PETALING JAYA: The recent strengthening of the ringgit against the US dollar, coupled with news of the impending rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine, has given moneychangers renewed hope.
Malaysian Association of Money Services Business president Datuk Seri Jajakhan Kader Gani said in the past week, the ringgit has been hovering at around the RM4 mark against the dollar.
While this has generated some interest among customers, it would be a while yet before business returns to normal.
“We have seen about a 10% to 20% increase in business because of this, but things have yet to pick up for moneychangers, ” he said.
“However, we are staying positive that things would take a turn for the better down the line.”
With international borders still closed, he said most of the customers buying the US dollar at its current rate comprised expatriates working in Malaysia or those
in the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.
He said with news that Covid-19 vaccines will be available in the first quarter of this year, moneychangers are hoping to see an uptick in business starting from June onwards.
But Jajakhan is still cautious as the anticipated increase in business may only happen if everything goes according to plan.
“If all goes to plan, the money services business could return to normal by next year, ” he added.
The association’s chief executive officer Chitra Sundram said while players in the money services business are struggling because of the pandemic, they are putting up a strong front.
“This is a close-knit business community and we also depend on government incentives such as the wage subsidy to keep us going, ” she said.
However, Chitra said the industry has been left out of the list of eligible recipients of the Social Welfare Organisation’s wage subsidy programme (WSP 3.0) under Budget 2021.
Industry players are working to reach out to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to be included in the programme.
WSP 3.0 is meant to help employers in the retail and tourism industries whose businesses were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I believe there could have been an oversight in this, and as a recognised sub-sector to the tourism industry, we do hope to tap into this benefit as we have also been badly affected by the pandemic.”
Chitra also hopes that shopping mall owners would consider lowering the rent for moneychangers who have outlets in the malls.
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