AS recent as Tuesday (Oct 24), Malaysians awoke to news that their currency had breached a new low against the Singapore dollar. At the time of writing, S$1 was the equivalent of RM3.4886.
The exchange rate first breached the 3.50/S$1 mark at 10.21pm on Monday (Oct 23), according to Bloomberg data. The rate then fluctuated but was largely floating above 3.5 overnight until 9.05am on Tuesday (Oct 24).
The spot price fell to 3.4987 at 9.06am before going above 3.5 again at 10.13am on that historical day. As at 6pm, it was trading at 3.5023 as reported in the Singapore Straits Times.
This is indeed concerning news for Malaysians already grappling with surging cost of living, with daily necessities rising in price almost weekly despite the government’s best efforts to cap these.
Amidst all the concerns of rising cost of living, there is a silver lining and it has nothing to do with expat Malaysians earning their dough in Singapore.
It is that such an exchange rate will greatly encourage Singapore tourists to flock to our shores. Their inherent kiasu-ness will demand that they make the most of this opportunity.
Already, money changers in the island republic have reported running out of Malaysian ringgit every time the currency hits a new low. This is reflective of the numbers that are looking to flex their increased spending power over in Malaysia.
Those involved in the hospitality and tourism industry need to react quickly and strike while the iron is hot.
Attractive package deals to entice them to visit Malaysia should be put together, allowing some much-needed injection of tourist income to boost the not so impressive Malaysian economy.
The Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister should get in on the act. Be proactive and run ad campaigns to lure Singaporeans to drive across the 1.06km Johor-Singapore Causeway. Call it as it is – come take full advantage of the mighty Singapore dollar (no pun intended as Malaysians have long lost their ‘water face’ in the realm of exchange rate).
Sure, some thick-skin and swallowing of pride may be required but these are tough times. ‘Water face’ is the least of Malaysians concerns right now; being able to revive a flagging economy should be the priority.
This is a golden chance to turn bad news into a winning position. Over to you Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (by the way, please negotiate beforehand with the PAS-rule states to allow our Singaporean tourist friends to don short pants/skirts amid our scorching tropical heat). – Oct 26, 2023
Main pic credit: Hype MY