JOHOR BAHRU – The reopening of the Malaysia-Singapore borders on April 1 has boosted business in Johor, with thousands of Singaporeans crossing the Causeway for shopping, said Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi (picture).
He said traders here are heaving a sigh of relief on higher sales, after their business was badly hit by two years of cross-border travel ban due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God) the impact has been very positive. The congestion you see in Johor Bahru is actually a positive sign for economic growth.
“Today they (traders) are reaping the benefits and it coincides with the Aidilfitri celebration. Many Singaporeans are coming here for shopping; this is a positive development,” he said after launching the 2022 ‘’Semarak Syawal’’ sales programme of the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) here today.
Asked on the ringgit’s depreciation against the Singapore currency in the past few weeks, Onn Hafiz said it would make Johor an even more attractive destination for shopping by Singaporeans.
“Naturally, because it is cheaper for them. I think it’s more attractive for them to spend here,” he said.
He said their higher purchasing power would definitely benefit traders in Johor.
“However, I hope the ringgit’s drop in value is only temporary, and we want the ringgit to regain its strength to stabilise the prices of goods,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Agriculture and Food Industries Minister I Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah said the Semarak Syawal programme is expected to generate sales of up to RM28 million, surpassing the earlier target of RM25 million.
He said the programme had been receiving encouraging response especially in Johor since it was launched at 797 FAMA outlets nationwide on April 24.
“As at yesterday, we have hit sales of RM10 million. The figure can go to as high as RM28 million by the end of Ramadan.
“In Johor, the reopening of international borders has had a significant impact, as evident at the Jalan Datin Halimah farmers’ market here where some 40 per cent of its 8,500 visitors are Singaporeans,” he told reporters at the launch.
FAMA director-general Datuk Zainal Abidin Yang Razalli gave an assurance that there would be adequate supplies of essential goods at all the 797 FAMA outlets.
A total of 15,391 entrepreneurs are expected to benefit from the Semarak Syawal programme.
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