Lim: B40, M40 need loan moratorium, banks can sustain

BANKS should extend loan moratorium to the B40 and M40 groups as the former have benefitted by extending loan repayment periods.

“This measure should continue until March next year, costing RM6.4 bil, as it will be of great help to eight million individuals and businesses.

“However, the targeted bank loan moratorium extension and bank assistance introduced after Sept 30 had assisted only 645,000 borrowers, which is 8% of the original number of borrowers,” said former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, in a statement.

Last month, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz rejected requests by the Opposition and fellow allies to extend a blanket loan moratorium until next year.

Defending his decision, Zafrul said that most borrowers have already resumed paying their due to the banks, adding that a targetted approach would better assist individuals and businesses during the economic downturn.

Tourism industry on ‘life support’

However, Lim was unimpressed by Zafrul’s argument, saying the targeted approach had only benefited financial institutions as it required borrowers to pay higher interests.

“Our banking industry recorded RM32 bil in profits last year and despite the COVID-19 crisis this year, it continues to record profits,” he said.

On economic recovery, Lim said that Malaysia recorded a sharp decline in gross fixed capital formation, or investments, by 11.6% in the third quarter of the year, signalling a long road to recovery.

“This sharp decline undermines economic confidence in future growth and damages Malaysia’s competitiveness since other Asian countries are not experiencing the same phenomenon,” he remarked.

Touching on the tourism industry, the Bagan MP urged the Government to provide the sector with a RM10 bil financial grant as a lifeline.

“Malaysia received RM54 bil less in tourism revenue for the first nine months compared to the same period last year.

“However, the tourism industry is not the only one on ‘life support’ as other industries are also suffering,” Lim added. – Dec 12, 2020.

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