Mydin Says Malaysians Are Poorer Despite Strong Economic Growth
"I think people just don't have money."
Malaysia is experiencing strong gross domestic product growth but people just don't have enough money to spend on groceries, said Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin, managing director of Mydin
Hypermarkets and supermarkets, which control 50 percent of the grocery market are experiencing negative growth
He added, "That makes you wonder, how can a country grow but hypermarkets growth, which is the real basic consumption in the country, is negative."
In the first quarter of 2017, Malaysia's GDP grew by 5.6% but retail sales dropped by 1.2% while hypermarket sales went down by 4.8%.
He said, "I am not saying there's no growth, of course, the numbers are there. But in a normal country, growth will reflect on domestic consumption (basic goods)."
In the third quarter, the retail sector shrunk by 1.1% while hypermarket growth declined by 5%. Even though the fourth quarter numbers are not out yet, Ameer is confident that the trend will continue.
According to data from Mydin stores, the prices of 150 goods have increased by more than 14% on average in the last five years
Ameer also shared some example of food prices which have shot up tremendously. Cabbage from Cameron Highlands has gone up by 29%, ikan kembung hitam (black mackerel) 19%, MAGGI Chilli Sauce 38.8%, Ayam Brand Sardines 30.6%.
He added, "And you can say six percent may be because of the goods and services tax."
"The only silver lining is the ringgit has strengthened to the US dollar."
If the trend continues, Ameer thinks prices of goods might eventually decrease.
JASA's Tun Faisal dismissed Ameer's claims that Malaysians don't have enough money for groceries
According to Malaysiakini, Tun Faisal said that spendings in hypermarkets is not an accurate indicator to conclude that Malaysians have no money.
Tun Faisal highlighted growth in other industries such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, services, utilities and F&B, claiming GDP growth was not determined by hypermarkets alone.
He stressed that Ameer should not be questioning consumers' ability to spend, but rather look into the bad business decisions which led Mydin to suffer losses.
Recently, PM Najib also remarked that Malaysia is not going bankrupt as a lot of Malaysians are still travelling abroad