Staying in Malaysia

Visa Requirement

On arrival at the airport, you will be given a temporary visa for one month. To get the student visa valid for one year, contact the administration officer at the Institute of Postgraduate Studies (IPS). While in Malaysia, always carry your passport with you.

Travel Abroad and re-admission

Before travelling abroad to any country other than your own, you should check the visa requirements of countries you intend to visit. Also check to ensure that neither your passport nor leave to remain in Malaysia will expire while you are away. It is always a good idea to carry documents to show the immigration officer on your return to Malaysia with evidence that you are a full-time student with adequate financial support.

Extending leave to remain in Malaysia

Many students will be granted leave to remain in Malaysia for the duration of their course; however, some students will be granted leave to remain for shorter periods. If you require to stay longer than the time limit you have been given, you must apply to the Immigration Department for an extension of stay before the expiry date stamped in your passport. Otherwise you may have some difficulty in obtaining an extension, and you could lose your right of appeal if your application is refused.

To renew your leave to remain, you are required by the Immigration Department to complete an application form to stay in Malaysia. Note that applications will only be valid if the appropriate form is submitted, fully completed, with all the relevant documents requested on the form.

You must provide:

  • A passport-sized photograph of yourself Passport-sized photographs of any dependents aged 16 or over who want to stay in Malaysia with you
  • Your unexpired passport or travel document and those of your dependents
  • Evidence that you have the financial resources to maintain and accommodate yourself and any dependents without recourse to public funds
  • If a relative or friend provides your accommodation or gives you money, a letter from them confirming that they are willing to do so
  • Evidence of attendance on that course from your School of Studies
  • Evidence of enrolment on the course for which you are seeking leave to remain
  • For sponsored students, evidence of current sponsorship or that a sponsoring authority consents to you continuing to study in Malaysia
  • Evidence of permission to work if you are working.

The form should be returned to the Immigration Department at the address on the form. If you require help in completing the form, our staff will be pleased to help you.

Extensions of stay may be refused for one or a number of reasons, if, for example, you are not enrolled on a full-time course, you do not have sufficient money to pay the fees and maintain yourself, you have had recourse to public funds, you have worked without permission or broken other conditions of leave, etc. Note that a maximum period of twelve months extension may be granted to a postgraduate student to write up a thesis unless there are exceptional compelling circumstances for a longer period to be needed.

Married Student

If you are married, there are some very important factors which must be taken into consideration before you decide whether or not to bring your family with you. First, is your grant/stipend adequate to support both yourself and your family?

Too many students in the past have tried unsuccessfully to budget for a family on a single person’s allowance. You will need to be certain that you have additional funding to provide for all the extra financial demands that an attendant family will bring i.e. accommodation, food, clothing, travel and entertainment.

The University has a small amount of accommodation available for students accompanied by their families, the International House which is situated about 3 Km from the main campus is a good option. You should not assume that it will be easy to find a house to rent and for this reason you are strongly advised not to bring your family with you, nor to make arrangements for them to travel, until you are certain that they will have somewhere to live. You will also have to ponder about the medical services for your family, as the University only provides free services for registered students.

Medical Services

As a registered student with the University you are covered by the medical services provided at the Students Health Clinic in the University. Other Medical services are also available at University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), private hospitals, private clinics, Government Hospitals and Government Clinics. These services are provided at a fee, and the charges depend on the type of medical service and also the location of the services. Students should consult the Student Health Clinic in the first instance except for emergencies. A referral letter is useful to seek treatment at the UMMC.


When you first arrive in the country, you will need temporary accommodation until you have settled in. In the University, the Rumah Universiti provides comfortable and affordable accommodation at less than RM100.00 per night. Other hotels are also available outside the University to suit various needs and budgets.

The administration officer at the Institute of Postgraduate Studies (IPS) will be able to assist with your accommodation needs. It will be advantageous to do so early as you will be competing with other students for limited places. University accommodation in the form of residential colleges, though severely limited, may be available. To apply, you should include supporting letters from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine.

Accommodation outside the campus is variable in quality, distance and cost. Rents vary between RM 700 and RM 1,500 per month for a two or three bedroom property. In addition to rent, which is normally paid monthly in advance, a deposit (equal to three months’ rent) will be required; water and electricity will be charged separately. You may need to provide your own bed linen and cooking utensils.

The University of Malaya have just launch the International House which is situated about 3 km from the main campus. The availability is on a first-come basis.


Telephone kiosks are to be found at all airports, seaports, railway and bus stations, post offices and in the streets. Instructions for use are given inside the kiosks. Public payphones can be of different types, accepting coins, phonecards and, in some cases, credit cards. Phonecards may be purchased from convenient stalls. The long-distance code for Malaysia is 60. International Direct Dialling (IDD) is available throughout Malaysia. Full details of dialling codes are given in the Phone Book. Dial 103 if you need assistance from the Operator. Charges will vary according to distance, length of call and the time of day when the call is made.

Mobile phone services are available in all cities, towns and on highways. The three mobile phone providers are Celcom, Maxis and Digi. Foreigners can also purchase mobile phones and pre-paid phone cards to make local or international calls. All pre-paid phone users must registered their number with the provider before they can make phone calls, this can usually be done during the time of the purchase of the phone card and they will need your passport.

International calls can be made through any mobile phones with sufficient credits. Long distance calls are usually cheaper during off-peak hours (the actual hours depends on the country you wish to call) and at the week-ends. But the cheapest way to call overseas is through VOIP (Voice over IP), the phone cards for which are available easily from convenient stalls and mobile telephone stalls. The almost free way to call overseas is through internet telephony.

