INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN MALAYSIA GUIDELINES AND RULES
The following information for international students in Malaysia details what every
international student needs to know to have an enjoyable stay in Malaysia:
Planning to study in Malaysia
decision to study abroad and eventually planning to study in Malaysia may not
be an easy task. An important consideration before planning to study in
Malaysia is an analysis and understanding of student critical success factors
in a host country such as the country’s culture, religion, weather and language.
- Culture: Malaysia is a multicultural society. The
Malaysian culture is discussed a bit more below.
- Religion: Malaysia is a Moslem country and Islam is
the state religion. However, Malaysia makes allowance for other religions to be
practiced such as Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and others. If Islam is not
the state religion in your country, it may be important to consider how this
may affect your dressing, public speech and actions.
- Weather: Malaysia is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean
Time (+8 GMT). The features of the Malaysian climate are uniform temperatures,
high humidity and copious rainfall. Temperatures can reach 30 degrees Celsius
during the day and may plunge to about 20 degrees Celsius at night. Hence, cotton,
cool and light clothing is advised.
- Language: English is the medium for teaching on most
tertiary institutions in the country. However, Malay is the most widely spoken
language in the country. Mandarin, Tamil and other dialects are also spoken. Since
Malaysia is a multicultural society, you can expect to hear other languages and
be sure that your language will be spoken.
Choosing the college/university
Prospective international students need to consider the following points when choosing a college/university:
- Ensure you choose an institution that best provides
for your intended course of study. Some colleges are more specialized colleges
- Ensure that your chosen college is allowed by the
Malaysian authorities to recruit international students. It is worth restating
that not all colleges are allowed to recruit international students in
a general knowledge of the tertiary institutions in Malaysia, you may review
our information on study in Malaysia.
If you need help on choosing a suitable college/university, we will be glad to
furnish with down-to-earth, practical and relevant information to aid your
decision-making by filling a short form here.
- Submit an international application
form with the requested documents from the educational institution
approved to recruit international students.
- The institution accepts the application and applies for the student pass
from the Malaysian Immigration service.
- Upon approval by the Malaysian Immigration service, a letter of approval
for the student pass is provided to the institution for onward passage to the
- The student informs the educational institution of his/her travel plans –
arrival date, time, flight/ship number.
- Upon arrival, the institution’s
representative meets and receives the student at the immigration and assist in
processing the student through immigration.
- Within 2 weeks, the educational institution submits the students
passport to the Malaysian immigration to process and attach the student sticker
on the passport.
- Confirm that you have notified your educational institution before your
arrival date stating the date, time and flight/ship number.
- Confirm your passport is valid (many colleges prefer up to 12 months)
before embarking on your trip.
- Ensure you have the original copy of your visa approval letter or valid
entry visa with you before embarking on the trip.
- Ensure you have a copy of the latest fee structure and are familiar with
the monetary requirements apart from the tuition fees.
- Ensure you have sufficient cash with you (about $USD200 - $USD500) for
the first few weeks. It is advisable to bring other forms of money that can be
drawn in Malaysian banks (money order, certified cheques, travelers cheques
etc.) as you may not be able to have a bank account opened for you until your
student sticker is affixed on your passport.
- It is advisable to have a health history document with you providing
information on your allergies and other relevant details important in informing
medical personnel of your health condition should such information be required.
- Ensure your clothing is suitable to a tropical climate such as Malaysia’s.
- Ensure that your electrical appliances is compatible with the constant
electrical supply of 240 volts 50-cycle system obtainable in Malaysia.
arrival protocols should be observed for a smooth immigration passage:
- International students arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International
airport (Terminal C) are required to board a shuttle bus/vehicle to the
immigration terminal/baggage reclaim.
- Upon arrival at the immigration checkpoint, international students are
expected to look out for their college representative (don’t join the clearance
queue or attempt immigration clearance on your own as you may not be cleared
without your college/university representative.
- After immigration clearance by
the college/university representative, international students are transported
to their residence.
- International students are escorted to the school campus for the first
few days to complete other registration processes.
in Malaysia is smooth. Malaysia has one of the most developed infrastructures
in land, air and sea transportation. The country maintains a good network of roads
and rail links.
