We are always saying how things are cheaper across the Causeway and I do it too. I have said it often enough to get rebuked by some of my Malaysian friends.
"You Singaporeans only find it cheap because of the strong S$. Life is actually very difficult for common Malaysians, you know. And you people come here and drive prices up. You think the people in Johor like higher prices?"
I grew up loving McDonald's fast food. It was always a treat. These days, I still go to McDonald's and I like ordering the S$2.50 Fillet o fish.
Since they dropped the price to S$2.00 before increasing it to S$2.50 for the burger alone, I have not had the meals. The meal comes with fries and a drink but costs S$5.00. It is just paying more for extra (and empty) calories which I don't need.
In JB, I remember it cost me about RM9.00 for a Fillet o fish meal. That is less than S$3.00! It is like paying 50c for fries and a drink! It is a no brainer for me. Of course, I would take the meal!
Yes, I know. Suddenly, I am OK with with the extra (and empty) calories. Bad AK! Bad AK!
For the Malaysians, however, paying for a Fillet o fish meal in Malaysia is like Singaporeans paying for a Fillet o fish meal in Singapore. It is not more affordable for them. Actually, it is the opposite.
I found out that an optometrist makes about RM4,000 in Malaysia but an optometrist makes about S$4,000 in Singapore. The former pays RM9.00 (0.225% of his salary) while the latter pays S$5.00 (0.125% of his salary) for the same meal.
Although inflation is affecting food prices everywhere, it is worse in Malaysia than in Singapore.
I have made a mental note to be more sensitive when I talk about the cost of living when I am with my Malaysian friends.
Malaysia cuts food subsidies.
We manage our savings better!
Malaysia and India pay higher interests in similar pension schemes but our Singapore dollar is rated AAA and has appreciated against the currencies of many other countries.