5 online sites to buy a used car in Malaysia for expats

buy used car in Malaysia

So, you’re looking to buy a new or used car in Malaysia? The ride-hailing service, Grab, has not been the most effective service provider since it bought out its biggest rival, Uber, two years ago and some of us are done with that.

If that is you too and you want to buy a car for yourself, just know that no one blames you for the pollution in the world. However, as an expat in Malaysia, you may be wondering where the best place is to get a used vehicle in Malaysia.

There’s no best place to get used cars in Malaysia. Especially for used vehicles. You can search online, but you still need to go and inspect what you intend to buy before paying for it. It is not like you’re just shopping online for groceries.

In addition, if you intend to buy a used car on a loan, know that most Malaysian banks only finance up to 70% of the total cost for foreigners in the country.

Having said that, these are our top five online sites for searching for a new or used car to buy in Malaysia. Factors we considered include the ease of use, ability to contact the sellers, visual aid and extra features.

Mudah.my

This site keeps getting featured on all our lists because they are a marketplace for everything. And the site is easy to use. You can search for your preferred used car with several filters—type, model, make, location, year and price. They feature an easy to use car loan calculator for each vehicle. Foreigners still cannot get full car loans.

Motor Trader

Probably the oldest platform in this list for buying and selling vehicles in Malaysia, Motor Trader has a large base of car classifieds. It is on the list because it is the only other site on this list where you can get some not-so-popular auto parts outside of Mudah.my.

Carlist

Offers filters similar to Mudah’s to make narrowing your search easier. One advantage that all the other sites on our list have over Mudah.my is their news and reviews features. You get a buying guide, general news on the auto industry in Malaysia and car reviews of vehicles that you might be interested in.

Autoworld

This list is not about the age of the website but usually, the longer a site has been around, the bigger its community. And a community is something that comes in handy if you’re buying a used car in Malaysia. Or anywhere. Autoworld.com.my is the second oldest after Motor Trader and offers new and used cars, news, insurance and finance tools and a forum where enthusiasts (or you) can have car talks or plan meetups.

Your favourite brand’s recon vehicles

This is not one site. Most auto brands have since realised that there is a lot of money in the used car market. So, many of them offer their used, reconditioned vehicles themselves. The advantage this has is some level of guaranty knowing that the company that made the vehicle, repaired it and are reselling it. The prices may be higher than what you will find in the market. Examples are Mercedes Benz, Hyundai, BMW and Toyota.

Have you bought a used car on any of these sites? What was your experience? If you have other favourite sites to buy a used vehicle in Malaysia, let us know in the comments!

Two things you should know if you’re an expat worker in Malaysia

Other Expats insurance restrictions

Two major updates. The first is about insurance. One of the biggest insurance companies in Malaysia recently released a memo (not public) about countries that are sanctioned. We’re not sure if the sanctions are on a national level by Malaysia or just this one single company. But here’s what you need to know.

What countries are sanctioned?
Not sure why they are sanctioned and whether by the Malaysian government or it is just the insurance company which is one of the biggest in Malaysia. So, it is worth noting.

Countries with severe sanctions
Iran
Cuba
North Korea
Syria
Crimea

Countries with limited (less severe) sanctions
Somalia
Sudan
Belarus
South Sudan
Zimbabwe
Democratic Republic of Congo
Russia and
Ukraine

What this means and what to do

If you plan to get any form of insurance, maybe do it now. Expats from the countries are not completely banned from receiving insurance.

They will just require extra clearance before they can be approved. Not sure how they came up with the list either.

You won’t find this in the news anywhere, yet. Only if you go to try to get insurance.

The second is about SOSCO

What is SOSCO

 

Social Security Organization (SOCSO) is a government agency established to implement social security schemes and provide social security protection to employees and their dependents.

