Sat, 26 Jul 2008
Friday, 25 July, 2008 | 17:19 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The survey was conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, an international consultant company that regularly organizes a yearly survey on the living costs in 143 major cities on six continents in the world. The survey result for the 2008 period was published yesterday.

The survey was based on more than 200 items in each location, including rent, transportation, food, clothes, household needs, and entertainment. These costs often serve as guidelines for multinational companies to determine the living costs of expatriates who are assigned in these particular cities.

According to the survey, Moscow is the most expensive city in the world, followed by Tokyo and London.

Meanwhile, crowded and polluted Jakarta is at number 84 with an 80.5 index, defeating other major cities in Southeast Asia like Ho Chi Minh (number 100 on the list), Bangkok (105), Kuala Lumpur (106), and Manila (110).

Living in Jakarta was also cited to be more costly than Chicago (84), Boston (99), Washington DC (107), Riyadh (119) and Jeddah (126) Saudi Arabia, and even Ottawa, Canada (85).

“The costly living expenses in Jakarta will affect investors,” said Mutiarawaty Thaher, Business Leader Mercer in Indonesia. “Jakarta will have to compete with other cities to attract investors,” she added.

According to her, the cost of living in the capital city is affected by the price increases for daily needs, education, and toll road rates. These factors affect the living cost index entirely. However, due to inflation in many cities in the world, Jakarta’s rank in fact went down from last year’s 55.

An expatriate who works in a stock brokerage company, shared his experience about the high living costs in Jakarta, mentioning the costly apartment rent compared to other cities in Southeast Asia. “Only a certain group can afford it,” said the Dutchman. “Therefore there is unhealthy price competition.”

According to him, the valid regulation in Indonesia permits apartment ownerships by local people only, and not expatriates. This is different in Kuala Lumpur, which allow expatriates to invest in apartments. ”That is why it is cheaper there”, he said.
HERI SUSANTO | ISMI WAHID



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