Weak ringgit a major draw


Happy visitors: Belgian tourists Mathilde Mercier (left), 29, and Adrien Lambert, 30, taking a selfie in front of a billboard in Kuala Lumpur. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/ The Star

PETALING JAYA: Locals working abroad and foreigners are taking advantage of the weak ringgit to visit their loved ones and splurge on shopping and food in Malaysia.

South Korean Ilseok Yoo, 30, said he decided to visit Malaysia after listening to good reviews and hearing about good deals.

“I heard there is lots of great food around Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

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“I might have visited other countries if not for the weak ringgit. Imagine, you can have your favourite chilli crab now with about a 20% discount,” the firefighter said.

Yoo, who will be spending the New Year in Kuala Lumpur before making his way to Penang, said he is also planning to go on a shopping spree.

“I would definitely go shopping – watches, bags and clothing are much cheaper here than in South Korea,” he said.

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After over three years of being separated from his family due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kendrick James, 33, will soon be heading back to his hometown, Ipoh.

The automotive engineer, who is currently living in Auckland, New Zealand, is also planning to visit his girlfriend in Kuala Lumpur before heading to Penang for a holiday.

“The weak ringgit will help me save a lot when it comes to spending on my engagement.

“I will also not feel guilty about spending on my family or anyone else because the New Zealand dollar is much stronger than the ringgit currently,” he said.

Besides shopping for his engagement and gifts for family and friends, James is also looking forward to rewarding himself.

“I might throw in a thing or two for myself, food mostly, before I head back to New Zealand,” he said.

Mechanical engineer Fei Shyuan Lim, 26, is also planning to visit his family and friends here after about three years of not being able to come back.

“I am more willing to buy my flight ticket now since I know I will be saving money in Malaysia,” said Fei, who is currently living in San Jose, California.

Admitting that he isn’t much of a shopper, Fei said he would be spending more on good food and making new memories.

Fei is planning to visit Malaysia in mid-January and is also thinking of bringing his family home for a holiday.

“I am thinking of going to Genting Highlands and taking my family on a vacation, but I haven’t decided on the location yet.

“This is the least I can do for my family, who helped me to get to where I am now,” he said.

Meanwhile, Johorean Amanda Burnside, 38, is hoping the weak ringgit will help her to keep her family budget intact.

“It’s almost winter in London, and I usually like spending my holidays with the family back in Malaysia.

“Every time we come back to Malaysia, we tend to buy a lot of gifts for my husband’s side.

“Our expenses will not be overly above our budget, I think,” said the writer, who will be visiting in November.

Burnside and her family are planning to visit the Borneo states since her husband has never been to that part of Malaysia.

“As for shopping, that’s a given. I look forward to shopping for the family and friends I have back in London as well as in Malaysia,” she said.

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