It currently only applies to Malaysian citizens and permanent residents. But starting on 1 January 2019, expats and foreign workers will be included too in line with the Equality of Treatment (Accident Compensation) Convention, 1925 (No.19) and Conference Committee on the Application of Standard under the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

What this means
You will need to contribute some of your monthly salary to the Employment Injury Scheme (EIS) which is like insurance. Your employer will also contribute some part of it too.

The program provides insurance against work-related injuries. For instance, if you require treatment as a result of injuries suffered at work or in the line of duty (like going to work or coming back from work).

It also includes Medical Benefits, Temporary Disablement Benefits, Permanent Disablement Benefits, Constant-attendance Allowance, Dependants’ Benefits and Rehabilitation, an RM6,500 repatriation cost as well as funeral costs. See more details here.

How much is it?
The contribution rate varies. But it ranges from 10 sens to RM19.75 for you (as an employee), and between 40 sens and RM69.05 for employers.

 

Contribution Rates

The actual monthly wage of the month First Category (Employment Injury Scheme and Invalidity scheme) Second Category (Employment Injury Scheme)
Employer’s contribution Employee’s contribution Total Contribution Contribution By Employer Only
1. Wages up to RM30

 

40 cents 10 cents 50 cents 30 cents
2. When wages exceed RM30 but not RM50 70 cents 20 cents 90 cents 50 cents
3. When wages exceed RM50 but not RM70 RM1.10 30 cents RM1.40 80 cents
4. When wages exceed RM70 but not RM100 RM1.50 40 cents RM1.90 RM1.10
5. When wages exceed RM100 but not RM140 RM2.10 60 cents RM2.70 RM1.50
6. When wages exceed RM140 but not RM200 RM2.95 85 cents RM3.80 RM2.10
7. When wages exceed RM200 but not RM300 RM4.35 RM1.25 RM5.60 RM3.10
8. When wages exceed RM300 but not RM400 RM6.15 RM1.75 RM7.90 RM4.40
9. When wages exceed RM400 but not RM500 RM7.85 RM2.25 RM10.10 RM5.60
10. When wages exceed RM500 but not RM600 RM9.65 RM2.75 RM12.40 RM6.90
11. When wages exceed RM600 but not RM700 RM11.35 RM3.25 RM14.60 RM8.10
12. When wages exceed RM700 but not RM800 RM13.15 RM3.75 RM16.90 RM9.40
13. When wages exceed RM800 but not RM900 RM14.85 RM4.25 RM19.10 RM10.60
14. When wages exceed RM900 but not RM1,000 RM16.65 RM4.75 RM21.40 RM11.90
15. When wages exceed RM1,000 but not RM1,100 RM18.35 RM5.25 RM23.60 RM13.10
16. When wages exceed RM1,100 but not RM1,200 RM20.15 RM5.75 RM25.90 RM14.40
17. When wages exceed RM1,200 but not RM1,300 RM21.85 RM6.25 RM28.10 RM15.60
18. When wages exceed RM1,300 but not RM1,400 RM23.65 RM6.75 RM30.40 RM16.90
19. When wages exceed RM1,400 but not RM1,500 RM25.35 RM7.25 RM32.60 RM18.10
20. When wages exceed RM1,500 but not RM1,600 RM27.15 RM7.75 RM34.90 RM19.40
21. When wages exceed RM1,600 but not RM1,700 RM28.85 RM8.25 RM37.10 RM20.60
22. When wages exceed RM1,700 but not RM1,800 RM30.65 RM8.75 RM39.40 RM21.90
23. When wages exceed RM1,800 but not RM1,900 RM32.35 RM9.25 RM41.60 RM23.10
24. When wages exceed RM1,900 but not RM2,000 RM34.15 RM9.75 RM43.90 RM24.40
25. When wages exceed RM2,000 but not RM2,100 RM35.85 RM10.25 RM46.10 RM25.60
26. When wages exceed RM2,100 but not RM2,200 RM37.65 RM10.75 RM48.40 RM26.90
27. When wages exceed RM2,200 but not RM2,300 RM39.35 RM11.25 RM50.60 RM28.10
28. When wages exceed RM2,300 but not RM2,400 RM41.15 RM11.75 RM52.90 RM29.40
29. When wages exceed RM2,400 but not RM2,500 RM42.85 RM12.25 RM55.10 RM30.60
30. When wages exceed RM2,500 but not RM2,600 RM44.65 RM12.75 RM57.40 RM31.90
31. When wages exceed RM2,600 but not RM2,700 RM46.35 RM13.25 RM59.60 RM33.10
32. When wages exceed RM2,700 but not RM2,800 RM48.15 RM13.75 RM61.90 RM34.40
33. When wages exceed RM2,800 but not RM2,900 RM49.85 RM14.25 RM64.10 RM35.60
34. When wages exceed RM2,900 but not RM3,000 RM51.65 RM14.75 RM66.40 RM36.90
35. When wages exceed RM3,000 but not RM3,100 RM53.35 RM15.25 RM68.60 RM38.10
36. When wages exceed RM3,100 but not RM3,200 RM55.15 RM15.75 RM70.90 RM39.40
37. When wages exceed RM3,200 but not RM3,300 RM56.85 RM16.25 RM73.10 RM40.60
38. When wages exceed RM3,300 but not RM3,400 RM58.65 RM16.75 RM75.40 RM41.90
39. When wages exceed RM3,400 but not RM3,500 RM60.35 RM17.25 RM77.60 RM43.10
40. When wages exceed RM3,500 but not RM3,600 RM62.15 RM17.75 RM79.90 RM44.40
41. When wages exceed RM3,600 but not RM3,700 RM63.85 RM18.25 RM82.10 RM45.60
42. When wages exceed RM3,700 but not RM3,800 RM65.65 RM18.75 RM84.40 RM46.90
43. When wages exceed RM3,800 but not RM3,900 RM67.35 RM19.25 RM86.60 RM48.10
44. When wages exceed RM3,900 but not RM4,000 RM69.05 RM19.75 RM88.80 RM49.40
45. When wages exceed RM4,000 RM69.05 RM19.75 RM88.80 RM49.40

