The exchange rate does not tell the real story.

Photo credit: Kini Biz

It’s more important to look at how many minutes or hours you have to work in Malaysia to buy, for example, a loaf of bread.

Also, look at the minimum wage.

In Brunei, B$10 will get you a basket of goods at the supermarket. B$1 = RM3.11.

B$10 will get you a full tank of petrol for the car.

In Malaysia, you need RM80 for a full tank of petrol.

In Sydney, where the minimum wage is A$30 per hour, a loaf of bread costs 0.90 Australian cents. A$1 = RM3.25.

Sydney is the most expensive city in Australia. Yet, a loaf of bread costs only A$0.90.

In KK, the same loaf costs RM4.25.

A$50 at the supermarket in Sydney will last you two weeks and gets youna trolley full. That includes groceries and marketing.

In KK, you need RM300 for two weeks of groceries i.e. halfba trolly from the supermarket. That excludes marketing.

The bottomline is that wages, stagnant for decades in Malaysia, are low. At the same time, goods and services are not only expensive compared with other countries — Brunei, Singapore and Australia for example — they keep rising.

Clearly, there’s a chronic lack of efficiency in how the market and the economy are organised in Malaysia.

There may also be a lack of consumer resistance because people are not aware of their rights.

The laws are not enforced, resulting in CBT,.miney laundering and other abuses. Politicians continue to plunder the treasury and build palatial homes right under the noses of the IRD and MACC.

Even at Malaysian wages, it’s cheaper to live in Brunei, Singapore and Australia, to cite three examples.

Those in Miri can live in Kuala Belait, Brunei. Those working in JB can live in Singapore.

Those in Perlis and Kedah can live in southern Thailand.

If you are already retired, you can stay in these places or even Australia.

Australian permanent residents over 60 years get A$850 every two weeks from the gov’t. That’s why the refugees are rushing to Australia.

Many PR in Australia in fact don’t stay in that country. They stay in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon because they came from those countries. They get their A$850 every fortnight through the bank.

Ironically, a worker in KL from Kerala, southwest India, can afford to build a double storey bungalow in his home country although he gets less than RM2, 000 pm. How much would that same bungalow cost in KL?

How can a Malayalee from Kerala in KL do it?

He lives on very little, perhaps doing something part-time as well or relying on tips.

The wife back home works but it’s just enough for the household expenses.

The Malayalee in KL banks in almost his entire less than RM2, 000 pm. Back home, the bank will finance the construction of his bungalow.

No single storey houses for these people. No link houses for them. They don’t look at such houses.

Save your Malaysian wages and stay somewhere overseas where prices of goods and services and rentals are cheaper.

Who knows where? Even in UK, cottages are being advertised in rural areas for RM50,000.
Economist

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