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Staying In Malaysia

Malaysia is pleasant country with over 23 million of population and boasts a rich culture with Malays, Chinese, Indian and indigenous tribes. It is located in a peninsula bordering Thailand and northen one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia, Brunei and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam. The country was formed in 1963 as Malaysia and has since grown from strength to strength to become one of the formidable country in South East Asia. The country is also the home of world's tallest skyscraper - Petronas Twin Tower (1998 - 2004), a wide variety of cuisine and world's top five diving destinations - Sipadan Island in the Sabah Sea.


Entering Malaysia
a) Documents Required
Any prospectives students who wish to enter and stay in Malaysia to study for an approved period are required to possess the following documents:
A valid national Passport or internationally-recognised Travel Document that is valid for travel to Malaysia.
Visa issued by the Malaysian government.
Student Pass.

b) Obtaining A Visa
Visa is an endorsement or sticker on a passport to indicate that permission has been granted to you to enter Malaysia. Visa can be obtained from the nearest Malaysian Overseas Missions in your country prior to arrival or at least 3 months before your study course commeces. If the Malaysian Mission has not been established, application should be made to the British High Commission or Embassy. The whole process is hassle-free. You will need to present yourself with the following documents:

  1. Passport or Travel Document
  2. Form IM.47 (3 copies)
  3. Three (3) passport-sized photographs
  4. Return or onward-journey travelling ticket
  5. Proof of sufficient funds

c) Obtaining a Student Pass
Prior to your arrival in Malaysia, you must choose, contact and inform the Malaysian tertiary education institution that you wish to enter, stay and study. The education institution will apply on your behalf for the Student Pass, and you will be informed within (14) days of the application whether your application has been approved. The following documents will be submitted by the institution to Immigration Department Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur are:

  1. A covering and offer letter from the institution to the student
  2. Student Pass application form (IM14) in duplicate
  3. Photocopy of the student's passport / travel document (2 copies)
  4. Two passport-sized photographs of the student
  5. The education institution is required to sign Personal Bond prescribed under Regulation 18 of the Immigration Regulations 1963
  6. Nationals from PRC and Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) who wish to study in public education institutions are required to obtain prior consent from the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education Malaysia
  7. Application for transfer of education institutions has to be supported by a release letter from the previous education institution

Upon approval, you will receive the approval letter and Letter of Offer through the education institution. At your arrival in Malaysia, you must show your approval letter at the immigration point. A special pass will be issued, referring them to the respective State Immigration Department for issuance of Student Pass. Additionally, representative of the education institution is required to receive and attend to you upon your arrival at the Immigration checkpoint as a form of support and formal acknowledgement of your study intention.

d) Conditions for Entry under Student Pass

  1. You must have an offer letter from an educational institution
  2. You have been accepted for a full-time course of study (inclusive of English programme) at a Public or Private Higher Eduation Institution approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs
  3. You have the financial capability to meet living/travel expenses. Your course fees will be taken care of by IFNA
  4. You do not intend to work in Malaysia and prepare to leave Malaysia at the end of your studies
  5. Possess good health and character
  6. Genuine intention to seek entry for study purposes only
  7. Only Post Graduate students are allowed to bring their immediate families


Expenditure that will incur is dependent on the chosen course, education institution, duration of study and your preferred lifestyle. The main expenses for foreign students are:

  1. Visa application
  2. Registration Fee
  3. Deposit
  4. Computer/Science Laboratory Fee
  5. Insurance Premium
  6. Library Fee
  7. Other Incidental Costs

Other indirect costs may include the following:

  1. Accommodation - shared-lodging or private accommodation
  2. Food and Beverages - hawker or restaurant
  3. Travelling - taxi, bus and train fare
  4. Telecommunication - public telephone and mobile phone fee
  5. Laundry
  6. Entertainment - movie, music cassette or CD, travel
  7. Personal Care and Grooming - hair cut and clothes
  8. Postage - letters and parcel delivery
  9. Hospital treatment and medical services
  10. Books and Stationery - books, paper, pen and other consumables


Malaysia enjoys warm, sunny weather throughout the year with seasonal rainfall and thunderstorms. Temperatures ranges from around 30 degrees Celsius in the lowlands to about 16 degrees Celsius in the highlands.


Time Zone
Malaysia is eight hours ahead of GMT (GMT/UTC +8), sixteen hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time and thirteen hours ahead of Eastern Standard. Daylight Saving Time is not applicable to the country.


Malaysia's official language is Bahasa Melayu, which is widely used in official or formal matter. On the other hand, English is the medium of instruction for all study programmes conducted in PHEIs, followed by English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai, and several indigenous languages spoken by the tribes in East Malaysia.


Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and is the hub of education, transportation, business, retail and Information Technology. Most colleges are spread across the city, and finding a place to stay is convenient. Amongst the list of PHEIs located in KL are APIIT, Informatics, Inti College, Taylor's College, Sunway College, the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Monash University Malaysia Campus, KDU, KBU, Cosmopoint Institute of Information Technology, ELS Language Centres, FTMS-De Montfort Unversity Campus Malaysia, HELP University College, University Tunku Abdul Rahman, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Open University Malaysia, RIMA College, SAL Group of Colleges, Stamford College, Systematic College, British Council and others.


The currency used in Malaysia is Ringgit Malaysia, which is divided into 100 sen. Currency comes in notes of RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50 and RM100. Coins are issued in 1 sen, 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen, 50 sen and RM1 denominations. The currency code is MYR and the exchange rates is presently fixed at RM3.80 per one US dollar. All currencies brought into and out of the country must be declared using Travellers Declaration Form, which international students can obtain the form from entry and exit points of Malaysia. To check out the conversion rate of Tajikistan rate against Malaysian Ringgit, click to www.xe.com.


All accommodation arrangements are can be made by the education institution. The types of accommodation arrangements are:
i) On-Campus living - provided at optional fee by the education institution; fees and facilites may vary from one education institution to another
ii) Off-Campus living - accommodation will be settled by students themselves.

For on-campus or off-campus accommodation, they are a variety of types and budget to suit your lifestyle, and many of them are located a stone's throw away. Such accommodations may be college hostels, apartments, bungalows, condominiums or terrace houses in quiet neighbourhood as an ideal environment for students to adapt with ease.


Security and Safety
Malaysia is a politically-sound country which practices democratic ruling with a Prime Minister at the helm, who is, at present, Y.A.B Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The prosperous and stable years have been firmly established since gaining independence from Great Britain in 1957. This is evidently illustrated by the steady economic progress, peaceful living beyond skin colours, mutual understanding and tolerance on religion and ethnicity without sacrificing individuality, extensive crime prevention and eradication activities, and an enduring attitude to continuously strive to carve a name to be reckoned with - politically, economically, socially and culturally.


People and Culture
Living amongst Malaysians will offer international students a great insight on what it truly means to "live under the same roof". In Malaysia, students will be exposed to the strong social fabric that binds the Malay to Chinese to Indian to the aboriginal inhabitants, from the diversity in foods, arts, customs, beliefs, dialects, history, festivities, cultural heritages, architecture to everything in between.


Malaysia's vibrancy is further captured and presented in the form of food. As the country is one of the most globalised society in the world, all kinds of cuisine from near and far can be sampled here. Flavours from Malay, Chinese, Indian, Nyonya, Arabian, African, Japanese, Korean, Western, Vegetarian, Thai, Italian, Swiss, Spanish, Batavian, French and seafood are all available from hawkers or restaurants in the country. A simple meal inclusive of drinks at roadside stalls can cost from as little as RM2.50. A meal in shopping complexes (air-conditioned) and shop lots (non air-conditioned) can cost between RM3 - RM15, depending on the type of food and exclusivity of dining location. Halal food is mostly served in Malay restaurants. There are websites that will provide a helpful guide to dining while you are in Malaysia.


Water from tap is generally safe for consumption, though boiling prior to consumption is advisable.


Every four months, shopping complexes will be crowded with people looking to purchase all kinds of things at bargain price. It is the Malaysian Mega Sale, held in March, July and December. During festive seasons, many departmental stores and supermarkets will offer selected items at lower prices or sell items from previous season at discounted rate. There are also morning and night markets, held weekly at selected neighbourhoods around town, where many household items, prepared food, junk food, raw food and clothes are sold at bargainable price by stall vendors. Flea or street markets are held on weekends, such as Petaling Street, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Plaza Mont Kiara and Amcorp Mall, which are well-known amongst tourists. Shop hours vary from one place to another. In Kuala Lumpur, major department stores and supermarkets usually operate from 10am to 10pm and shops from 9.30am to 7pm. 24-hour convenience stores are a common sight in major towns.


Post Offices
Malaysia's national postal company, POS Malaysia Berhad, provides standard postal services, registration service, bulk mailing, franking service, insured letters services, post office box service, payment collection counters, and courier services. In addition, POS Malaysia also provides remittance services in the form of money orders and postal orders for the easy and safe transmission of money. To learn more about POS Malaysia's services, please follow this link to visit its website.


Bank Hours
Most states:
Mon-Fri: 9:30am-4.00pm
Sat : 9:30am-11:30am (Closed on every first and third Saturday of the month)
Sun : Closed
For banks operating in the vicinity of shopping complex, opening hour may begin at 10.00am and ends at 6pm.

Kelantan and Terengganu:
Sat-Wed: 9:30am-4.00pm
Thur : 9:30am-11.30am
Friday: Closed

To check out the list of banks operating in Malaysia, please click to our Links section.

Disclaimer: The information above provide a helpful overview and are by no means exhaustive.

Copyright @ 2005 IFNA All Rights Reserved.