S'poreans lapping it up in JB with weaker ringgit

JOHOR BARU - Singaporeans are benefiting the most from the weaker ringgit as they can shop and dine in the city without feeling as much strain on their wallets as they would in the republic.

Shopping complexes and hypermarkets here are enjoying brisk sales, especially on weekends and long public holidays when many Singaporeans patronise the outlets.

Among the popular ones are JB City Square, Angsana Mall, KSL City, Perling Mall, Plaza Pelangi and AEON Bukit Indah.

"We come to JB on weekends and public holidays as we own a house here," said one Singaporean, who only wanted to be known as Madam Goh.

She said they bought the double-storey corner house in Taman Perling about 20 years ago for RM250,000 (S$95,000).

"Now it has gone up to RM600,000," she said, adding that they had bought the house before the Malaysian Government ruled that foreigners were only allowed to purchase landed residential properties priced above RM1mil each.

She said they had no plans to sell the house as she and her husband would likely move here to spend their twilight years.

Office worker Mohd Shafiee Rahmat, 29, said he would come here every month to send his car for service which costs him RM300 and spend another RM300 for groceries and dining.

"It costs me S$250 for similar service back home and S$150 for sundry goods."

Mohd Shafiee also said he would change the Singapore currency into ringgit in the republic as they get better rates there.

"In Singapore, for every S$100, you get RM260; but in JB, you will only get RM252," he said.

Marketing executive G. Sundram­o­othy, 35, said the lower living cost here was a big draw for Singaporeans like him who either own or rent houses here.

Currently renting a house in Bukit Indah with his wife, a Malaysian, Sundramoothy commutes daily to Singapore and plans to buy an apartment here.

"Earning in Singapore dollar and living in Johor Baru is a bonus for us as things here are cheaper," said Sundramoothy.

Housewife Amidah Yasin, 59, said she came here every weekend with her husband to buy cooking oil, toiletries, rice, vegetables and fruits, and to enjoy local fare.

She said on average they would spend about RM300 on petrol and shop here, adding that Pasar Tani Larkin was their favourite place for fresh produce.

Hotel supervisor Liyana Hassan, 31, said for RM700 spent in Johor Baru, she would be able to pay for grocery items, clothes, dining, petrol and a car wash.

"We only pay RM10 for a car wash including vacuuming, compared to S$8 and another S$5 for vacuuming back home," she said.