According to a 2014 estimate by the Johor-Singapore Community Care Association, about 5,000 Singaporean families have set up home across the Causeway.
Some are retirees, such as 68-year-old Amy Tan, who moved in 2014 after her husband retired. Others, such as Mr Ang Khartono Jamil Hanmin, 35, who works in events project management, still work in Singapore, but have chosen to live in Johor Baru and commute between the two cities daily.
Mr Ang says one could buy a terrace house in Johor Baru for the price of a three-room HDB flat in Singapore.
Cost of living was also the main reason behind Ms Noraini Mokhtar’s move. The 47-year-old decided to become a stay-home mum five years ago. Bringing up six children on one income, she and her husband decided that living in Johor Baru would be more viable.
Cheaper cars are another draw. A BMW 320i Sedan Sport retails at $193,800 (after $5,000 CEVS rebate) in Singapore. Its equivalent costs RM231,800 (S$78,270) in Malaysia – about 60 per cent cheaper.
A 2.4-litre Honda Odyssey EXV costs $158,999 in Singapore and RM248,288 in Malaysia – almost half the price.
Singaporeans who take up the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Programme are allowed to import one car into Malaysia or buy a locally made car with duty and sales tax exemptions.
In addition to the already substantial differences in car prices, these tax exemptions mean even bigger savings.
Moreover, when one buys a car in Malaysia, one can keep it for as long as one wishes, unlike in Singapore, where the car’s certificate of entitlement (COE) has to be renewed every 10 years.