To get directory information or an operator, dial ‘103’. The country code for calling into Malaysia is ‘60’ followed by the city code (‘3’ for Kuala Lumpur / Petaling Jaya) and the phone numbers (7 or 8-digit number). An outgoing call from Malaysia can be initiated by first dialing ‘00’ followed by the country code, then the area code and last the telephone number required.

Electrical equipments

The electrical supply is 220-240 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Generally, the plugs used here fall under two categories: ‘B’ Pattern - 2 round pins usually bathroom ‘shaver’ plugs and ‘C’ Pattern - 3 regular prongs. As such, you should check for compatibility before bringing your electrical appliances with you. If you buy or bring electrical appliances or equipment with you, make sure that they are connected to a plug fitted with a fuse of the correct rating.

Public Transport

In Kuala Lumpur city and its surrounding also known as the Klang Valley, there are taxis, buses and rail transport system. The KL rail system consists of the Light Rail Transit (LRT), KTM Kommuter and the KL monorail. Currently RapidKL has been assigned by the government to provide an integrated public transport system in the Klang Valley incorporating rail and bus services. You can purchase the RapidKL Monthly Travel Card for convenient transportation within KL.

There is a regular bus service which connects the University campus with the rest of the city throughout the day, but note that bus services may be less frequent during the evenings, on Sundays and public holidays. The RapidKL bus No. 632, connects the University with the Universiti LRT Station (Kelana Jaya Line). The Kelana Jaya Line will connect you to KL Sentral station where there is connection for KTM Kommuter, KL Monorail and the KTM inter-city rail service and the Masjid Jamek LRT Station where you’ll be able to transfer to the other LRT line (Ampang & Sri Petaling Line).

Malaysia Airlines is the flagship carrier of the country and it provides extensive domestic and international networks. While in Malaysia, you may opt for AirAsia the no-frills airline, which also flies to some regional destinations. The cheaper though much slower way to see the country is to use Malaysian Railways (KTM). This would also be better, as you will be able to enjoy the country side scenery along the way.

Traffic rules

An International Driving Licence will be required for foreigners to drive in Malaysia. You will need to read the Malaysian Highway Code and remember that in Malaysia we drive on the left and overtake on the right. It is compulsory for front seat passengers to wear seat belts, and for motor-cyclists to wear crash helmets. There are also strict laws about drinking and driving; so if you intend to drive it is best not to drink any alcoholic drinks for several hours before driving. Please obey the traffic laws and speed-limits while driving as penalties include heavy fines and even jail sentences.

Food and drinks

Food is the foremost priority in the life of a Malaysian. Instead of asking “How are you?” the Malaysians ask “Have you eaten?” You can choose from smart restaurants for special celebrations, informal cafés, western-style fast food outlets and roadside hawker stalls. Alternatively you can phone for a pizza to be delivered to your door. To ensure that food is prepared in the Islamic way, check that the restaurant is certified ‘halal’. The average meal costs from RM 3 to RM 10.

The average Malaysian should be able to tell you where their favourite chicken rice, char kuey teow, roti canai, nasi lemak or asam laksa stall is situated. Malay and Indian food are hot and spicy while Chinese food is more delicate. As these foods are probably alien to you, do try them out when you come to Malaysia.

As diversity is the name of the game, variety is the spice of life with foods from all over the world available within a stone’s throw. Malaysians are not a fussy lot when it comes to food so there are roadside stalls, 5-star restaurants, and everything else that comes in between.


Although Bahasa Malaysia is the official languague of Malaysia, English is widely spoken and understood by most Malaysian. The other main languages spoken are Mandarin and Tamil. To have a pleasant stay in Malaysia as a student, you will need to learn a little bit of Bahasa Malaysia, this would be taught to you during the Bahasa classes and a satisfactory completion of the Bahasa classes is a pre-requisite for obtaining the postgraduates degrees.

The postgraduates programmes conducted by this Faculty are in English, candidates whose degree is from a university or an institution of higher learning where the medium of instruction is not English he would have to fulfil certain requirements depending on the course.


The normal banking hours are from Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 4.00 pm. Some branches do stay open later and a few also open on Saturdays and Sundays. Beside the bank counters, most banks have electronic banking that will fulfil most of your banking needs; some banks even have Internet banking. If you would like to bank through the Internet please ensure that it is a secure website and uses encryption technology (e.g. https) and the site has a trusted security certificate. You should never access a banking site from an e-mail link. There is a bank and ATM facilities in the campus situated at the Perdanasiswa building.

Mails and Packages

Post offices open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm daily except Sundays and public holidays (except Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu which are closed on Fridays and public holidays). The main post office of Kuala Lumpur is open from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm daily. There is a post office in the campus, situated at the Perdanasiswa building.

Mail is delivered daily, Mondays through Saturdays. Letters overseas may take anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks to arrive, depending on where they go. A postcard sent internationally, with the exception of nearby Asian countries, will cost RM 0.50. Packages sent overseas can be brought to any post office to be weighed and sent.

All phone, electricity, and water bills can be paid at the post office. The post office also offers telegram, telex, and fax services.

You can also use other local or international courier services for sending of mail and packages.

About Malaysia

  1. Introduction
  2. Culture Shock
  3. Preparation
  4. Arriving in Malaysia
  5. Staying in Malaysia
  6. Life on campus
  7. Life in Malaysia
  8. Things to Do
  9. Bahasa Malaysia


The Occupational Medicine Clinic is a referral clinic for occupational diseases and is open on every Friday in University Malaya Medical Centre.