Looks like Malaysians are tightening their belts because of the rising cost of food prices.An indication of this is the small number of people going to the three Ramadan bazaars here and in Senawang.A spot check at the three bazaars showed that not only less people were frequenting these places but some of the tents were also empty. Because of bad business some traders have packed up and left.This is a far cry from last year when the bazaars were congested from 4pm onwards and the traders were doing a roaring business.
The two most popular spots in Seremban are in Ampangan and Paroi Stadium. Every year the traders will scramble for the lots and there were stories in the media from disgruntled traders who were not lucky enough to get a lot.
This year the situation is completely different. A visit to Ampangan, Paroi Stadium and Matahari Heights saw very few people and apparently some traders’ closed shop after the first week.
In Paroi Stadium at least two rows of tents were empty.
The situation at the Matahari Heights was even worse. This spot caters for workers from the industrial estates around Senwang . There was no congestion at all.
Basariah Samah who sells various types of food at the Paroi Stadium told FMT that her income dropped 50 percent this year compared to last year.
“I get to earn RM500 plus per day all this while I’m trading here but this year I will be lucky if I can get RM250 per day.
“The price of goods have increased tremendously and this has resulted in people being thriftier and buying less food,’’ said Basariah.
Azhar Abdul Rahman who sells Honey Chicken Wings at Matahari Heights said he is only making RM200 per day this year compared to RM400 last year.
Azhar said that a trader who sells some cookies in the next stall closed shop as business was bad.
Zarina Iskamar who sells kuih at Matahari Heights said: “Previously we sold three pieces of kuih for RM1. Now we are selling three pieces for RM1.20 and five pieces for RM2.00.”
A customer Norita Sis said she used to visit the bazaar Ramadan seven days per week in previous years but this year she only makes three visits per week. Norita said this was because the food prices at the bazaar have gone up.
Another customer Sham Abdullah said he used to spend RM20 per visit but this year the limit was RM15.