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Govt urged to reinstate loan moratorium before large-scale poverty clusters emerge

17 Oct 2020 / 14:25 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government must no longer ignore the urgent need to reinstate the blanket loan moratorium for at least another three months for the B40 and M40 groups, as well as the small and medium-scale enterprise (SME) operators, not just in areas under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) but also across the country.

General-Secretary of the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) J.Solomon said thousands of low paid workers, while still clinging on to their jobs, cannot afford to resume repaying their loans, as their household income has dropped for various reasons.

“Yet, sadly these workers do not qualify for the targeted moratorium and are likely to default on their loans unless the government has a change of heart and hear their plea for help.

“Our own feedback among NUBE members shows that despite having a job, many of them are struggling to service their loans from this month as required by the banks. These are employees with family members who were either retrenched or had their salaries cut,” he said in a statement here today.

He said that some of NUBE members had also lost their part-time or weekend jobs due to the economic fallout and many of them have been forced to look for buyers for their cars and even remortgage their houses to settle bank loans.

“Without the blanket moratorium and in the absence of any signs the Covid-19 pandemic will be contained soon, our members are at their wits end in trying to sustain themselves and their families.

“Their situation has been made worse by the implementation of the CMCO in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Sabah, as well as the partial lockdowns in certain areas.

“The predicament of our members who are in the low-wage cadre, mirrors the grave situation across the labour market,” he said.

Solomon opined that the extension of the moratorium for three months will not burden banks as it will only mean deferred payments for loans of about RM6 billion and this is a fraction of the RM32 billion after-tax profit banks are expected to reap for 2019.

“The RM6 billion is not a loss incurred by the banks, but merely a delay in collecting the amount from customers once the economy is on better footing and a blanket moratorium is no longer needed,” he added.

Thus, he said NUBE had also formally asked the Malaysian Commercial Banks Association to consider getting its members to provide a moratorium on loan repayments for NUBE members until the end of the year. -Bernama

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