April 1, 2015 – Crossing the Causeway to do her grocery shopping and top up her car’s fuel tank is a monthly affair for 42-year-old finance manager Esther Wong, to save money.
“If you go to NTUC (Fairprice) with a trolley that is barely filled, you are already paying S$30. But in Malaysia, you pay S$100 for groceries that fill up your entire trolley,” said Ms Wong. And even with the new Goods and Service Tax (GST) which comes into effect in Malaysia today, Ms Wong thinks it will still be more affordable than in Singapore.
She noted that the 6 per cent GST introduced would not make much difference to Singaporeans like herself, given the Singapore dollar’s strength against the Malaysian ringgit.
Her sentiments were echoed by other Singaporeans whom TODAY interviewed. Ms Rose Nah, who visits Malaysia weekly to shop for groceries, said her husband spends about RM600 (S$223) each time he has his car serviced in Malaysia, about half the cost here.
But some Singaporeans said if petrol costs increase and if the ringgit regains strength, the trips may no longer be worth it. Said Mr Edwin Cheng: “Right now, our currency is still strong. I will think twice if the ringgit grows stronger (along with the GST and the vehicle permit entry fees).”