Fomca: Spend wisely, tougher times are coming

Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman does not want to be a fearmonger, but he hopes people remember the “dark days” of the Movement Control Order (MCO) before spending lavishly.

The deputy president of the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) said the various MCOs had affected many businesses, and many people suffered pay cuts.

“Many had trouble servicing their loans and getting meals. There were good Samaritans who provided meals for those suffering, but not everyone got them,” said Mohd Yusof.

“Banks also announced moratoriums – that deferred the payment of loan instalments. That helped a great deal.

“However, if the country were to suffer a recession, banks are unlikely to offer another moratorium, and many may have problems servicing their loans.

“I understand people enjoy the freedom of going out, but I find it strange that they seem to overspend, or spend money on frivolous items.

“My advice is to save as much as you can, as we do not know how the economy will be in the coming months.”

He cautioned that prices of goods are likely to go up, and cited poultry as an example.

The government has set RM8.90 as the ceiling price of chicken until June 5, but breeders have complained that the cost of imported chickenfeed had gone up since Russia’s war with Ukraine began in February.

That could see chicken prices going up to more than RM10 per kilogramme next week.

“That is just one example. Another would be groceries. These days, if you spend RM250-RM400, your shopping cart will not be as full as it was four, five, or six months ago,” he said.

“What is important is to spend wisely, compare prices, and make shrewder choices.

“For example, why buy fragrant rice when you can buy the non-fragrant one. Or, you could mix them.

“Similarly, why buy an RM17 cup of coffee when one in the kopitiam costs less than RM3?

“I am not saying we should deprive ourselves. We should treat ourselves once in a while. Just do it wisely.”

He said that instead of buying a fancy car, or motorcycle, or a huge house, people should purchase something within their means.

“As we saw during MCO, many had to sell their personal belongings to make ends meet, as they did not expect pay cuts, or to be made redundant.

“Among the hardest hit were those in the airline industry,” he said. “Flights were grounded. The staff lost a significant portion of their allowances, which made up a big chunk of their monthly income.

“Make sure you allocate enough money for savings. Bear in mind that interest rates may go up soon.

“If it does, it will be more expensive to pay back your loans or credit card bills.

“There will be a snowball effect on the prices of goods. Everything will be more expensive. If you don’t allocate enough for savings, you may find it harder to make ends meet.”

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