Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Suitable home loan offers in Malaysia

Looking for the most suitable home loan?

Almost every bank in Malaysia offers housing loans at varying rates and terms. There is no definite answer, as to which one is the best because it all largely depends on the customer’s needs and capacities.

If you plan on applying for a home loan, the first thing you need to do is make a serious assessment of your current financial situation and a concrete plan that includes the property you wish to acquire, as well as the interest rate and loan duration that works best for you.

Other things to remember:

  • Most banks lend up to 90% of the property asking price or valuation
  • Some home loans only apply to uncompleted properties
  • The best loan will also largely depend on whether you are first-time home buyer or someone looking to re-mortgage
  • Many Malaysian banks offer flexi-loans
  • Loan approvals may be given depending on your minimum income and credit score

Once you are ready to shop for the most suitable housing loan, remember that the lowest interest rate or the fastest application processing period does not always mean the best. You may have to make a choice between taking a loan with a fixed interest rate or a variable interest rate. Some home loans incur fixed interest for the first few years (lock-in period) before shifting to variable or floating rates. To get started in your search for the best loan to finance your dream home, check out the following housing loan offers:

AIA Tiered Home Loan

The Tiered Home Loan package by AIA is an example of a home loan with a fixed interest of 4.25% within a lock-in period. For the first two years, the rate on your mortgage would not fluctuate based on the base lending rates. Foreigners who are participants of the MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home Program) are eligible for this loan.

Citibank FlexiHome Loan

Flexible home loans such as those offered by Citibank allow borrowers to pay an extra sum on top of the designated monthly mortgage, whenever possible, as a way to reduce minimum and costs from interest. Eligible applicants can borrow up to RM100,00 with Citibank’s FlexiHome Loan, which can be payable over a period of 35 years. You would have to have an annual income of at least RM24,000 to be qualified.

Maybank Home Financing

If you would like a housing loan that allows you to pay a fixed amount every time you make a repayment, apply for Maybank’s Home Financing programme. Maybank Home Financing is shariah-compliant, which means that it adheres to the principles of Islamic banking. Islamic loans are offered by several other Malaysian banks.

AmBank Home Link

Loans such as Ambank’s Home Link come with flexible terms that allow borrowers to connect their loan account with a current bank account, as a way to shorten the loan period and save on loan interest rates. You can borrow up to RM800,000 at an interest rate of as low as 4.20%. Like most home loans in Malaysia, both citizens and non-citizens can apply for the Home Link program.

If you would like to see more housing loan offers available, you can try using a comparison tool and be able to view more loan offers from different Malaysian banks.

Note: This is a guest post by, a Malaysia’s financial comparison portal which helps consumer in finding the right financial products at the right price.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Google Play Services is draining battery of many Android devices recently

Over the past few days, both my Android phone and Android tablet are experiencing abnormal battery draining, causing the battery to discharge at a faster rate than before and need to be recharged more often.

I suspect the culprit of this battery draining is the latest updated version of Google Play Services. Google Play Services is an integral part of the Android system and will automatically update itself from time to time when the Internet connection is available. It is used by Google Play Store (f.k.a. Android Market) and some other Google services in the phone.

If you search the Internet with the keywords "Google Play Services draining battery" and set the timeframe to "past week", you will find that a lot of Android device users are experiencing the same problem as well. If you don't set the searching timeframe, you will also find that this problem seems to happen occasionally every few months. However, the impact to my Android devices last time (if ever happened) was not as severe as this round, as I was not aware of such problem before this.

My Samsung Galaxy Note 8 shows that its Google Play Services stay awake and not gone for sleeping most of the time. That could be the problem.

Hope that Google will fix this soon, and update the Google Play Services in our Android devices with the bug fixed version at once.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Full report of HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2013 Results

Looking to live and work in a foreign country? Which is the ideal country for you to relocate to?

The HSBC Expat Explorer Survey claims itself to be the largest global expat survey of its kind. The survey compares and ranks countries across the globe based on over 40 factors like income, work/life balance and social life.

In 2013, over 7,000 expats in nearly 100 countries answered questions relating to their finances, quality of life and what it's like to raise children abroad.

The top 20 most desirable countries for expats based on 2013 survey results are:

  • China
  • Germany
  • Singapore
  • Cayman Islands
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Russia
  • Belgium
  • UAE
  • Hong Kong
  • Turkey
  • United States
  • Qatar
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Mexico
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Spain
Countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, India, Brazil, etc. were not given an overall ranking as there is insufficient Raising Children Abroad data.

Excluding the Raising Children Abroad consideration, the top 20 ranking becomes:
  • Thailand
  • China
  • Switzerland
  • Cayman Islands
  • Bahrain
  • Singapore
  • Germany
  • India
  • Qatar
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • Australia
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Canada
  • Russia
  • Oman
  • UAE
  • Hong Kong
  • Mexico
Click here to download the full 81-pages report of HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2013 Results.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A family day trip to Sekinchan - paddy field and fishing village

Sekinchan (适耕庄) is a small town located at the south of Teluk Intan and north-west of Kuala Lumpur, which is well-known as the cozy village of fishing and paddy farming (渔米之乡). It is a major rice producer in central Peninsular of Malaysia, and also a main seafood supplier.

Departed from Klang Valley, we passed by a few small towns including Puncak Alam, Ijok, Kuala Selangor and Tanjong Karang before finally arrived at Sekinchan.

We relied on the Sekinchan map below for our trip planning.

You can download a PDF version of this Sekinchan map here.

Most of the attractions are located at Site A, which is in the middle of the paddy fields. Going in from the main road, we drove a few kilometres, surrounded by the paddy fields, before we arrived at Site A.

Each block of paddy fields is labelled.

By the time of our visit, the paddy is not ripe for harvest yet.

Along the way, beside paddy fields, there are also some specially built concrete structures for swiftlet bird's nest farming.

There is a Chinese temple with bright yellow walls which can easily be seen from far. This is a very good landmark for Site A.

There is a mango farm beside the Chinese temple.

And there is a small village inside Site A.

From Site A going towards Sekinchan town, we passed by PLS Marketing which is a paddy processing factory in the middle of the paddy fields. We saw several tour buses bringing visitors there. There are also lorries from BERNAS loaded with rice departing from the factory.

You can find Taiwanese pearl rice (珍珠米) available for sell in PLS Marketing. This type of premium rice can hardly be found locally.

There are also small packets of rice in brick size and shape, in nice packaging as good choice for souvenir.

There are several restaurants in the Sekinchan map above. We asked for recommendation and direction from a man we met at petrol station. He so kind to drive his car and lead us to a restaurant near to the fishing village. Sekinchan is famous for its seafood.

There are a lot of boats along the Bagan fishing village. There is a small beach called Pantai Redang next to the fishing village. The villagers are friendly to provide us the direction to the beach.

There are several tree houses and recreation facilities (such as swings) along the beach, available for free to tourists. The beach has quite a lot of sea shells. Unfortunately, it also has quite a number of rubbish left over by tourists. The nearby temple committee already initiated campaigns and activities to keep the cleanliness of the beach.

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.