 

The First Category refers to employees who are less than 60 years old. Or those who are 55 years old and have never contributed to Sosco because of non-eligibility. The calculations for this is 1.74% from the employer and 0.5% from the employee.

The Second Category refers to employees above 60 years old. The contribution rate is 1.25% of the employee’s wage paid by the employer.

New in Kuala Lumpur? 5 apps you should download now

Mobile phone, online shopping in Malaysia, online shopping sites, ebay malaysia, lazada malaysia

So, you just moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and you’re all excited. You want to see all the sights, eat all the food, attend all the events, meet all the people and generally, do everything.

But, you don’t know anyone here yet and it would be nice to (not necessarily with a guide) be able to do things solo. Well, there are apps (and websites) for a lot of that.

Events happening around you

For all (or most of) the events happening around you, the best place to go is Timeout Kuala Lumpur. They publish the events at least a week in advance, which means that you can schedule your visits properly. The app is just a glorified magazine reader that you need to have subscribed for but the website works very well.

Notable mentions:

If you have a Facebook account, you may want to download and check out Facebook Local for events that are publicly listed on Facebook. There’s also LinkedIn Local if you are more interested in business networking.

Getting around

Well, of course, you need to have Grab—that is the ride-hailing service rival that took Uber out of the game in Southeast Asia. Whether you drive or not, it may be a good idea to sign up and have the app onboard in case of emergencies. If you don’t drive, then Grab ‘taxis’ can take you directly to where you want to go or help you connect your commutes on the train.

For public transit information, get Moovit. From experience, it may not have the fastest routes but it is convenient especially if you have no idea where to go. All you need to do is specify where you are and where you need to go, and it finds the nearest stations, bus stops and whatever else you need to get to your destination.

