Vicious cycle: High property prices squeeze consumer spending


The other day, The Edge business weekly (10-16 April 2017) carried a frontpage report stating that E & O was in talks to sell Straits Quay Mall, which it described as a “seven-year-old loss-making freehold property”. (How it got freehold status for the reclaimed land of Seri Tanjung Pinang should be the subject of another discussion.)

The report said E & O did not confirm or deny the talks. The mall, a key component of the Seri Tanjung Pinang land reclamation project, has 270,000 sq feet of lettable space and has a net book value of RM233m.

This reminded me of a report I read in the Edge (8-14 August 2016) which suggested it was “crunch time for malls” in Malaysia. At that time, Perda City Mall in Bukit Mertajam had just shut down and a couple of other malls in KL had also closed down for “redevelopment”. The Edge also listed out a dozen malls which had been put up for sale or had been sold in previous months.

I can think of a few factors that would affect business at malls:

Full article on Aliran website

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Tian Bao

Good aerial video of rich men enclave of Penang:

This will entice more PRC Richie Rich to Penang!


So, what is so bad about renting a house instead of owning one? In the US, for example, households that rent jumped from 36.1 per cent in 2006 to over 42 per cent in 2014 while home ownership continues to decline, according to a report by Trulia, a real estate website that monitors the housing and rental market. What is most notable is that the report found that the preference for rent increased especially among middle-class and more affluent Americans: “Among the lowest income households, those making US$31,000 (RM136,725) or less, the share of renters grew by 3.7 percentage… Read more »


Rich people buys homes to rent to poor people and use the rental yield collected to buy more homes. It is a vicious cycle, poor people indirectly fund the rich people’s hobby of buying and collecting properties as investment tools. This is how the wealth gap will continue to widen.

Tian Bao

When you rent you only enrich the rich further.


Unchecked immigration is a major factor in stagnant wages.
Removing subsidies is bad when you maintain it for cronies and even rescue them.
Price rises are related to protected syndicates. This includes allowing cronies to get away with not building low-cost flats. House price of RM 300-500K is now called affordable.
Useless, giant projects and national debt shooting up are major factors in exchange rate deterioration.


Quote: This includes allowing cronies to get away with not building low-cost flats. House price of RM 300-500K is now called affordable. This is my suspicion of what is happening in Penang. The back-scratching of political-corporate tango for 2-way benefits to make the PTMP a reality. And also to super-inflate the annual state economic development figure via housing + property development. But this develop-for-whom question is a ‘choi-nie-gong’ reproach from Komtar. Now, they can conveniently sacrifice the tax collection for less from ‘penalty fees on developers’ for not building low-cost housing to help these greedy developers-in-distress! But wait a minute… Read more »


Malaysia’s living costs cheapest in Asean, says PM Najib



Be careful to check which segment of population the survey is on.

The survey by The Economists are on expatriates. Naturally expatriates living on companies’ expenses will find Malaysia cheap to live in. The survey is not focus on the general public.

Najib conveniently use the survey results to his advantage knowing that Malaysians are ignorant about survey mechanism.

Joseph Rowes

Cheaper in Thailand, Mynmar, Vietnam and Laos (all ASEAN) for sure.
Malaysia not really cheap when income level is not high.
Remember Ringgit is very low.


Malaysia’s low cost of living, relative to other Asean countries, is due to the weakening ringgit and stable inflation levels, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said.

According to EIU analyst Jon Copestake, the ringgit has weakened significantly against the US dollar over the past five years.

“Other currencies in the region may have remained stable or strengthened,” said Copestake, EIU’s chief retail and consumer goods analyst, and lead analyst for data and research.

– So the survey is suggesting that cost of living in Malaysia is the lowest since expatriates paid in USD get favourable exchange in the weakened Ringgit.


MTUC Sarawak says the cost of living in the state is 15% to 25% higher than in the peninsula, but the minimum wage for its people is lower.

“Since the prime minister has claimed that the cost of living in Malaysia is the lowest in Asean as measured in USD, MTUC demands that wages in Malaysia must be paid in USD as well,” its secretary Andrew Lo said.

Prime Minister Najib Razak had on April 21 cited a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit that compared prices of goods and services in 133 cities worldwide.


Latest news, Penang’s JJPTR has (allegedly) just closed down and their founder Johnson Lee has (allegedly) also vanished into the thin air ! The same old trick of Bitcoin Exchange center Mt. Gox is again being utilized – Hackers hack out all their moneys !
Ironically, Johnson Lee has just “donated a cool million ringgits” to his old school Penang Heng Ee high school last year !


3.30pm Sunday alert, many investors have gone to JJPTR office to see if they can claim back $ invested.

Many must be very worried now.

Anil must be preparing an article on money get rich schemes now at feverish mood among small and big time greedy investors.

BK Heng

Game over for JJPTR – it’s investors are now very nervous as the office is now locked up and Johnson Lee on FB has claimed that he is now facing ‘challenges’.


OSonic & Anil better verify the news otherwise many Penangites on JJPTR membership can get heart attack hearing disappearing act of Johnson Lee with the disappearance of invested $.

