April 1, 2022
GEORGETOWN – Money changers are in a good mood, even before international borders reopen today.
Their cash registers are ringing non-stop as Malaysians flock to buy long-held stocks of foreign currency to prepare for future travels while others want to buy foreign currency as a form of hedging.
“Our customers are well-versed and keep track of the rise and fall of certain foreign currencies. Since they are able to travel soon, they buy now,” said Seeni Abdul Kadir, a third generation owner of a chain of money changer outlets in Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
The Australian dollar, he said, went from RM3.02 to RM3.14 recently, driving buyers to ask for it, while currencies from Europe are also drawing much attention.
“Yes, we are in a good mood now. We expect things to get even better when the borders are open again.”
He predicted that medical tourism, particularly from Indonesians who have waited so long to seek treatment in Malaysia, will be the prime mover of the retail scene of Malaysia’s foreign exchange trade.
Money changer Mohamed Ridzwan Kithur Mohamed, 35, said certain foreign currencies are selling fast amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, with many people scrambling to buy euro, yen and Turkish lira as investments.
“Many people are now selling the US dollar, Singapore dollar, as well as Australian dollar due to the good exchange rate,” said Ridzwan.
Another money changer, Mohd Ismail Mohd Mydin, 63, said many people had come for the Saudi riyal for the past one month as they wanted to perform the umrah.
Malaysian Association of Money Services Business president Datuk Seri Jajakhan Kader Gani said the reopening of international borders has a catalytic impact to the recovery of the money changing sector.
“After two years of stagnation, we hope that the reopening of borders will improve our business.
“We have 286 members and more than 2,000 touchpoints in Malaysia,” he said.
Muslim Jewellers and Money Changers Association of Penang president Datuk Dr Anvar Hussain Rahumathullah said the association has 50 members in Penang and all are still operating today.