Food

Big fans of takeouts and fast foods have a ton of options to choose from. If you don’t want to crowd your phone with many different food-ordering apps, then go with Grab Food. Yep, the same Grab from earlier also ‘grabbed’ the food part of Uber’s operations in Malaysia. The good news is that you have more than a few restaurants to choose from on the app.

Other options are ordering directly from the websites of your favourite fast-food chains. From McDonald’s to Dominos to Pizza Hut et cetera et cetera.

Renting (or buying) property

Maybe you already have your own place but if you don’t, the top of our list is iProperty, available on the web and as an app. We’ve found this to have more listings than the other property rental/sales sites. What are the others? There’s Mudah (which also works for your shopping), Propwall and several others. Check out our post on finding and renting property in Kuala Lumpur.

Online shopping

You get two options. There’s Lazada which is more like an all-in-one platform where you can buy everything from hair products to barbells. It sometimes sources items from China, so, make sure that you check the delivery time and where it is shipping from. You also have to be cautious with A+ copies. The second is Zalora for all your fashion needs. On both platforms, you can choose to pay on delivery (for some items) and you get to do just that. They are both available on the web and smartphone app stores. See our top 6 favourite online shopping platforms in Kuala Lumpur.

If you want to do your grocery shopping online, you get a few options as well, like Tesco, HappyFresh and honestbee.

Top 6 online shopping sites in Malaysia

Shopping online with credit card, ebay malaysia, online shopping websites malaysia, shopping online malaysia, mudah, malaysia online shopping websites, lazada malaysia, lelong, carousell malaysia

I know a lot of people who don’t buy anything online because they don’t trust anything on the internet. That is, apart from Facebook, Gmail, Outlook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, bank apps, Google Maps, Waze, Shazam, all the mobile games, their iPhones and Android phones, and many other apps. I’m not judging, we all saw what Facebook’s been doing.

Here are our top five favourite online shopping platforms in Malaysia for everything other than groceries (you can get your groceries on some of the more general sites like Lazada, though).

Lowyat Forum

ebay malaysia, online shopping websites malaysia, shopping online malaysia, mudah, malaysia online shopping websites, lazada malaysia, lelong, carousell malaysia

This is actually a forum for discussions about almost everything, from cars to fashion to computer and mobile games to relationships but it is my go-to site for electronics—mobile devices, hard drives and computer parts.

At least I check the prices here to have an idea what the range of local prices are before I go on to my next favourite platform. The shopping area is located in the Garage section at the bottom of the main page, with different categories for different items.

I like Lowyat Forum because, more often than not, you can message a seller directly on the platform or if they have their mobile number, agree to a meetup, and complete a deal within a few hours. You can also tell how long a person has been active in the system and see their reputation on the platform.

Your preferred method of dealing here should be Cash on Delivery (COD); you agree on a meeting venue and time with the seller (choose malls or places with people), get there and inspect the item, pay for it and go home happy if it’s what you want. Only available on the web. You can access it on the web browser on your mobile devices, however.

 

eBay

Online shopping

I usually end up buying most of my electronics and clothing items from here after checking the prices everywhere else. I like the wide range of options available here that is often not available in Malaysia. It also has the best online security in this group.

Even with the cost of shipping, the prices can be better than you get by shopping offline or even online in Malaysia. Case in point, I once got a 34-inch widescreen computer monitor for less than RM1,400 including shipping! Deals like these don’t happen often but if you’re attentive and stick around a lot, then you’ll find them.

There’s also the local version of the global site, eBay Malaysia, where you can get some options as well, but you don’t get as much variety as you do on the global or international sites. App and web versions of eBay Malaysia are available.

 

Mudah

ebay malaysia, online shopping websites malaysia, shopping online malaysia, mudah, malaysia online shopping websites, lazada malaysia, lelong, carousell malaysia

My first choice when I’m looking for properties to rent. It has just as many options and sometimes you can get really good deals here too. I also check for electronics here too as long as the seller agrees to a COD. Otherwise, it’s a no.