Background on JJPTR – a scam or genuine investers heaven?


Think about this: If every income earner has to bear a hefty home loan for a sky-hai property price, which is too-good for the property industry, what is there left for spending? It’s a no brainer to foretell the spiral-effect on other industries of consumer products & services. Yeah, just go to SingLand to work, earn & save just to own a sky-hai priced home in Penang at the end of one’s life. Penang industries truly depend on them to survive at the very end of their business life cycle!!! As for others, you are financial slaves for life. 308… Read more »


Perhaps SP Setia could SEAL your broken 308 heart to realise your home purchase with Setia Express Advance Loan (SEAL).

SEAL is a differential sum loan scheme that offers interest rates as low as 5.5% per annum and up to 30% of the intended property purchase price.

The scheme enables eligible purchasers of completed SP Setia properties to bridge the financing gap between the purchase price and the purchaser’s end financing loan amount. This provides them with a convenient and hassle-free solution while buyers can confidently secure their desired dream home.


Easy to complain. What suggestions? No suggestions? built tree top houses like experiece in belum valley but do it in Penang? What taxes you pay to state?


Developers tell homebuyers to be more realistic


They are the ones who should be realistic – nobody wants to buy expensive homes!
Pay unbearable home loans & chiah-sua?

Until the day they sell homes like pasar-malam’s, they can wait till the moon turns blue!

Pls hold your breath!


Again show your grudge at the state authorities and continue to pursue them? If shopping malls can close shop, why not food court? Why blame the state?…


Q: Need Rosy Chan-Chan to help revive New World Park’s retail & hawker centre? Once it was crowded with diners esp during lunch-time & weekends, but now? Once relocated hawkers had to press fish-balls to dish out hard-earned incomes for high-rentals, but now where are they? Once it was a business rendezvous of yuppies with laptops & smart phones socialising @ Starry-Eyed Bucks. Fewer customers but due to what? Why the need to redevelop this rendezvous into a mixed-development (alleged)??? But one undeniable consequence is the 1st death (via relocation) of some heavenly street hawker cuisine @ the roadside of… Read more »


No street food museum? There is one at Beach St. with a chendol replica to pull in Selfie fans.
But I won’t pay to see replicas.

As for New World Park, Sugar King to unleash new plan to revive thamchiakkuis interest?


Hawkers in Penang must have conscience at heart. Don’t treat locals as if they earn foreign currencies. Also they should not adhere to “Penang Dream” (aka owning lifestyle condo) to simply charge with small portions less ingredients to make fast money. I don’t eat roti canai at mamak stall. Too small a piece and not filling. I better buy the ready-to-cook frozen roti canai, can be as cheap as RM0.60 a piece more fulfilling. Today i am not happy to note the Bayan Baru market selling a vegetarian vadai (no onion) for RM1 a small piece. Fried Ubi Keladi RM1.40… Read more »


“Once it was crowded with diners esp during lunch-time & weekends, but now?”

Starbucks could afford high rental, but must have realised that the place has lost its strategic position (shift of office crowd or feng shui?), leading to the exodus of customers?

I was there many years ago and have predicted such consequence because the food is not that great yet overpriced with small portion.


Musuem has to have sections for Muslim and non Muslim sections just like food….

SL Tay

Yesterday China Press reported that Economy 168 Cafe at Lebuh China offers value-for-money meals:
RM1 Nasi Lemak
RM1.50 Spaghetti
RM4.50 Economy Rice with 1 meat 1 vege (free rice upsize) & free drinks餐廳東主要你吃飽-一包椰漿飯rm1-兩菜一飯包飲料rm4-50/

A good alternative to the pricey New World Park.


Penang International Food Festival is a gimmick that aims to position Penang street food to have higher ‘international’ price?


High property price is not a sole factor in reducing our purchasing power.

Do not forget other factors:
1) depreciating Ringgit (high import costs)
2) stagnant wage growth (due to poor productivity)
3) expenditure on ‘wants’: foot reflexology, car accessories…
4) removal of subsidies: fuel, cooking oil, sugar, flour
5) 6% GST
6) frequent upgrading of trendy gadgets: smartphones

1-5 above are caused by poor government policies.


If you go overseas, northbound to Thai, southbound to Spore, then you will realise ringgit has lost its value thanks to BN!
Go further more you will feel worse eg to Korea Japan Australia.


Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Mansor has been told to step down after his “nonsensical” theory that the opposition parties are behind price increases at restaurants.

Tengku Adnan claimed the opposition was to be blamed for driving prices up through collusion of its members in food traders’ associations.


financial squeezes has driven many to go for get rich fast schemes. my favourite food sellers, many of them at times not open stalls, as they instead opt to get fast bucks recruiting members to join the so-called rewarding money schees like JJ Poor To Rich, MBI, Barrel To U etc. one of them even treat me FOC to fine dining with vouchers (not exchangeable for cash so he needed to use it up). this is a social menace probably Anil too engrossed in penang forum agenda that he has failed to call it justice until many get burnt like… Read more »


Here are the list of many ponzi schemes actively pursuit in Penang alone ! Reported by the Chinese media as follow: –

JJPTR- 20% monthly
O2 ONLY ONE- 15% monthly
GD INCOME BUILDER- 20% monthly
WMS CAPITAL- 20% monthly
GMFX- 25% monthly
CYL- 7.5% weekly or 30% monthly
RGV- 10% every10 days or 30% monthly
IGOFX 10%-30% monthly with reinvestment stages

It seems more and more new one are coming on stream day by day ! With some backings of local politicians ?


