Sweet for day-trippers unless you’re loaded

KOTA KINABALU: The tourism industry has made ‘KK’ into a fast growing city in Malaysia, with its famed holiday destinations, seafood and nightlife but with that comes at a high price.

Tourism development has generated a vibrant economy for local enterprises but the tourist dollar is also pushing the high cost of living higher, as BAT6 members experienced with an overnight stay in the town once known as ‘Jesselton’.

College student Brandon E Michael, a 22-year-old who is studying ‘tourism’, said to live in a city like Kota Kinabalu, one needs to stretch the dollar, plastic as it is.

He was brave enough to say that on average, young people can spent RM150 per day if they are spendthrift.

“You need real spending power here if you look at the prices these days, to exist in a modern city life as compared to yesteryear,” he said.

Unless you spend wisely, be ready to burn a hole in your pocket without realizing your hard earned money could just disappear into thin air, he added.

He said a local like him has to fork out RM10 for a simple meal and drink.

“A month’s expenses on food alone for a local is equivalent to the minimum wage of RM925 or even more and that excludes other necessary expenditure,” he lamented.

Brandon said that in reality, locals have to learned to live with the reality that foreigners have ‘spoilt the market’ in KK, reminiscent of what the Singaporean day-trippers have turned Johor Bharu across the causeway into a matrix of night clubs and pricey food with the strong ‘Sing dollar’.

He believed that prices spiral as KK tumbles headlong into a booming city, plus more foreigners, due to a very strong tourism industry and the lower ringgit exchange rate pulling in jet-setters from Europe, US, and the Far East of Hong Kong Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan.

“Kudos to the government as it also is a good spillover to the business community, which is good for the local economy,” he conceded.

Reflecting on this expensive reality in life, Brandon said he yearns to be independent like others of Generation Y.

But due to the crazy cost of living, he decided it is better to live with his parent and five siblings in Likas some 15km from KK.

Brandon fell off his seat laughing in disbelief when BAT6 told him Kuching is a cheaper city where you easily spend less than RM10 on a meal and drink and still keep an arm and a leg.

And we’re not even talking nightlife in KK yet! Brandon said people in KK accept the fact that they live in a bustling city where foreigners fl y by to spend on a lavish stay in this resort city.

Nevertheless, the college kid is determined to save for a better life as there is no better place than home.

Despite the shrinking dollar, Brandon is optimistic of the future and welcomes people to KK as the city fleshes out on the economy of tourism products that come from the sea, the land and the mountain – Mt Kinabalu.



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