I learned my lesson on here after I was scammed for a few hundred ringgits for an iPhone that I knew was too cheap. Lesson learned. If the price looks too good to be true, then it probably is. If the seller agrees to a meetup, then inspect the item properly and make sure it is a public space.

You don’t get the option to pay directly on the site and have to deal with the seller directly, off the platform; which is where the risk is. Most times, you have to bank-in to the person’s account, they confirm and then send you the item. If they choose not, then—like in the case of the iPhone—your money’s gone. Available on the web and as an app.

 

Lazada

ebay malaysia, online shopping websites malaysia, shopping online malaysia, mudah, malaysia online shopping websites, lazada malaysia, lelong, carousell malaysia

I’m not a big fan of Lazada although I keep a long wish list on the site and I have bought more than a few things from here. One of the best things I like about shopping on here is the COD feature.

You order as usual and select to pay when the item is delivered. This will be a plus for those who are wary of the internet. Or expats who don’t yet have banking facilities in Malaysia. One thing to note is that the option is not available for every product or every store on the platform. Some sellers choose to transact business that way, others don’t.

However, you still get your traditional payment options; credit and debit cards, online bank transfers, 7-11, PayPal, Maybank Instalment Plan, and when available, payment on delivery. The site does come with its share of frustrations, though.

I’ve ordered items from the site on several occasions, waited a few days without any updates and had been suddenly informed that my order was cancelled. I’ve heard from other people that this has happened to them too. You might also want to check the Reviews section of what you’re buying to see what other buyers have to say. It is available as an app and on the web.

 

Lelong

ebay malaysia, online shopping websites malaysia, shopping online malaysia, mudah, malaysia online shopping websites, lazada malaysia, lelong, carousell malaysia

When I initially started using this platform in 2008, it was quite possibly the worst thing ever. Most of the items on the site were fakes and the sellers didn’t have to indicate the authenticity of the items.

Now, it’s one of the top online platforms for electronics, but it has sellers that have almost everything else. It has the option of transacting your business on the platform but I’ve realised a lot of the sellers want to deal outside. As usual, the risk is higher if you choose to deal outside the website.

Check for the verified sign on the sellers and stores and always look at the reviews and rating on items that they’ve sold previously. Available on the web and an app.

 

Carousell

My favourite platform for bargain hunting, Carousell is available and more accessible in the app although there’s a web version too. The platform has almost everything, cars to pets, and one of its main draws is that it tries to get you to sell your unwanted items on the platform too. The more people, the merrier.

You have to be careful here as there’s no in-platform payment system. Your transactions have to be with the sellers directly, off-site. Some common sense always works. Check for the seller (or buyer) ratings and reviews left by their other customers before you proceed.

The site allows you to search by proximity so look for items closer to you first that you can request a COD with the seller. In case you don’t find any, proceed cautiously, ensuring that you’re transacting safely.

These are Other Expats‘ favourites and are not exhaustive reviews of these online shopping platforms but they should give you an idea of where to shop for what online in Malaysia and some things to look out for.

Here are your options for ride-hailing in Malaysia

Commuter waiting for a ride-hailing service car

Ride-hailing in Malaysia isn’t at it’s most competitive level right now. Uber’s relationship with Southeast Asia didn’t work out very well, and the ride-hailing service had to exit the region in March.

That left its biggest competitor—and purchaser—Grab wielding a ‘monopolistic’ sledgehammer over commuters. While the service has tried to revamp its interface to look more global and even Uber-like, many people still see Grab as the more expensive, lower service platform from the Uber era (feels like so long ago, right?)

Here are the alternatives for ride-hailing in Malaysia if you want to try something different!

#1. MyCar

Positives

– Grab competitor

– Available in more than a few states

Not so great

– RM5 minimum fare in the Klang Valley

– Only accepts cash

 

#2. MULA

Positives

– Available in KL and Penang

– Also has MULA Parcel

Not so great

– Only available in KL and Penang

– A single app for Car & Parcel; confusion ensues

– Only accepts cash

– The app looks like it’s still in alpha stage

 

#3. SoCar

Not a ride-hailing service but a “car-sharing” one. That’s basically car rentals.

