According to a recent article from TheStar, we Malaysians suffer from a ‘mega sale’ culture. There is plenty of evidence to support this, especially in KL. As evidenced by this photo that I took on Christmas eve at MidValley, the shopping malls are thronging with shoppers and practically every car park bay is full. When I got to Zone A, the counter outside was only showing 10 lots left.
This is a very promising sign, particularly in the face of the looming economic crisis and recession. However, my understanding of the label goes a little deeper than that. We are most definitely a nation of bargain hunters. We are willing to put in extra effort to find a good bargain for almost anything and everything. The article also states that the only difference between shoppers today and shoppers yesterday, is that we no longer purchase ‘luxury’ items.
In fact, after visiting IOI Mall in Puchong, I noticed that a new wing had just been erected and that some of the tenants seem to have just moved in or are in the process of moving in. I figure, this means that they are expecting to expand next year with more shops and more shoppers. So, it seems that the Malaysian economy is not that bad after all.
As someone mentioned to me the other day, Malaysians are generally a fairly rich lot. It is our government that is having trouble filling its coffers. About 46% of our national income comes from oil money and the last budget was done with the assumption that the price of oil would stay at US$125 per barrel. Since it is now just under US$40 per barrel, our country is set to lose billions of dollars in revenue in 2009 alone.
That is why, the government is thinking up schemes to funnel some of the peoples’ hard currency into its own coffers. These include things like issuing more government bonds and fixing a floor price for petrol. So, I am personally not too worried about things in the country. The people will make sure the the economy turns, even if the government is unable to do so itself.
However, I will also be on the lookout for bargains, once the full brunt of the recession hits and prices are slashed on a number of ‘luxury’ items.