Ringgit fall has parents of students abroad concerned

PETALING JAYA - The weakening ringgit, which is at its three-year-low against the US dollar, is causing sleepless nights to those having to finance their children's studies overseas.

The ringgit lost as much as 0.4 per cent to 3.272 per US dollar, its weakest since June 2010, and could soften to 3.3 against the greenback over the next six months, according to analysts.

The ringgit has also slid against the British pound, the euro and most major currencies.

J. Edmund Dass, 50, said he was worried over the ringgit's depreciation as his daughter would be going to Wales for her third-year law studies.

"I am in limbo now. If I convert my ringgit into British pounds, I will need to convert it back to ringgit in order to send her the money if I go through banks," said the entertainer.

Xiang Hong Ong, 25, who is doing his Masters in Law in Westminster University, said if the ringgit continued to weaken, he might take up a job to support himself.

"Since I am a self-sponsored student, it will mean having to cut my personal expenses," he said.

Cheah Sin Eu, 26, who is in the middle of completing his Masters in Sports and Exercise Psychology in Northumbria University, Newcastle, said he was feeling the pinch paying rental and buying daily necessities.

"If the ringgit continues to depreciate, I might have to work more hours," he said, adding that he was working as a part-time waiter to pay for his daily expenses.

It is not all bad news though as inbound tour operators and exporters are laughing their way to the bank.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) vice-president (inbound) Tan Kok Liang said it would now be cheaper for foreigners to come to Malaysia with their increased spending power.

"We expect an increase in tourist arrivals,'' he added.

Federation of Malaysian Manu­facturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon said Malaysian goods would be more competitively priced abroad.

"Exporters will benefit as they will earn a higher revenue for the same amount of goods sold previously."

Malaysian Muslim Money Chan-gers Association president Dr Haji Mohamed Suibu said tourists would benefit the most under the current situation.

"They will be able to get more ringgit for their currencies here and this will increase their purchasing power."