No price hikes at JB Ramadan bazaars: Traders say they'll maintain prices despite Singaporeans' stronger purchasing power

No price hikes at JB Ramadan bazaars: Traders say they'll maintain prices despite Singaporeans' stronger purchasing power
Crowds seen at Ramadan bazaars in Johor Bahru.
PHOTO: Unsplash

Despite the weakened?Malaysian ringgit against the Singapore dollar,?Ramadan bazaar vendors in Johor Bahru (JB)?will probably not?raise food?prices?to profit from Singaporeans.

Md Salleh Sadijo, chairman of the Johor Consumers Movement Association told The Star in a report on?Wednesday (March 27) that traders are unlikely?to take advantage of Singapore's stronger purchasing power with price hikes.

"Singaporeans rarely go to Ramadan bazaars. Normally, they will visit these bazaars if they happen to be in the vicinity," he added.

In an earlier?report by the Malaysian newspaper on March 14, traders said they are expecting larger crowds from Singapore during the fasting month, but have no intention of dishing out the same offerings?with higher price tags to their neighbours from across the Causeway.

Nur Fairuz Ab Kadir, 44, who sells pasta and chicken chop at a Ramadan bazaar in Bandar Baru Uda,?said:?"I have maintained the same price since last year despite the rising cost of ingredients. I don't want to lose my customers, regardless of where they come from, by increasing my price."

Muhd Akmal Hussin, 37, who sells roast chicken at the same bazaar, stressed the importance of vendors in keeping prices affordable?despite a possible surge in Singaporean shoppers.

"It is very important for traders to remember that they also have Malaysian customers who are affected by the rising cost of living and the weakening of our ringgit."

Explaining?that a price increase at even a?handful of stalls can lead to "the impression that the food in Ramadan bazaars in JB?is expensive", Hussin hopes that "no vendors will go overboard with the prices".

Business from Malaysians still crucial

Md Salleh, who noted that?Singaporeans tend to visit on the weekends,?said vendors still need the support of locals?to keep their businesses afloat.

Mohd Kamil Ahmad, who sells pasta and steak, told The Star: “Last year, I sold a container of spaghetti for RM10 (S$2.85). I set the price after taking into account the cost of ingredients at that time.

"This year, the prices of the ingredients have gone up by about 30 per cent.

"However, if I increase the price, people may not want to buy. So, I had to stick to the old price despite knowing that it would reduce my profit margin."

The 39-year-old?said he was able to lower his operating costs as he no longer runs a restaurant.

Drinks seller Helmi Razali, 21, is?also maintaining his prices.

“People are very sensitive when it comes to prices these days, due to the rising cost of living. But I hope customers understand that it is not easy for traders too, as we are just trying to earn a living," he said.

“If the price is unreasonably high, then it is fair for them to complain.

“However, if it is just a little higher, I hope they know it is because we are also paying more to make the food or drinks."

Md Salleh said that it is good that?businesses, including Ramadan bazaar traders "will now think twice before increasing food prices", adding that they know?people can also easily complain online or to the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry.

ALSO READ:?Seller of $1 vadai at Geylang Serai Ramadan bazaar committed to serving affordable food despite alleged egging incident

ashwini.balan@asiaone.com

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