I’m not a big shopper. But in one week of normal shopping, buying the odd thing, eating out or having a drink, I notice how much more most things cost. This is, of course, due to the 6% GST, but also due to retailers and establishments hiking their prices in addition. I can understand this to an extent, as a business being a tax collector for the government incurs accounting, handling and software costs which would have to be passed on to the customer. Thus the cost to the customer is presumably in excess of the 6% GST.
However, it seems to me some of the price rises are greater than these extra costs would justify. At Eurodeli the other day the 3 drinks for RM39++up until now has become 2 drinks for RM40++. ++ was 10% service charge and 6% government tax. The new ++ is 10% service charge and 6% GST. One drink increased from RM13 to RM20. The same deal has disappeared from the Tree Top Bar.
But at Daiso, where everything was RM5, each item is now RM5.30 – so 6% more – no price gouging here, just straight addition of GST.
I’ve been admonished that my blogs on GST are one-sided. What about the price drops? Well, if you buy a car, on some models you may save RM100 or a little more. If you buy a Merc. you might save considerably more.
Another friend wrote in a comment that this extra tax was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and expats are leaving for other countries. Namely Indonesia, the Philippines and Europe.
Reading the US “Money” magazine recently, I spotted an article on retiring abroad. They quoted monthly costs for living in some other countries – Malaysia USD$1,500, Ecuador USD$1,500, Malta $2,000, Mexico $2,200 – that’s all I remember. They also recommended renting, as opposed to buying, so I assume this amount includes rent.
Just looking at Malaysia, where $1,500 buys RM5,400, I think this is hardly realistic. And the USD is much higher than it has been for a while. The magazine appears to be aimed at middle class Americans. Renting a condo of a suitable standard would cost at least RM4,000 alone. Even if they lowered their standards they’d have to pay RM2,500 for rent. Then, renting a car long-term. And normal living costs. I think they would have to really cut back to live on this amount. It is certainly not impossible, but they would have to live quite differently from what they are used to.
It’s been a while since I was in Malta or Mexico, so I have less of an idea of living costs there, but I doubt the figures for Malta are realistic, too. So as much as I hate yet another tax, and the suddenly increased cost of living, I am not moving. If you are footloose and renting, without too many possessions, it may be worth the trouble.