Greater Raya joy for Malaysians earning Singapore dollars

JOHOR BARU - Malaysians working in Singap­ore and celebrating Hari Raya this year are spending more after cashing in on the exchange rate which is RM2.55 to S$1 now.

Engineer Norazrul Abd Malik, 31, said he would usually only buy essentials for the festive period, but this year will be different.

"While a lot of my friends are splurging on expensive clothes, I am using the extra money to repaint my house and get new curtains," he said.

Norazrul, who stays in Larkin here, said the Singapore dollar is at its strongest against the ringgit in many years.

"Last year the exchange rate also spiked near the Hari Raya period," he added.

However, despite having the additional cash, he believes that budgeting is still important because there are so many expenses to look into.

"It is always wise to spend moderately," he said, adding that he also has to look into the needs of his two young children, aged two and five months.

Information and communications technology infrastructure operations specialist Fairoz Gulam Hussein, 30, said it is nice to have extra cash in hand after buying all the Hari Raya essentials.

"Buying baju raya for the whole family, as well as getting the kuih muih, cookies and decorative items are costly.

"But thanks to the higher exchange rate, I have a little extra in hand and plan to save some of it while spending the rest when I am back home in my kampung in Penang," he said.

Quantity surveyor Norhana Mohd Alim, 30, is also happy to have more money to splurge for Hari Raya this year.

"I have been working in Singapore for only a month now and count myself lucky," she said.

"The good exchange rate is welcome because money was tight at home last year, especially during the festive season."

She said the rising cost of living in Johor had pushed her to get a job in Singapore.

Norhana, who is still single, used some of the extra money to get a new sofa set and dining table for her house in Taman Perling here.