International students are able to use the bus services
(schedule must be determined), metered taxis (usually requires a call to the
taxi company), car rentals or even own a car.
Where an international student
owns a car, you must ensure your driving license is valid for use in Malaysia as Malaysia only recognizes driving licenses from selected countries. Where your driving license is not recognized,
international students will need to register in a driving training school (cost
is about RM 1000 as at 2012) for testing and provision of Malaysian driving
the accommodation provided by the college/university, there are other accommodation
options available for international students in Malaysia. Many international students
prefer personal accommodations outside college/university administered accommodations
to accommodate their lifestyle.
International students in Malaysia interested in outside accommodation should be willing to sign a contract with
the house owners. House rent is usually collected on a two-plus-one basis (Initial
rent include a two months’ rent as refundable deposit at end of tenure and a
one month rent for the first month).Thereafter rent is expected to be paid
monthly in addition to utility payments.
Accommodation possibilities include:
1. Furnished apartments in condominiums (high rise accommodations)
2. Unfurnished apartments in condominiums
3. Private rentable houses
The culture in Malaysia is more or less
reserved and more individualistic than communal. International students coming from
communal cultural backgrounds will need to be aware. International students in Malaysia must ensure that the religious rights and symbols of others are not violated as
this is a punishable offence in Malaysia.
Although it is legally possible to work
part-time in Malaysia, it is extremely difficult for international
students in Malaysia to gain part-time work. This is because of the governments drive to
engage increasingly unemployed Malaysians. International students are advised
not to plan with possibilities of working in Malaysia to augment their income.
Change of college
International students in Malaysia are able to transfer
to a new college if they do not like to continue studying in their original college.
This is not usually easy to accomplish practically.
This is because immigration
procedures require your existing college to cancel your study visa before the
new college is able to apply for a new study visa for you. This can present
challenges if your existing college refuses or delays such cancellation.
students inside Malaysia must be prepared to exit Malaysia if required for the duration of the college
Do's and Don'ts
are legally binding on all international students:
- International students must abide by Malaysian statutes and laws.
- International students should not be involved in jobs or trades which are deemed illegal.
- An international student is guilty of misconduct if found guilty of
criminal charges by the court.
- International students wishing to study in Malaysia must obtain a
- International students in Malaysia wishing to work must obtain
permission from the Malaysian Immigration department through his/her educational
institution. This is provided at the Immigration Department's discretion based on the
students’ academic performance and school attendance.
- International students are permitted to work part time for 20 hours per
week during semester breaks or during holidays more than 7 days.
- International students in Malaysia are not permitted to work as cashiers.
- International students are not allowed to be in possession, provide,
supply, distribute, offer, prepare or be involved in any way with drugs and
poisons. You can review our information on Malaysia Dangerous Drug Act 1952.
- International students in Malaysia are not allowed to be in possession of any kind
of weapons. You can review our information on Malaysia Weapons Act 1958.
- International students in Malaysia are allowed to own vehicles subject to the
Malaysia Road Transport Act 1987. You can review our information on Malaysia Road
Transport Act 1987.
- International students are guilty of an offence if found engaging in
activities involving the use of force, extortion, harassment, bullying,
physical aggression, fights, and exhibition of verbal or physical behaviors
deemed to be racist or prejudiced.
- International students are expected to refrain from plagiarism and all
kinds of falsification of assignments and coursework.
Find out details at MOHE website.
Malaysia provides abundant opportunities for
international students to enjoy nightlife. International students need to
remember to be with and provide a source of identification (passport, college
identification card etc.) if requested by law enforcement during routine stop
and checks at night. Night clubs are abundant in major cities in the country
such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang etc.
Cost of living
Cost of living in Malaysia is relatively
lower than getting the same education in developed countries. On the average,
an estimate of RM 15, 000 to RM 21,000 (USD 5000 to USD 7000) per year will be
sufficient for an international student. Lifestyles differ and so will the
required cost of living. Accommodation cost between R300 – RM 600 for a room in
a shared apartment.
Scholarships/ financial assistance: There
are various government, international and college scholarships that are
available to international students. You can review our information on Scholarships to determine the available scholarships now.
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