KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — AEON Credit Service (M) Bhd has received backlash from Malaysians online after promoting a personal loan up to RM100,000 for couples looking to host their “dream wedding”.
A full-page advertisement of the loan offered by the firm depicting a Malay couple has gone viral online, prompting criticisms that it is encouraging youths to borrow money in order to achieve a lifestyle beyond their financial means.
“A grand wedding like Cinderella and the prince of her dreams. Selling a mirage of ambition built upon debts that nobody knows when it will end,” said a Facebook post in Bahasa Malaysia by Aziz Alwi, a financial consultant with EZAZ Wealth Management and Consultancy.
“Don’t be in debt, because a loan is proof that you cannot afford it. King for a day, but slave until death,” he added, attaching a photo of the said full-page advertisement in the Malay Mail newspaper published last Friday.
The post published last week has received over 1,000 “likes” and was shared over 720 times on Facebook at the time of writing.
In response, several other users of the social network hit out at the advertisement and the pressure being put against young couples who wish to get married, including a user called Elva Maisarah Sulaiman who dubbed the promotion “ridiculous”.
“Lenders will always be happy to lend money. The ones who are getting trapped with the interest and the rest, is the borrower,” said another user called Sari Salleh.
“King just for a day. After the wedding, you can sit alone at the back of the house thinking how to pay off the debt,” added one who user under the moniker Jurujual Kereta Terpakai.
“What kind of Jewish agenda is this? Wanting Muslim families to be in heavy debt. This is crazy,” asked a user who identified himself as Man Syah.
In the advertisement, AEON Credit Service offered the i-Cash Personal Financing between October 9 and November 30 to those earning as little as RM800 per month, even without a guarantor.
The period of repayment can be up to seven years, and as a sweetener, it will reward a free gift card for AEON BIG hypermarket worth RM50.
A check by Malay Mail Online’s sister publication ProjekMMO with AEON Credit Service’s 24-hour call centre confirmed such an offer.
Its spokesman told ProjekMMO that interested parties can arrange for an appointment with a financial adviser at its nearest branch.
AEON Credit Service also clarified that not every applicant will succeed in borrowing RM100,000, as the loan is still subject to terms and conditions.
In a report two years ago, seasoned wedding planners told Malay Mail Online that the cost of an average wedding, across all races, has soared to above RM50,000, causing some couples to take out personal loans to pay for their nuptials if they are unable to get much financial support from their parents.
For the Malay community, the dowry, or “wang hantaran” gifted by the groom to the bride’s family is between RM10,000 and RM18,000 for low to medium-range weddings, and RM50,000 for high-end weddings, they said.