Discovering Home in Greater Kuala Lumpur

Explore the vibrant and inviting city of Greater Kuala Lumpur (Greater KL/KL) through the insightful perspective of Karthikeyan Jeyaram, Country Director at SRKAY Consulting Group.

Originally from Tiruchirappalli, India, Karthikeyan reflects on his decade-long journey in Malaysia, highlighting the warmth of the local community, strategic advantages, and diverse amenities that contribute to the enriching experience of living in Greater KL.

From overcoming cultural differences to celebrating milestones with his family, Karthikeyan shares his firsthand insight as an expat and valuable advice on thriving in this diverse and vibrant metropolis.

Q1: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

"My name is Karthikeyan Jeyaram from Tiruchirappalli, also known as Tiruchi/Trichy - a city in India's southern Tamil Nadu state. At SRKAY Consulting Group, I am serving as the Country Director overseeing operations in Malaysia and Singapore."

Q2: How long have you been living in Greater KL? What aspects of life in Greater KL have surprised and delighted you the most? How has this experience enriched your family life?

"This year marks a decade since I moved to Greater KL. Personally, I find myself in the profound sense of gratitude that defines my experience here. This sentiment stems from the warm embrace I received from the local community, to generous support and guidance in navigating cultural nuances, market dynamics, and even providing business opportunities. Malaysia and Greater KL have made me feel like I am part of their community.

Nothing brings me more joy than seeing my family happy, especially with my daughter's enrollment at a local university. They appreciate the diverse entertainment options and accessibility available in Malaysia. My daughter, particularly, has embraced Malaysian culture and enjoyed so much of the local food."

Q3: Can you share your overall experience living in Greater KL as an expat? Which aspects of life in this region have made it unique or different from your home country?

"Based on my experience as an expatriate living in Greater KL, the city offers a conducive environment for living and settling down, driven by several factors:

• Its strategic location is advantageous, particularly for someone like me from India, with convenient travel back and forth with just a three-hour flight.

• I find joy in driving peacefully, free from the frequent honking that you would experience in India.

• The city provides easy access to a wide range of facilities, including entertainment venues, hospitality services, healthcare facilities, and diverse food options.

• The city provides easy access to a wide range of facilities, including entertainment venues, hospitality services, healthcare facilities, and diverse food options.

• Regular interaction with people from diverse backgrounds has broadened my perspective on the world. As a passionate businessman, it further inspires me to engage with a variety of individuals, naturally enhancing my learning journey.

• Other than that, from my observation, the cost of living in Kuala Lumpur has remained relatively stable over the past few years."

Q4: What obstacles did you encounter while transitioning to life in Greater Kuala Lumpur? How has your perception of the city evolved over time? Have there been specific cultural or lifestyle aspects that you've come to appreciate or embrace during your tenure here?

"There are a few challenges that I encountered during my transition to life in Greater KL:

Language and Cultural Barrier: I took some time to understand the way people spoke and acted. It was not always easy to grasp the different accents or the new words I heard. But with each interaction, I learned more about how to communicate and integrate with the community. It was like uncovering a treasure trove of knowledge, one conversation at a time.

Cultural Adaptation: As I settled into life in Malaysia, I realised that blending in meant more than just learning the language. I had to understand the unspoken rules of Malaysian customs, like the respectful gestures, communication styles, values, norms, religious practices, and beliefs unique to this vibrant culture. It was not always easy; but with every meeting, I found myself gradually becoming with life here, and Malaysian culture and customs.

As an expatriate, I initially harboured concerns about adapting to a new and unfamiliar country, with its different customs and perspectives. However, my close relationships with Malaysians played a crucial role in helping me overcome these challenges. I was pleasantly surprised by the friendliness and accommodation of the people here, which facilitated my cultural adaptation process. Recently, during a business trip to another country, I found myself yearning to return to Malaysia. As I gazed out of the window upon my arrival at the KL International Airport, I felt a sense of warmth and belonging, as if I were finally back home."

Q5: What factors come into play for a company deciding to launch an overseas office, and what advantages do you think Greater KL offers over other regional cities?

"When considering the factors influencing the decision to establish an overseas office, Greater KL provides a strategic location for business expansion, offering abundant opportunities spanning various sectors, from manufacturing to services. But what makes Greater KL stand out?
An essential economic hub – Greater KL has a stable and consistently growing economy, serving as a regional hub for over 100 multinational corporations. Its strong economic foundation and connectivity to major Asian cities make it an attractive destination for business ventures.
A conducive business environment – Greater KL offers a welcoming business environment characterised by extensive and modern infrastructure, cutting-edge telecommunications, widespread broadband access, a robust financial sector, favourable policies, and supportive regulations.
Supportive government framework- Greater KL boasts a supportive government framework and a well-established ecosystem tailored to assist businesses in their growth journey. With an integrated transportation system, exceptional connectivity, and attractive tax incentives for investment, further enhance Greater KL’s appeal as a destination for business growth and innovation. This has captured the attention of foreign investors, further solidifying the region's position as a thriving hub for leading global companies.

Skilled and diverse talent pool – Greater KL offers access to a wide range of talented individuals with varying expertise, backgrounds, and skill sets, fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the workforce. Access to skilled professionals is incredibly beneficial for new companies as it facilitates business consolidation and growth while promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion."

Q6: Living in a new place often comes with memorable experiences. Could you share some anecdote or unforgettable moment that encapsulates your time in Greater KL?

"Living in Greater Kuala Lumpur has been filled with countless memorable experiences, but two moments stand out prominently in my mind.

The first moment was when I secured my first business sign-up in the city. It was a significant milestone that marked the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey in Malaysia. I could feel a sense of accomplishment and excitement knowing that my business started to grow and make a difference in the local community.

Another unforgettable moment was when my daughter received acceptance into a local university. It was a proud and emotional moment for our family, symbolising not only her academic achievement but also our integration into the Malaysian community. Witnessing her embark on this new chapter of her life in Malaysia filled us with immense joy and gratitude for the opportunities this city has provided us."

Q7: Describe a typical weekend in Greater KL for you and your family.

"Our weekends in Greater KL often revolve around visits to malls, where we enjoy exploring the shops, catching a movie, and indulging in delicious meals. One of our favourite activities is bowling, which we find both fun and exciting. Recently, I developed a new interest in joining a Shooting Club, which I have been eager to join for quite some time now. I am happy that I get the chance to pursue this hobby while living in Greater KL."

Q8: For fellow expats considering a move to Greater KL, what advice or insights would you offer to help them make a smooth transition and fully enjoy their experience living in this diverse and vibrant region?

"Living in Greater KL is an enriching experience. The region offers competitive living options, allowing you to tailor your lifestyle according to your budget. With reasonably priced food and shopping, as well as a wide range of entertainment activities and access to religious facilities, there's never a shortage of options. The cost of living sees steady growth, ensuring stability and predictability. From immigration procedures to regulatory matters like obtaining a driving license or securing an Employment Pass, the processes are well-structured, making the transition smoother for expats. Overall, Greater KL offers a high quality of life at an affordable price, promising a fulfilling and enjoyable experience for newcomers."

Let us facilitate your growth in the region.


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