Positives

– Prices start at RM8 compared with RM14 for GoCar

– Has parking arrangements with some public car parks in KL

– You get to drive yourself and choose your destiny

– You can choose to have the car delivered to your door

Not so great

– May not accept your driver’s licence if it’s not Malaysian/international

– You have to go find the car at the parking locations

– You need your own Smart Tag or Touch ‘n’ Go

#4. Dacsee

This is also not a ride-sharing/hailing app but it is worth mentioning. While ‘Dacsee’ might sound like a play on words and similar to ‘taxi’, it’s an acronym for Decentralised Alternative Cabs Serving & Empowering Everyone. Yep.

It operates on a multi-level market (MLM) style principle that allows drivers to earn when they introduce another driver to the mix, but only up to three levels. It also taps into blockchain technology to keep transactions transparent.

Positives

– Allows passengers to make a list of preferred customers

– Payment by cash, credit card or cryptocurrency

Not so great

– Not available to most people yet

Finding and renting property for expats in Malaysia

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There are many different avenues for finding and renting a property for expats in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur and Selangor to be specific) and we’ll be looking at some of them and highlighting some great advice.

The good news is that you can do most of your home search online. However, I’ve found that some homeowners don’t always list their apartments online.

Foreign price

The top property search websites are Mudah, iProperty and Propwall. If you’re an ‘other expat‘ like me (especially black or Arab), it’s best to specify upfront when contacting the property agent/owner that you’re not local, and where you’re from.

If you’re in the country already and you already have an ideal neighbourhood in mind, you can check out the condominiums and houses for “To Let” signs or the noticeboards in nearby convenience shops like 7-11.

In many cases that will mean higher prices if the owner decides to rent the apartment to you, or you’ll get an outright rejection for being a ‘foreigner’. If you get rejected, maybe don’t take it too personally. The country, unfortunately, has no laws against preferential treatment. Homeowners have the right to rent their properties to whomever they choose.

Longer is better

When you find a place you like, and the homeowner has no qualms renting it to you, try to negotiate the asking price. If you can, getting a 2-year contract helps reduce the monthly rental. The owner is sure of his income for 24 months. You get a lower price. Win-win.

If you have a job and have a contact/business card (especially for other expats), this improves your chance of being considered someone who can afford the rent. If you work for a popular company, even better, mention that first.

Check everything

When viewing the house, check for damp walls and leaky faucets. I remember renting a place that had a bucket of water in the bathroom. And then after signing a contract, I realised the faucet leaked every time it was turned on. The previous occupant used the bucket instead of fixing the faucet.

For things like that, inform the homeowner and they can fix it out of pocket before you start living there or they’ll ask you to fix it and you deduct the amount from the monthly rent. Speaking of finances, you’ll need a deposit and the most common (sometimes negotiable) is the 2+1+0.5 arrangement.

Finances

That’s ‘2′ months rent as a deposit, which you’ll get back in full at the end of your contract assuming you don’t break anything in the house. The ‘1’ is your rental for the first month. The half-month rent goes to outstanding utility payments.

Your rental will be paid in advance on a monthly basis, usually within the first seven days of the month. This will be indicated in your tenancy agreement. Take note of the items listed in the agreement as being in the apartment. Check and confirm that they are indeed in the house.

The contract is important

Read through the entire tenancy agreement before you sign it. You’ll have to pay the lawyer fees to draw up the agreement. The cost varies from RM10 to RM100. The agreement will also indicate the number of months in advance you’ll need to inform the homeowner if you intend to renew your contract.

Typically, this is within two months. If you choose not to, the homeowner or agent checks the house on or before the last day of your contract before they can refund your deposit. If everything is intact, you get your full deposit. If you ruined something, the cost of repairs will be deducted from your initial deposit and the balance returned to you.

