Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz has commented that banks will have the final say in extending the ongoing loan moratoriums, and if they would be done in a targeted manner.
Tengku Zafrul said that the government will reach out to banks about extending the six-month moratorium on loans and financing repayments when it ends in September, but the banks will not be forced to agree to it. He also acknowledged that there were a lot of requests for an extension from those who need more time to repay their loans, and opined that banks could consider offering targeted extensions instead.
“But in my personal view, we ought to help the people who need help. The current moratorium is helping everyone. Going forward, I think the best way is we focus on the targeted groups who need help,” said Tengku Zafrul, adding that each borrower could be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. His remarks came after Maybank announced last Friday that it will not be extending the current automatic moratorium period when it ends in another three months.
Aside from that, Tengku Zafrul also urged the Malaysian public to approach their banks early if they feel that they need to reschedule or restructure their loan repayments after the moratorium. “Especially those who have lost their jobs and have their pay reduced, please see your bank now and restructure (your loan),” he advised.
Tengku Zafrul further stated that the Credit Counselling And Debt Management Agency (AKPK) has already started engaging with borrowers to offer their assistance for the post-moratorium period. The agency’s aid includes financial counselling and rescheduling services for those who are struggling to repay their loans.
The current moratorium, which began in April, was announced by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in a bid to help individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and corporations to weather through the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The deferment was automatically applied to most loans, except for hire purchase loans and fixed-rate Islamic financing.