It was an immediate preferred choice for me to live
program? in Malaysia. My kids are happy, too. I guess Singapore was my
michael: Through word of mouth, really. It’s one of those things other option but frankly speaking, Malaysia won hands down in
where if you ask any of the expats about the program, they seem many regards.
to know about it. It is also discussed within social circles.
the expat: can you describe the opinion of malaysia that
the expat: Had you spent time in malaysia before moving you had before you began looking into life here?
here? when? michael: I did view Malaysia as being an Islamic country with
michael: Yes, that was when I decided to relocate the Fitness certain restraints and a culture that was incompatible with my
First Asia headquarters to Malaysia from Hong Kong. We opened own lifestyle. However, I was blown away with how mature a
three clubs here in 2002 and I was immediately taken with the market Kuala Lumpur has become in terms of living standards.
lifestyle in Malaysia. From then until 2007, I was here with my
family as well. the expat: In what ways is malaysia the same and in what
ways is it different to that expectation?
the expat: Do you have any children in malaysia with you? michael: When I came here, I was excited to see five-star
michael: Yes, I have three – Rachel, 10, Jack, 8 and Hannah who shopping malls, the very friendly people and great food! Malaysia
is six years old. is most definitely a progressive country. I also realised that
Malaysia is tolerant to different cultures and that’s what makes
the expat: can you describe what is it about malaysia that this country great.
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the expat: tell us about your favourite holidays and
experiences in malaysia since joining mm2H?
michael: I am an avid diver so some of my memorable
experiences here include diving in islands such as Sipadan and
Tioman and trekking deep in Taman Negara (Malaysia’s National
Park). I also love visiting the east coast beaches.
the expat: Have you found it easy to settle and make
michael: Yes. Although from an expat’s perspective, it’s quite
easy for us to stick with our own kind. However, if you make an
effort, Malaysia is the easiest among all Asian countries to make
new friends because of the ease of communication. Malaysia
epitomises what I want out of life and the people here really
know how to have fun.
the expat: How do the living standards in this country
compare to other places you’ve visited?
michael: Malaysia is the perfect balance of quality of life versus
cost of living. Comparing Malaysia to other Asian countries,
Malaysia represents the best value in the region.
the expat: what do you miss most about your home
michael: The four seasons, real ale and British television.
the expat: please tell us more about how you pass your
time – do you find that there are enough activities in
malaysia to keep an expat busy?
michael: Without a doubt, there are plenty of things to do here.
I am the chairman of a girls’ football team on Sundays and I also
coach a rugby team for the Royal Selangor Junior Rugby Program
on Saturdays, both which my children are involved in. And if you
have a sizeable house and a nice garden, time is consumed by
maintaining the living environment (laughter). Besides that, I like
taking short trips to go diving around Malaysia. My parents do
visit me for three months in a year and when they do, I spend
time with them. I also intend to compete in a triathlon soon.
the expat: what is it specifically that drew you to the
michael: Everything about it! It was such an obvious choice.
Being able to stay in Malaysia and enjoy the benefits such as
tax exemption on a newly purchased car made here are some
of the perks.
the expat: was it easy to apply? would you recommend it
to others? If so, why?
michael: Yes, and I would definitely advise other expats to do the
same. In fact, I would like to offer my services to the Malaysian
government to do a public speaking tour in the UK this summer
to promote Malaysia.
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