Sombre Raya for many as pockets shrink and prices rise

“From the first day of Ramadan, we realised that things were different”

(MalaysiaNow) – Some are considering whether to make the trip back to their home towns while traders say sales have been down.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri, a festival celebrated each year by millions of Muslims in Malaysia, is normally marked by new clothes, special dishes and long-awaited trips to see family and relatives back home.

This year, though, festivities appear to be dampened by a combination of factors including financial constraints, economic challenges and a drop in purchasing power.

Even at Ramadan and Aidilfitri bazaars – a symbol of the fasting month and the preparations leading up to Hari Raya – traders have noticed a difference from previous years.

In the Klang Valley alone, thousands of tonnes of food was wasted at bazaars as would-be customers stayed away or cut down on their purchases.

Pak Nordin, who operated a stall at the Seri Kembangan Ramadan bazaar in Selangor, said the trend had been obvious from the start.

“From the first day of Ramadan, we realised that things were different,” he said.

“Customers wouldn’t spend more than RM10 on food.”

Nordin, who sold chicken with spices and tomato rice, said some of his friends had been forced to close shop as much as a week before the end of Ramadan.

“They just couldn’t turn a profit,” he added.

The same could be seen at Aidilfitri bazaars, where traders waited in vain for customers.

And where there were crowds, sales were not necessarily guaranteed.

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