That’s it. Did I miss something? How easy or difficult is renting a property for expats in Kuala Lumpur/Selangor? What’s your experience been like?

Who’ll win the Malaysian General election? Choose wisely

malaysia general election 2018

There’s no discernible indication that the supposedly long-awaited Malaysian General election is almost here. In a few days, on 9 May 2018, Malaysians will be rallying to decide who they want their next leader to be.

I say it isn’t noticeable because election season in Nigeria is not something you’ll need to be reminded about. From competing politicians getting assassinated to increased military presence almost everywhere.

For a long time in Nigeria’s history, election days in some states and communities were like trailers of your favourite action movie; cars rolling in with armed mercenaries out to steal ballot boxes while people scramble for safety amid gunshots. Sometimes, they even have shootouts with the police (if the police are brave enough).

There are almost always riots and protests afterwards. The streets crowded with people who don’t have much else to lose chanting and facing off the anti-riot Mopos (mobile policemen) while tires get burned, heavy black smoke clouding the skies and visible for kilometres.

I was reminded of this recently when someone mentioned that they were going to get provisions stocked at home for the week. As foreign nationals—from New Zealand—they had been ‘informed’ by their employer that “there might be protests after the elections”.

She took that to mean doomsday warning hence the stocking up of a week’s worth of groceries ‘just in case’. I tried to convince her that the recent protests in Malaysia are typically mild natured, failed and let her be. Experience is a better teacher. Hopefully, I don’t get surprised.

Meanwhile, a colleague—also a foreigner—casually mentioned that he’d been advised that foreigners should stay indoors during the elections. My first thought was that it is BS.

But on second thought, it does make sense that he does stay indoors, seeing that he’s from Indonesia. In the last Malaysia General Elections, there were accusations of a party importing foreigners into the country to vote. Stay home. I think I’ll do the same even though there’ll be less confusing about me.

———–

“I hate these flags and all these campaigns,” my Grab driver muttered, referring to the political party flags that seemed to be everywhere in the small Bau community in Sarawak. The people, he said, never remembered. “It is a curse.”

The politicians always say the same things before every election. They give the people the same few hundred ringgit to help them campaign. “And after they win, they forget the people and steal millions of ringgit for themselves. And the people complain until it is time for another election again and they can get less than 1 per cent of the money. THEIR money. It is sad.”

He looked pained. Saddened by the thought. If it makes any difference, I offered, the same thing happens almost everywhere around the world—at least in the developing countries. My country is no better. But that doesn’t make it okay.

I wished I could have played Tuface Idibia’s E Be Like Say for him and if he’d get the gist of the song.

————-

“Who do you think is going to win?” I have asked friends and colleagues several times over. No one appears eager to want to volunteer any concrete details about who they’re voting for or who they think is going to win.

Everyone that I’ve asked implies that I know who they’re voting for like I should somehow calculate all their past actions and know who their preferred candidate is. What is more apparent, however, is that everyone who I have spoken with about the Malaysian political environment is eager for change; for something new and different.

We’ve been there before, Nigerians. We decided we had had enough of the military regime and wanted democracy back—something new and different. We wished for it and fought for it and we got it.

Only it was a former military ruler who was now a civilian. The same thing in a different packet. I guess it works. Or worked—we still have our country.

I recently offered that Malaysians are going to be choosing between an old hard, pointy rock and an even older, possibly harder place. “At least the second rock isn’t pointy,” was the response. I guess it isn’t. Also, old rocks get weaker and probably lose the pointy edges as they get old—or that’s what the internet said.

————-

While this isn’t my country, I live here. And the country’s welfare affects me directly—whether I remain or go back home. If you’re an expat, studying, visiting or even just passing through, the Malaysian General election may sound like something far away that has nothing whatsoever to do with you.

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

 

Just ask the dreamers and immigrants being threatened by President Trump’s policies in the US and find out just how much the country’s government matters to your visit or stay. With that said, I hope all eligible Malaysians go out, choose wisely, vote and decide who the next person who’ll take the country to greater heights should be.

