Return to KL

JC Project Freedom Return to KL

Updated on 30th August 2020

This post is a personal update about returning back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I had a good chat with my director and explained to him that I will need to delay returning till 1st September instead of 10th August. My wife needs to conduct fetal testing for autism and genetic disorders. We need to wait for the results before I can return to Kuala Lumpur.

I did ask whether we can set KPI to monitor my work from home but unfortunately, the company is not prepared for full-scale work from home. There are some freelancers’ companies which I understand, there is software available to video record monitor screen and person’s presence as well. In addition, the company needs everyone back to work because some bad sheep which abused the system when working from home, they did not even log in to their laptops.

Why am I resisting returning to Kuala Lumpur?

I belong to the Expatriate category, holding EP I, returning to Malaysia to work is easy. The few things that irritate are the PCR test upon arrival and quarantine cost for 14 days at a local hotel. I think these two measures are necessary to safeguard everyone’s safety, not just for me but also for my Malaysian friends and their family. The quarantine cost is MYR 2,100 for the 14 days hotel stay and also need to cater for tests shown MYR 430. The total cost is around MYR 2,530 which works out to be around SGD 830.

If money can solve the issue, then it is not an issue at all. The key is what if you cannot solve it with money?

The applicant is required to obtain permission to leave Malaysia from the Director General of Immigration Department Malaysia (DGIM). Permission to exit Malaysia is only considered for the purpose of emergency cases and medical reasons. Upon successful application, the applicant must return within 60 days from the issuance date of the letter.

The only way to exit without permission is to leave Malaysia for good by ending your employment contract. To sum up, it will be months before I can possibly return to see my family. Maybe I can get permission to leave Malaysia when my wife is almost due for delivery. Then I need to return within 2 months from the date of approval.

I asked my HR in the event I return from KL to SG, if I caught the COVID-19 virus, whether my company health insurance covers the medical bill. They confirmed that the insurance will cover the medical bill. What if I quit and leave Malaysia and I catch the virus? I won’t be able to claim under my company health insurance anymore. What about my Integrated Shield Plan? My friend checked with MOH, they say we do not fall under PCA or RGL, you are on your own. Damn! Maybe things will change for the better and a vaccine will be in place soon, we will be saved. We can return earlier than we think we would.

There will be moments when I question myself, time is limited whereas money is unlimited. What do I mean by money is unlimited? Does it mean I have unlimited money to spend? No. You can make unlimited money during this lifetime but the time spent is gone forever. If I return in February 2021, the 6 months’ time with my family can never be bought back with money. Can you put a price tag on it? Never. Why are you doing it?

This year dividend income should be around SGD 46k instead of SGD 60k. I forecast that we (my wife and me) need another 2 years of the combined income of around SGD400k to invest in stocks to get SGD 16k/annum dividend income. I forecast the total dividend income should be around SGD 70-80k/annum then. However, in a low-interest-rate environment, the dividend yield is decreasing, I don’t know what the world will be like in 2 years time. I am heading up to Malaysia to fulfill my goal of financial freedom. Initially, I took this journey on the assumption that I can travel to and fro Singapore/Kuala Lumpur every weekend. This assumption is no longer valid. The world is never the same as before.

Will I be happy? No, the weekends will be unbearable without the family. It is a very lonely journey. We should always pursue happiness. I need to make the weekends worthwhile in order to bear this separation. I need to create another source of income so that I can return home earlier to spend time with family. I am going to write children’s books as a business. Stay tuned to this business update.

30th August 2020

I have packed most of the stuff in my suitcase. I am mentally prepared to travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 1st September. Tomorrow, I will enjoy my last day of the family time in Singapore while celebrating Malaysia’s National Day.

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