Which Malaysian State is The Cheapest to Live In?

Ever wonder which of Malaysia’s beautiful states cost the least to live in? We did some number-crunching to find out the truth of the matter!

The grass is not always greener on the other side, or is it? We might often wonder how much our fellow Malaysians are spending on utilities and rent. To find out, we’ve analysed three important utility costs; electricity, water, and house rentals. These are the essential living costs that every working adult will have to pay.

Note that our table does not cover meals, transportation, or other living expenses, which while also significant, are highly variable. So from the perspective of these vital expenses, which state or territory in Malaysia is the cheapest to live in?

No State Power Consumption Per 500 kWh (RM) Average Monthly Water Bill (RM) Average Housing Rental Per 1,000 sq. ft. (RM) Total (RM)
1 Perlis 178.61 11.30 400.00 589.91
2 Kelantan 178.61 11.40 450.00 640.01
3 Kedah 178.61 12.25 500.00 690.86
4 Terengganu 178.61 10.00 600.00 788.61
5 Perak 178.61 12.60 650.00 841.21
6 Sarawak 147.50 12.60 700.00 860.10
7 Malacca 178.61 14.40 700.00 873.01
8 Pahang 178.61 10.22 750.00 938.83
9 Negeri Sembilan 178.61 13.00 750.00 941.61
10 Sabah (And Federal Territory of Labuan) 157.20 11.80 800.00 969.00
11 Johor 178.61 21.00 1,000.00 1,199.61
12 Selangor 178.61 13.98 1,100.00 1,292.59
13 Penang 178.61 5.50 1,200.00 1,384.16
14 Federal Territory of Putrajaya 178.61 13.98 1,500.00 1,692.59
15 Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur 178.61 13.98 1,700.00 1,892.59

What the Table Tells Us

It is quite clear that Perlis, Kelantan, and Kedah are three of the cheapest states to live in if we only factor in the costs for housing, electricity, and water. However, these states also report a lower median household income.

Also, the states with the highest level of expenses also report a higher median household income, namely the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, Selangor and Johor. In other words, just because a place has cheaper rent and expenses, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you to move there, thinking that it will cost you a smaller percentage of your income.

Power Consumption

Electricity rates depend on the tariff imposed by the energy supplier. In Peninsula Malaysia, Tenaga Nasional Berhad has standardised fees for domestic usage, thus the majority of states in Malaysia are paying the same rate. East Malaysia however, has two main suppliers that charge differently.

Sabah Electricity (SESB) generates power to Sabah and the federal territory of Labuan while Sarawak Energyprovides the lowest domestic electricity rate in Malaysia to Sarawak.

Water Bills

Water tariffs differ from state to state, and when compared does not vary by a lot save for two states, Penang and Johor. Based on our table, Penang has the lowest monthly water usage rate, averaging at only RM5.55 per month. Johor residents, on the other hand are paying some of the highest rates with an average monthly bill of RM21 – this represents a 26% tariff difference between the states.

Average House Rent

Rental costs vary in each state based on the type of home, location, furnishing, and nearby amenities, among others. So it goes without saying, the figures presented aren’t exact. We used the size of the home as a base metric in addition to the number of times these rental prices were advertised on property sites. Note that the four most expensive housing rentals are in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Penang, Selangor and Johor.

These states also represent some of the most costly states to reside in; this means, housing prices have potentially, the biggest hold on whether or not a state is considered expensive.

While we try to make our estimations as close to real life costs as possible at the time of writing, this doesn’t mean that you won’t find places that are cheaper or more expensive than what our research suggested. But hey, if you’re looking for a rough guide, this is a good place to start.

If you are thinking of settling down in a home of your own soon, you’ll want to find ways to save more money and reduce your overall costs. One such way is to choose a loan package with a nice, low interest rate. To discover home financing with the most attractive rates, come on and check out our comparison page.

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