AKPK sees steady drop in counselling cases

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 28, 2011): The number of counselling cases handled by the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) has fallen over the past few years since its peak of 41,447 cases in 2008, out of which 11,958 enrolled in its debt management programme.

The counselling cases dropped to 36,848 in 2009, of which 16,184 people enrolled in its debt management programme. Last year, the counselling cases dropped further to 30,010 out of which 15,603 enrolled in the programme.

AKPK was set up by Bank Negara Malaysia in April 2006 to provide financial counselling and debt management as well as financial education to help individuals take control of their financial situation.

As at Oct 30 this year, AKPK has counselled a total of 166,213 people and saw 66,932 of them enrol in its programme. So far this year, the agency has counselled 25,751 cases, of which 13,985 enrolled in the programme.

AKPK CEO Koid Swee Lian said the biggest reason for default or difficulty in servicing debt is high medical expenses, with 25% of cases received citing this as the reason.

This is followed by poor financial planning (24%), failure or slowdown in business (14%), loss of control on usage of credit cards (14%), retrenchment (10%), failed investment or scams (2%) and death or loss of breadwinner (2%).

Meanwhile, Koid said the agency will launch an online learning portal called 'Power! Online Learning Portal' tomorrow, which is aimed at young people who are IT-savvy.

The portal aims to encourage easily accessible e-learning on making better credit decisions and is an alternative avenue for young adults to acquire personal money management skills by completing a financial course online.

Koid said the total investment for the 'Power! Programme' is RM800,000 and the agency aims to launch a similar programme targeted at households next year.

AKPK currently has 10 branches in Penang, Johor, Kuala Terengganu, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Malacca, Kuantan, Ipoh, Alor Setar and Kota Baru. It also has representative offices in Klang and Seremban, which it plans to convert into branches next year.

The new portal forms part of AKPK's 'Power! Programme', which was designed to empower young individual and potential borrowers aged 18 to 30, to better manage their finances and make well-informed financial decisions.

Koid said the agency aims to reach out to at least 10% of the targeted population of 7.3 million, and the online learning portal is expected to help achieve the target.

Since its launch in January, the Power! Programme has attracted over 18,000 participants.

the agency aims to reach out to at least 10% of the targeted population which currently stands at 7.3 million, and the online learning portal is expected to help achieve the target. Since its launch in January, the Power! Programme has attracted over 18,000 participants.