KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 – A six-month moratorium on bank loans announced as part of the National Recovery Plan (PNR) will only be effective if the government guarantees that the postponement is carried out without the capital interest accrued, said former Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng.
The Bagan lawmaker stressed that the moratorium is intended to ease the financial constraints of those already cash strapped by the pandemic and that it would be counterproductive if borrowers were still to pay interest on their deferred payments during the moratorium.
“How does this help borrowers faced with reduced income or the moral hazard of banks who do not demand a ‘haircut’ or who contribute to corporate social responsibility to share in the financial difficulties faced by borrowers?
“The government and Bank Negara must be reminded that the current financial distress of borrowers is caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and not by their fault.
“And yet borrowers are held to foot the bill despite reduced incomes, while banks can still enjoy their healthy profits as usual,” the DAP secretary general said in a statement this morning.
He said the already dire situation for SMEs and micro-SMEs is only exacerbated by unbalanced moratoria by banks, which he says have consistently reported after-tax profits of RM32.3 billion and over. 23 billion ringgit in 2019 and 2020 respectively despite the pandemic. .
Lim even lobbied the new Minister responsible for coordinating the National Recovery Plan (PNR), Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, who before his cabinet post was the CEO of the CIMB Bank group, to pressure banks to that they waive the main interest on loans, as was done during the moratorium. announced last year.
“The time has come for the government of Perikatan Nasional to act boldly and ask Bank Negara to order the banking sector to waive interest during the moratorium on bank lending except for the first 20.
“Otherwise, any PNR that seeks to offer financial assistance will be meaningless and a futile exercise, serving to protect bank profits at the expense of the eight million Malaysian people and businesses seeking help from the moratorium on the loans, ”Lim wrote today. .
On Friday, the prime minister’s office announced the appointment of Tengku Zafrul as coordinating minister of the PNRs, with him tasked with overseeing the implementation of the strategy, assisting and taking proactive and responsive response measures. to the dynamic situation of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Finance’s unit for the implementation of economic recovery and coordination between national agencies (Laksana) has been appointed secretariat of the special committee of the PNR, in order to coordinate the efforts of all the ministries and agencies directly involved in the national recovery plan.