Get rich projects to get cash fundings for GE14 now that many access being frozen? Why PDRM no action? Something cooking can smell it?


Pyramid scheme: many fail to realise that they could be way too far below the apex tip of the pyramid and would eventually lose their all their initial capital outlay.

Such MLM schemes prey on greedy ‘investors’.


In the 70s – 90s, there was this ‘tontin’ (hoi-ya) which was also illegal. But the payout interest was not as dizzy high as some scams. But those who subscribed to tontin (usually 6 months to 1 – 2 yrs) are a patient lot who treated it as a form of side saving or emergency ready cash like but better than pawn shops. And they never dreamt of ‘wonderful lifestyle condos’ but a ‘eng-eng koe-jit’ lifestyle as tenants (not home owners) in George Town. Simple lifestyle never arouse the materialistic ego of bin-chui (of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses or… Read more »


The analysis is simplistic and disconnected in many places. Properties are investments largely and there is no proof that rising prices substitute consumption. Historically, it’s the reverse i.e. higher asset prices lead to higher consumption. Higher inflation leads to lower consumption but just because rental goes up in certain location, it’s not necessarily inflation. It could simply be structural change, that location no longer economic for that particular business model. Retail problem we see is due to e- commerce and structural economic change. That ais kacang fellow problem is business model is too labour intensive and out moded, not the… Read more »


For those tight on budget to spend on food due to barang naik pressure, can spend time at High Tea event with Ambiga at Heritage Little India ( market street) tomorrow Saturday 4pm.
Info sharing to awaken the community with or without kopi o!


Malay paper Kosmos recently on cover story mentioned good grades fruits and vegetables from Cameron Highlands daily go to Singapore (enroute to Japan some air shipments).
Those day 1kg of bananas ~RM3 nowadays RM6 is common.


For those who want to keep up with the Jones (may be in Msia context keep up with JhoLow?), many already invested big sum mortgage loan to live in lifestyle condo as defined by those developers. Deducting the loans from monthly income, then nothing significantly left to indulge in more lifestyle events/food/drinks/clothing/gadgets ?
More important, don’t forget to put aside some $ for elderly parents, ok?

Datuk Seri YB Loh

Another major factor is online shopping. This has really affected traditional retailers, in fact a lot of retailers are going to e-commerce themselves.
With regards to the ice kacang, it is not a basic necessity but more of a snack. When times are hard, people focus on necessary things and drop the extras. For example, hair cut is necessary while colouring is not, eating a balanced meal with rice, meat and vege is necessary while ice cream or ice kacang can be dropped….,


Likewise, honourary titles bestowed upon a person may not be necessity but rather burdens to uphold one morality to lead by example to the ordinary folks?
Beware self syiok fake title to boost own bin chui !


“Ice kacang, it is not a basic necessity but more of a snack” could possibly explain why consumers shun Penang chendol to buy extra portion of main meal since the hawker food in Penang has seen reduction in food portion, as purchasing power is reduced with depreciating ringgit?

Price of new homes may not go down as Regime BN has imposed higher tax on steel? Concrete not reinforced with the right amount of steel could be a safety hazard if developers cut corners?

Wonder Woman

I stop eating Penang Chendol because it is full of sugar. These Penang hawkers are so evil, poisoning Penang lang with sugar. Some more got Bangla waiers.
Hockien mee pulak are full of msg. Make me drink lots of Coke and get Pepsi.
Hawkers are so evil because they pakat with private hospital doctor to make us sick.


Last time many Malaysians ridiculed Singaporeans living in pigeon home HDB flats. Today they will envy at the success of modern day HDB apartments that are even better that most of the commercial condominiums in Malaysia, with better estate management. Go Singapore and see for yourself, its citizens get subsidised housing and will appreciate in price for them to upgrade to private homes after 5 years of living. This reflects the failure of BN since 1965 – more than 50 years of flawed blueprint. So you want to be deceived another 50 years by TN50?


It was announced yesterday that Toa Payoh, one of the oldest HDB estates in Singapore, will get new major upgrading, after the last one in 1995, under the Remaking Our Heartland scheme.

Estate upgrading plans are afoot in 14 neighbourhood centres across Woodlands, Toa Payoh and Pasir Ris, potentially featuring new works such as playgrounds and shelters that have been built under an HDB scheme in towns such as Bukit Batok.

See the full report and pictures here:

Wonder Woman

I will vote DAP until vagrants live in Straits Quay. I want to see banjir in the tunnel. I want to eat Mangosteens. I will vote for Pakatan because Mahathir and Anwar will kiss and make up. If Komtar opens its doors to Banglas, it would be racist if Straits Quay have no Bangla shops. And I hate Amos Yee for wasting our time with his silly videos.