DAILY news of robberies, snatch thefts and house break-in have deterred people from buying gold items, greatly affecting the businesses of goldsmith and jewellery shops.
Perak Goldsmith Merchant Association president Low Wai Chee said their business had stagnated since last year due to people’s negative perception of the security level in the country.
“I have customers telling me they are uncomfortable with wearing jewellery anymore. They are afraid of getting robbed.
“Since they can’t wear them, why buy them.
“It is pointless to spend money on something so expensive only to stash it away at home or at the bank’s safe deposit box,” Low told The Star.
Low, who is also the sole proprietor of Tai Seng Goldsmith and Jewellers, said while the police might claim that the country’s crime rate had gone down, it sure did not seem so.
“Whenever I read the newspapers, robberies, break-in and snatch thefts make the headlines.
“If the police can’t even keep crime in check, how do they expect us to feel safe?” he asked.
Low said even the upcoming Hari Raya celebrations had done little to help improve the sales of gold and jewellery.
“While many people perceive gold and jewellery to be most sought after during festivities, it is simply not the case anymore.
“The world market and economy are bad, what more with the high price of gold.
“All industries including those in the food and services are affected. It is not just us,” he said.
According to Low, the current price of ‘999’ gold was at about RM190 per gram while the price of ‘916’ and ‘835’ is about RM180 and RM164, respectively.
“The price of gold will only go up. I don’t foresee it coming down, ever,” he added.
Concurring with Low, Yu Cheong Sdn Bhd general manager Ho Weng Kong said business had been bad in the past few months.
“It is hard to make a profit these days.
“We can barely sustain our operations because people would rather invest their money in stocks and shares or investment funds these days.
“Unlike in the past where people invested their money in gold and precious jewels, there are a multitude of investment options available now,” he said.
The 64-year-old goldsmith added that in order to regain the trust of the people, there needed to be a significant improvement in the country’s security.