Happily Ever After

Daisy Danker [Centre] with some of the participants
of Malaysia My Second Home programme
Living happily ever after in Malaysia

Very often we live so comfortably here that we aren’t aware that there are people who long to live in tropical weather, free from frigid cold and the threat of earthquakes.  Our weather and the favourable cost of living are just some of the reasons why many people are encouraged to pick Malaysia as their second home.  There are more than 12,000 successful applicants of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) participants programme nationwide and these are the stories of some who decided to retire and reside here:

Masao Sakamoto [Left] with his mother [next to him]
and family members in Johor Baru
Masao Sakamoto

In Japan, we live in Shizuoka City near Mount Fuji and as the winters are extremely cold for my 90-year old mother, I wanted her to live in milder weather.  I used to work with a global company with branches in Singapore and Thailand and lived in the United States for 5 years and 3 years in Belgium and was looking for a place to retire.  When I visited Malacca for the first time in 2008, I fell in love with Malaysia and came back again three times in 2009 with my wife to survey the hospitals and supporting amenities here. 

We have lived in Johor Baru since 2010 and I remember when my mother had a fall in the park during her walk in October 2011 and needed stitches above her right eyebrow.  My mother does not understand English but she was treated so well in the hospital that we are reassured of the healthcare services here.  We are enjoying our Malaysian retirement and as I’m also bi-lingual in Japanese and English, I hope to share my experience to help other Japanese who may need advice on their relocation to Malaysia.

Alan Bryan and his wife, Margaret in Langkawi
Alan Bryan

We are from Aberdeen, Scotland, where there are hills, heather and sheep but the weather is just too cold there.  So when my wife, Margaret, saw the hills and greenery as she stepped off the aircraft on her first visit to Langkawi, she knew that this is where we will retire.  The terrain in Langkawi is similar to our homeland but the weather here is just right because even if it rained, we will have warm rain!

We are based in Singapore for my work and as we have fallen in love with Asia, we decided to make Malaysia our second home.  We often drive through Johor Baru to explore Malaysia for golf and spend weekends in Langkawi so it didn’t take long for us to decide on buying a property situated 2 km from the mountains and 20 meters from the sea, with the golf course just around the corner.  At the moment, we spend weekends there to oversee the renovation work but we are so looking forward to retiring in sunny Langkawi.

Alison Moh MacRae Smith has retired back
in Johor
Alison Moh MacRae Smith

I was born in Batu Pahat, Johor and moved to Singapore in 1957 to start training as a student nurse.  I married Bruce MacRae Smith, a Scots man who was then working in Singapore and we used to live in Europe for about four months a year.  In 1980 when our son was 12 years old, we decided to relocate to France. 

My husband had bought a 35-acre property in Lot Etgaronne and turned it into a resort we called, Guirot Bas, which was very popular with families mainly in the summer.  After my husband passed away four years ago, I sold Guirot Bas and came to Malaysia for a holiday in October 2010.  Just a week into the holiday, I suffered a peritonitis attack and needed a colostomy.  While recuperating in the hospital, I decided to retire in Malaysia and recently moved to live in a care home in Kulaijaya where I’m enjoying a carefree lifestyle especially after running a holiday resort for the last 20 years!

Dimitri Menglet and his wife, Helena
now live in Johor Baru
Dimitri Menglet

I’m Russian and my German wife, Helena, and I have always desired to live in Asia and we have lived in Johor Baru since February 2012.  We chose Johor Baru because it has the best of both worlds – Malaysia’s natural charm next to cosmopolitan Singapore which has a cultural hub.  We have a rich cultural history in the Soviet Union and Helena, who is a performing pianist, is able to enjoy recitals by International artistes across the Causeway.

We are impressed with the efficient postal services and local parcels are even traceable online.  I remember trying to send a parcel from Putrajaya and as post offices do not supply boxes, we went to the nearest mall to get one and were surprised when a shop assistant gave us a box free-of-charge.  Recently at the Immigration counter at the Causeway checkpoint, I noticed a poster that promised Service-with-a-Smile and as we were about to leave, I told the officer, “You forgot to do something.”  He was rather taken aback until I reminded him that he didn’t smile!

Wendy and her husband, Sven Muendler, with daughters,
Maya and Lucy, are building their home in Nusajaya
Wendy Muendler

Thanks to MM2H, we are living happily in Malaysia with our daughters, Maya and Lucy. I’m American married to Sven, a German, and after living in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore, I often wondered where my family would continue to live.  After a Chinese friend took us to visit Nusajaya, I did some research on the development in this area and it began to be crystal clear that this is where we will settle down.

We attended the Open Day at Malborough College and was blown away by its new 92-acre campus, financing and educational approach.  Then we found freehold residential land in this area that could be purchased by foreigners at a reasonable price.  After receiving our MM2H visa, we began building our dream home, enrolled our girls with Malborough College, bought a tax-free car and hired a domestic helper and driver.  We are now enjoying being a little more part of Malaysia – truly Asia!

Diana George at the Johor Baru Zoo
Diana George

My husband and I have holidayed in Malaysia, usually passing Johor Baru en route to Kuala Lumpur, but we chose to live in JB because it is less crowded and is bordered by the sea with Singapore just across the Causeway.  Our older children are in the United States and my husband often travels for business.  Since our teenage son goes to school in Singapore, it is ideal for us to move to live nearer to him.

We are Canadian but enjoy Asian food and since I’m attempting to cook Malay cuisine, I even go to look for ingredients in the Pandan market.  I find Malaysians very approachable and hospitable by nature and willing to help, especially when I ask for directions.  I learnt a few Malay words like, Terima Kasih and sikit-sikit but sometimes when local people try to speak to me in Malay, I quickly tell them, “Tidak tahu Melayu.”

Daisy Danker of Consensusbiz (MM2H) Sdn Bhd
Consensusbiz – helping with their move

Five years ago, Daisy Danker a mother of three, left a career in banking to head up the MM2H section of the business. 

Over a period of 12 months, Danker worked extensively in partnership with the Johor State Government and Iskandar Investment Bhd, being involved with brainstorming sessions and working in tandem with Iskandar Investment and the Ministry of Tourism to promote Johor through presentations to foreign investors.  Besides meeting foreign groups here, she also joined the team for road shows to promote MM2H with investors in Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and China.

“I always put myself in the client’s shoes,” said Danker about her approach in dealing with potential participants of the MM2H programme, “because they are going to entrust their personal information to me to process their long-term visas.”  Besides being passionate about helping participants feel welcome and comfortable in our country, Danker is also the Secretary of the MM2H Association (2012 to 2014).  For MM2H enquiries, contact Consensusbiz (MM2H) Sdn Bhd on Tel: 607 – 222 0819/2, Email: cbc@consensusbiz.com or visit website: www.consensusbiz.com

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 17 September 2012


  1. I was researching MM2H program and stumbled upon your site. You shared very interesting stories of the MM2H program, glad to know that there are many successful stories. It's certainly good news for our local property market. You have an interesting blog, will look around.

  2. After lots of searching, I found you and I’m glad my hard wok did not waste. Happy stay on this blog. MM2H