Can you remember the last time you crossed the border over to Malaysia for a cheap meal and relaxing vacation?
It’s been so long that most of us can’t even remember what Hiap Joo’s banana cake smells and tastes like.
Reader: Uh, there’s banana cake here. Also, you could get it delivered to-
IT’S NOT THE SAME!
While we’ve been lamenting our inability to head to Johor Bahru for a tasty supper, countless businesses have suffered due to the significant loss in revenue.
Soon, many of them will be forced to close down.
Over 20% of Small Businesses in Johor Expected to Wind Up Due to Lack of S’pore Dollars
The lack of Singapore dollars is really taking a toll on the retail and F&B sectors in Johor.
Before lockdown restrictions were imposed in Malaysia last March, around half a million people crossed by land between Singapore and Johor Babru, whether to shop or stuff their faces with delicious food.
The two major spenders in the city at the time were Singaporeans visiting JB and Malaysians who were working in Singapore and brought back the stronger currency with them.
But now, with fewer spenders in the city, both workers and entrepreneurs have been severely impacted, with some going without any income for more than a year.
In fact, more than 20% of small and medium-sized enterprises are expected to wind up their businesses, according to Teh Kee Sin, the president of the South Johor Small-Medium Enterprises Association.
Over 100,000 Malaysian workers in Singapore have also had to forgo their wages during the pandemic.
As a result, some of them are unable to meet their financial commitments, such as paying off their home loan.
The COVID-19 Situation in Malaysia
After hitting a high of 24,599 cases on 26 Aug, the number of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia has seemingly started to fall.
13,104 new cases were recorded yesterday, the country’s lowest figure for around two months.
COVID-19 fatalities spiked earlier this month, with a record 592 deaths reported on 11 Sep.
However, their vaccination rate is increasing, and more and more residents are getting inoculated.
As of 25 Sep, 61% of the population has been fully vaccinated, with around 71% having received at least one dose.
Johor Targets 80% Vaccination Rate By October, Hoping to Reopen Border With Singapore
Less than two months ago, Johor had the second slowest vaccination rate in the country, with one in nine Johoreans fully vaccinated.
But the state has since climbed up four places on the list for vaccinations in the country, with more than half of Johoreans inoculated.
The Johor authorities are hoping that this rapid vaccination rate will continue into October, as they target an 80% rate by then.
The hope is that its border with Singapore can be reopened, but that would require an agreement from the government on both sides.
And as we’ve seen with our traumatic history with travel bubbles, that could take some time.
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Featured Image: Kristin Greenwood / Shutterstock.com
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