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KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today urged Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to come up with new measures to provide economic relief to Malaysians struggling to repay their personal loans.
He warned the Perikatan Nasional government that rising personal debt among Malaysians, especially those taken to buy homes and vehicles, will derail post Covid-19 economic recovery efforts if nothing is done immediately.
“Much of this debt is tied to homeowner and vehicle debt and has strong ties to the restrictions of the movement control order.
“Credit card debt has also crept along, rising dangerously high.
“The only answer for this is to have the rakyat seek out more loans and take on more debt, condemning them to debt traps,” Anwar said in a statement.
The Port Dickson MP expressed scepticism on the government’s optimistic outlook for the coming fiscal year, noting that 2020 ended with an alarmingly high 93.3 per cent of inequality between household income to the GDP.
“The old record of 87.5 per cent, set in June 2020, at the height of the first wave of the Covid-19 virus, was already seen as a dangerous mark to have hit,” Anwar said.
In February, the Department of Statistics predicted that Malaysia’s economy will improve in the next few months with the launch of the national Covid-19 vaccination programme.
It reported Malaysia’s leading index performance — which measures certain key economic sector activities like manufacturing, and business confidence levels — logged in at 108.8 points in December 2020 compared with 101.6 points for the same month in 2019, and maintained its prediction of 7.1 per cent growth.