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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 — All political parties in Malaysia should collaborate and press the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government under Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to extend the bank loan moratorium by another six months, said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
He said doing so will help to save jobs and businesses affected by the recent surge in Covid-19 infections.
“The third wave of infections has dampened any nascent economic recovery, especially amongst small businesses and requires immediate economic and financial measures, to stave off another economic decline in the final quarter of the year,” Lim said in a statement.
Despite presenting an additional RM10 billion supplementary Kita Prihatin financial aid last month, the Bagan MP said the government has disappointed many by failing to extend the moratorium automatically.
“The total RM305 billion Kita Prihatin package is expected to contribute an estimated 3.7 to 4 per cent to the GDP growth this year. However, this is unlikely to be achieved with the recent record in the number of Covid-19 infections.
“For this reason the automatic extension of the moratorium until March 31 next year is necessary to counter the decline in economic growth. The moratorium that expired on September 30 had helped ease the burden on businesses and households affected by deferring loan repayments, including for mortgage loans and hire purchases,” he said.
Lim estimated the loan moratorium which benefited eight million individual and corporate borrowers is valued at RM90 billion, and was a huge financial relief that helped save livelihoods, businesses and jobs.
“Tan Sri Muhyiddin claimed that the targeted bank loan moratorium extension and bank assistance after September 30 has assisted over 1.4 million borrowers.
“However, this number of borrowers is still very much lower than the eight million individual and corporate borrowers benefiting from the automatic six-month extension of the bank loan moratorium,” he said.
Calculating the cost of the automatic loan moratorium extension to be only RM6.4 billion, Lim said the banking industry can afford such a cost, seeing as it recorded RM32 billion in profits last year.
“Even if the banking industry is unwilling to shoulder such corporate social responsibility, the government should step in. What is RM6.3 billion compared to the RM305 billion Kita Prihatin financial package or the loan moratorium value of RM90 billion to eight million individual borrowers and companies?
“Malaysians are already suffering from the contraction of 17.1 per cent of GDP growth in the second quarter of 2020, the worst amongst Asean countries and the one million unemployed Malaysians. More needs to be done,” he said.