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Saturday December 22, 2012

A haven for expats

KUCHING: The Sarawak Tourism Federation president Audry Wan Ullok said the state had plenty to offer retiring expatriates.

Responding to a US-based reporter’s article citing Kuching as a hidden gem, Audry said the state capital had a high standard of living.

“We have many plus points, not least of which is our healthcare, which is very affordable to expatriates. Our private medical services are plentiful,” the newly re-elected federation president said.

She said affordability and comfort were key selling points.

“In the coming years, we’ll also be seeing many new condominiums, including luxu- rious ones, being developed.

“For foreigners, they will benefit from the very attractive packages and incentives under the Malaysia My Second Home programme.

“The euros, pounds, yens and US dollars, as well as other major currencies, will stretch a long way in Kuching.”

Audry also cited the state capital’s reasonably good air links and closeness to major destinations like Singapore.

“The island nation is just one hour away from Kuching by flight.

“But we are ourselves developing into a very comfortable modern city.

“Kuching’s shopping sector is as good as anything that one can expect of any other major Asian cities.”

In an article on Dec 10, American writer Kathleen Poddicord featured the state capital in a glowing article aimed at expatriates, calling the state capital: “The most interesting retirement spot you’ve never heard of”.

To date, the article was featured in Yahoo! Singapore Finance, usnews.com and liveand-investoverseas.com.

Poddicord wrote that Kuching offered retirees, “a sense of wanderlust, a generous helping of laid-back charm, along with a high standard of living, all for a downright bargain cost”.

She estimated that the cost of living can be less than US$600 (about RM1,800) a month for a home-owning couple.

She also described Kuching as a “pretty city that combines a comfortable blend of neo-classical British colonial forts, museums and government buildings, Chinese-style churches, shophouses and temples, and unique Borneo-style arts and crafts”.

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