As Malaysia grapples with a new wave of Covid-19 infections, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi tday asked the federal government to consider putting back a moratorium on loans until the year end.
The Bagan Datok MP also asked banks to delay bankruptcy proceedings against borrowers who failed to service their loans.
“Umno asks the government to consider an automatic extension on the moratorium starting from October to December 2020 to help the rakyat facing the second wave of Covid-19.
“Banks need to stop auction proceedings and bankrupt declarations if there are people who can’t afford to pay their loans after the moratorium period ends due to job loss,” he tweeted.
Zahid’s plea comes after Malaysia recorded another 317 new Covid-19 cases today. The infections were all transmitted locally following a rise in the number infected travellers returning to the peninsula after crossing the South China Sea to Sabah.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had last month similarly called on the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to carry out a more targeted moratorium on loans for those economically affected by the pandemic and ensuing three-month lockdown back in March.
The Port Dickson MP claimed that banks in the country had only contacted 1.4 million of their 8.3 million borrowers.
On September 30, the final day of loan moratorium period, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said about 500,000 applications for repayment assistance have been received and 98 percent been approved .
In a statement BNM said that the 500,000 applications are merely a sixth of the three million borrowers BNM had anticipated will need help under the targeted loan repayment assistance.
The central bank also said borrowers who have lost their jobs this year and are still unemployed will be able to freeze loan repayments by a further three months, while borrowers whose salaries have been cut due to Covid-19 will be offered reduced loan instalments in proportion to their salary reduction, depending on the type of financing.
Guan Eng to Muhyiddin: Listen to 6.2 million borrowers who need six-month loan moratorium extension
“However, this number of borrowers is still very much lesser than the eight million individual and corporate borrowers benefiting from the automatic six-month extension of the bank loan moratorium,” Lim said.
The Bagan MP, who is also DAP secretary-general, said the automatic loan moratorium had helped ease the burden on businesses and households affected by Covid-19, by deferring loan repayments, including mortgage and hire purchase loans.
“The value of this loan moratorium to the eight million individual and corporate borrowers is RM90 billion, a huge financial relief that has helped save livelihoods, businesses and jobs.
“The targeted bank assistance and selective moratorium extension are very much inferior to the automatic sic-month bank loan moratorium extension.
“The uncertain economic recovery after Malaysia’s contraction of 17.1 per cent of GDP growth in the second quarter, the worst amongst Asean countries, is not helped by the second wave of Covid-19 infections happening in many foreign countries,” he said.
Lim added that Muhyiddin should listen to the more than 6.2 million borrowers who will be left out when the loan moratorium expires, saying it should be extended by another six months.