PETALING JAYA: From cutting back on extras to taking temporary jobs, many Malaysians travelling to or are already overseas are finding ways to soften the impact of the weakening ringgit.
In Australia, final-year nursing student Cindy Chow, 24, said she worked as a part-time caregiver to the elderly to cope with her living costs.
“(The weakening ringgit) is a burden to my parents due to the conversion rate,” the University of South Australia student said.
As she is the only child, she said her parents were able to manage but they had to be “extra thrifty”.
“This year, however, I had to ask my parents for extra help due to unpaid hospital placements,” she said.
In Perth, second-year accounting student Ashman Ezani Amirudin, 19, said the exchange rate was a worry as his younger siblings wanted to study overseas too.
“It would increase the burden for my parents,” said the Curtin University student, adding that he worked part-time as an administrative assistant at the Chartered Institute of Accountants.
“I’ve cut my extra expenses to focus on rental and food,” he added.
As at 3pm yesterday, the ringgit marked at 3.336 per US dollar.
It was at 3.2613 two weeks ago – a three-year low.
The weakening ringgit was a result of the ongoing capital outflow from emerging economies back to developed nations.
Travel operators said that a weaker ringgit would cut the spending power of Malaysian tourists overseas.
“Malaysians may even look towards local destinations instead of regional ones as a result,” said World Discovery Travel business development manager Joseph Xavier.
He, however, said the travel season had yet to start and those flying now had booked their tickets weeks or months before.
MATTA president Hamzah Rahmat said foreign tourists arriving here were more likely to gain from the slowdown.
He added that the last time the industry was caught off guard was during the 1997 financial crisis.
Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz was recently reported to have said the Federal Bank would not intervene to stabilise the ringgit unless the financial market proved disorderly, adding that the rate would be set by the market.
She reiterated that Malaysia had the capacity to weather through the current volatile financial market environment, pointing out that the country had spent many years building up its resilience for such a time as this.
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