While Malaysia and Singapore are just a strait apart, the difference in the strength of their currencies is so huge that it affects the cost of living of those living around the borders of the 2 countries.
Recently, The Straits Times reported that their observations found that eateries in Johor have increased their prices following the influx of Singaporean visitors to the state, coupled with the rising cost of living.
The survey was conducted at restaurants in and around the state’s capital of Johor Bahru, where they conducted interviews with business owners, associations and patrons.
They found that several restaurants and coffee shops have raised their prices by at least a few sen to more than RM1 since the reopening of the border with Singapore.
Speaking to the English daily, some business owners said the rising cost of living prompted them to increase food and drinks prices despite doing so might affect customer retention, especially the locals.
Restaurant and Bar Operators Association chairman Tiong Kui Wong said that businesses were encouraged not to hike the price of their dishes too much. However, he added that the association could not stop them from increasing their prices as they are burdened by higher cost of raw materials and rental in some cases.
“However, we advise them not to hike up too much. A few sen or even RM1 is reasonable but not more than that as this will be a burden to customers,” he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Johor Indian Muslim Entrepreneur Association secretary Hussein Ibrahim said prices of dishes at mamak restaurants had also increased slightly.
“Most shops have increased the prices of their dishes by between 10 sen and 20 sen. We try to avoid increasing it further but it will depend on whether the prices of raw materials such as chicken and eggs continue to increase.”
“It is better to increase the prices of dishes slightly than to reduce the portion of food as this would give way to more complaints from customers,” he said.
On the other hand, Johor Consumer Movement Association president Md Salleh Sadijo pointed out that some businesses were using the increase in the cost of living as an excuse to raise the prices of their dishes as they know they will still get customers from Singapore.
“Some restaurants are profiteering from the situation and hiking the prices of their dishes excessively because they know they will still get customers from Singapore. The steep increase in the price of food will not cause much impact to Singaporeans as they have a stronger currency. It will still be cheap for them,” he said.
“However, for locals, this is a huge burden as they have to now pay twice as much for a simple meal. This is unfair to the locals and the government needs to do something about this. They need to monitor the situation and ensure that the rights of local consumers are also protected.”
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