Ex-pat assignment in Malaysia
January 8, 2013 6:27 AM   Subscribe

I have just accepted an ex-pat assignment to Malaysia, specifically Malacca. I have a variety of questions, some specific to my family situation: my wife is three months pregnant and we have a toddler. See inside for details. Thanks!

The assignment is expected to be for a year or less at which time we'll (likely) come back to the US. My company has a good ex-pat policy, so I'm not too concerned about money. I expect to start work in April. As mentioned, my wife is pregnant and due in June. We have an 18-month-old son who loves being around other little kids. We are white mid-westerns who have never traveled to Asia. My questions:

1. Any books, movies, websites, etc. we should check out to better understand and acclimate to the area?

2. Any advice for my pregnant wife? Hospitals/doctors in Malacca? From what we've heard, it sounds like Malacca has good health care, and at very worst we could travel to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore for the birth.

3. Any advice for handling the transition for my son? We'd like to get a nanny or use day care too, so my wife can continue her internet-based business. Suggestions?

4. Since this is a short-term move, we will keep our house in the US. Any suggestions about the best way to manage this?

Any other tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!
posted by John Frum to Travel & Transportation around Malaysia (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Singapore's doctors almost universally speak very good English so that may be a consideration for you and your wife.

Make sure that you keep US-domicile bank accounts and credit cars active during your time in Asia. Having bank accounts and a credit history in the Us will make your return to the US easier. Understand the tax implications of US citizens working in a foreign country. US citizens' income is taxed worldwide; the US and Malaysia may have a tax treaty that eliminates or reduces double taxation. What currency are you going to be paid in?
posted by dfriedman at 6:33 AM on January 8, 2013

Oh another thing re births abroad: check with the is embassy in Malaysia (or Singapore if the birth is done there) about how to ensure that your infant gets a passport and other documentation that is official in the eyes of the US government...
posted by dfriedman at 6:39 AM on January 8, 2013

If I read the ex-pat policy correctly, I am paid in US dollars. We will keep our US bank accounts open as suggested. My company provides tax services to keep me whole from that perspective.

We'll keep the infant passport in mind. Thanks!
posted by John Frum at 6:45 AM on January 8, 2013

Registering your child's birth at the embassy/consulate in Malaysia and in Singapore. I don't think it's particularly difficult. The form does want some details, like dates when you have lived in the US (in case you have lived overseas previously), that you may want to gather before you depart just to make things easier, rather than having to potentially find things in two countries while you have a newborn.
posted by hoyland at 7:14 AM on January 8, 2013

My wife gave birth in Melaka almost exactly a year ago. Pantai Hospital in Ayer Keroh was very nice and professional.. There is also Puteri hospital and Mahkota hospital in Melaka. All three are quite nice, and we only chose Pantai Hospital because it was so close to our house.

99% of people in Melaka speak English, and it is probably the most touristed place in Malaysia, so there isn't too much you need to acclimate to. Finding a nanny is easy, getting a live-in is cheap, hiring a 9-5 nanny is a bit more expensive, but still very available.

Your toddler will have a great time in Malaysia. Malaysians love children, and there are tons of children everywhere, so I am sure there there will be no problems keeping your son happy and socialized.

I lived in Melaka for about a year and a half, it is a nice place. I moved to KL a few months ago, but if you have any other specific questions, feel free to memail me.
posted by Literaryhero at 8:00 PM on January 8, 2013

Thanks for the info, Literaryhero! That's reassuring.
posted by John Frum at 2:33 AM on January 9, 2013

Is your company willing to provide any additional coaching or emotional type support for your wife or son? Expatriation can be very stressful on children and spouses let alone those about to give birth. Family adjustment issues are a huge problem with overseas assignments. It's recommendable that you read up about family expatriation challenges and request any necessary support from your company before you commit. If they have good expatriation policies they probably have and already should be providing this support to your family with preparatory training.
posted by Che boludo! at 7:18 PM on January 9, 2013

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