PM Urges Banks To Continue Offering Aid To Financially Distressed Borrowers
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(Image: Malay Mail/Yusof Mat Isa)

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has urged banks to continue assisting borrowers who are struggling to repay their loans due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as to postpone legal action against defaulting borrowers.

“The government takes note of the efforts of the banking sector which does not take the easy way out by putting those who are really facing difficulties on the black list of borrowers or bankruptcy list,” said the prime minister in a statement. He also requested affected borrowers to speak to their respective banks as soon as possible so that efforts can be made to discuss appropriate restructuring and rescheduling options.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri also commented that although Malaysia’s bankruptcy rate has dropped by 50% after the gradual reopening of economic sectors since October, the nation will still take time to fully recover. “As such, new borrowers or those who still find it difficult to find jobs should be supported until they are able to regain their footing,” he said.

(Image: Reuters)

The prime minister added that the government has raised the insolvency threshold from RM50,000 to RM100,000 to provide a better protection net for those who are financially affected. This provision was made under the Insolvency Act (1967), and the Temporary Measures For Reducing The Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) 2020 Act.

Additionally, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri reminded that struggling borrowers from the lower income group can tap into the ongoing Financial Management and Resilience Programme (URUS) for help. Briefly, URUS is a programme drawn up between the banking sector and the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) to offer aids – such as personalised financial plans – to eligible B50 banking customers. It includes repayment assistances such as interest/profit waivers for a period of three months, as well as deferred or reduced instalments. Applications are open until 31 January 2022.

On top of that, borrowers can also reach out to their banks to discuss alternative solutions if URUS does not meet their needs.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri further reiterated that the government is also striving to improve social protection for the B40 group. Accordingly, Budget 2022 contains initiatives such as an increased insured salary ceiling of RM5,000 (from the current RM4,000) for employees under the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO), as well as an enhanced Tenang protection voucher facility.

(Sources: Malay Mail, New Straits Times)

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