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Cost of living is not just limited to buying groceries

Mohd Hazmi Mohd Rusli

Published
Modified 20 Apr 2017, 7:36 am

COMMENT | An article published on April 17, 2017 by the Malay Mail Online entitled ‘Compare: What you can buy with RM50.00 and S$50.00 at a supermarket’ was really an eye-catcher. The purpose of the article was solely to compare on what one can buy with RM50 and S$50.00 in both cities of Johor Baru and Singapore. The conclusion is simple - not much could be bought with RM50.00.

While there are truths in the article particularly on the value of the Malaysian ringgit againts the Singapore dollar, the article should not employ the word ‘compare’ as the keyword of its main title.

The comparison is immature, unfledged and untimely. Comparison of cost of living is not just limited to buying groceries - it goes far beyond that.

First things first, Singapore is the most expensive city in the world. This is acknowledged in a CNBC article entitled ‘These are the 10 most expensive cities in the world’ published on April 11, 2017.

In contrast, the capital city of Malaysia, whom many regard as the most expensive place in Malaysia is actually the cheapest city in South-East Asia to live in according to 2017 World Wide Cost of Living Survey. Obviously, Johor Baru too, is not on ‘the world’s most expensive cities’ list.

Is it fair to compare the value of the currencies of the most expensive city/country in world with that of the cheapest (in South-East Asia)? Even if one could buy a lot with S$50.00 for groceries, please be reminded that Singapore is the fifth most expensive city in the world to rent a house, as reported by The Business Insider published on Feb 17, 2017.

The article reported that the monthly rent in Singapore is about RM6, 300.00 and RM12, 000 for a single person and a family respectively. Again, obviously, the rental price for a non-luxurious accommodation in Malaysia is far from the amount one has to pay in the Lion City.

In terms of healthcare, Free Malaysia Today reported in February 2017 that Malaysia is listed in the top four for best healthcare in the world - something that many Malaysians do not even realise.

In addition, The Straits Times has issued a report on March 21, 2017 that Singapore is the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car. It is a fact that not all Singaporeans could afford to own cars as the Singapore government had made them very expensive. Those who could not afford to own vehicles had no other choice to take the MRT (which is without doubt very efficient)...

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