Uber’s gone. What now?

Car interior at night, ride sharing, ride sharing malaysia, ride sharing app, ride sharing services, ride sharing companies, uber malaysia, uber malaysia driver, grab malaysia

The rumours have come to a head. Grab bought Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia. Congrats to them. While that is good news for Grab, it’s not good news for me. Or Uber. Or you, if you depend on ride-hailing services for getting around.

See, I depend on the trains to go just about anywhere in the Klang Valley, with Uber to reach areas where the trains don’t get to. Uber, 90% of the time. Not Grab.

On average, Grab Car fares higher than Uber’s, and at that, they don’t even include the toll rates. By the time you factor that in, Grab fares are almost double what you’d pay for an Uber. Plus, Uber drivers are generally nicer overall. It’s no wonder that Uber is preferred by more people.

 

It’s not a million votes but they still paint a clear picture

And now with Uber bought out, we don’t even have that competition. At least, not one that is as established.

There’s a ride-sharing service that looks like it’s still building its base, MULA Car.

The service is owned by Malaysian MBI Group International, based in Penang, which was in the news last year following allegations of an illegal money scheme. MBI International was also one of 302 companies on Bank Negara’s financial consumer alert list on suspicion of not adhering to laws and regulations in its operations.

I’m not trying to infer anything, but I don’t have as much confidence in the service as I did in Uber or even Grab. I downloaded the app but I haven’t tried out the service yet. At first glance, they don’t seem to have a lot of drivers around KLCC at least.

In addition, you have to indicate if you’re a man or woman when you sign up. That’s just a recipe for prejudice and disaster that Uber and Grab have managed to mostly avoid.

Apart from ride-hailing services, commuters may have other options in the Klang Valley. They may not be as cheap or convenient, but they’re options I’ve considered, and you may want to too.

Car sharing services allow you rent vehicles hourly, daily, weekly or monthly from apps on your smartphone, with their vehicles parked at convenient locations around Klang Valley. Some popular ones include Socar, Moovy, GoCar and Kwikcar.

When I tried to sign up for Socar (the cheapest prices I’ve found) however, I was informed that the country of issue (Nigeria) for my Driver’s Licence was not recognised by the service at the moment. That rules out this option for me.

My monthly commuting expenses are around RM300, including train and Ubers/Grab cars. Now, I’m wondering if it will be worth it to just get a car, pay the monthly instalments and add to the traffic on the roads, rather than deal with the sometimes frustrating ride-hailing experience that is almost certainly bound to increase from an almost monopoly.

How are you going to deal with the new Grab almost monopoly?

Looking to grow your startups?

If you have a business idea that you’re looking to turn into a viable business, iLabs Accelerator program is looking for you. The program (in partnership with Sunway University and NEXA Accelerator) offers a 6-month training to help grow tech and non-tech startups to great companies.

According to the iLabs Accelerator website, “Our accelerator is industry-driven and result oriented. We want our entrepreneurs to spend their time working on their startup and growth. For this reason, we do not conduct classes. Instead, we have regular customized one-on-one sessions with each startup. We will connect you with the experts each of you need to ensure fast progress. Finally, we will have exclusive networking dinners with experienced entrepreneurs and advisors to share insights and personal experiences.”

Startups accelerator program runs for 6 months and is open to all nationalities

Applications are open until 31 December and welcome from all nationalities, with the condition that you must incorporate your startup in Malaysia if accepted into the accelerator program.

Some benefits of joining the program include RM50,000 cash in seed funding for accepted applications, access to legal resources and Google credit worth more than RM150,000. Startups also get access to angel investors who can provide follow-on funding, Silicon Valley launchpad and investors, as well as Sunway University’s network of labs, researchers, experts, potential interns and more.

These and more in exchange for 8% equity in your startups.

Read more about the opportunity and apply on the iLabs Accelerator website.