KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said today that Putrajaya must extend its bank loan moratorium and interest waivers by another six months amid complaints of poor business sentiment, economic conditions and rising food prices.

The Bagan MP said that the banking industry is capable of carrying out the extension as they recorded an estimated RM20 million in profits after taxes for 2021, despite bearing the cost of the previous interest rate waivers and loan moratorium last year.

“Even though the Department of Statistics reported that annual inflation rose by 2.5 per cent in 2021 as compared to 1.2 per cent deflation experienced in 2020, the reality on the ground is much higher rising prices, especially food.

“It reported that the consumer price index (CPI) for December 2021 shot up 3.2 per cent compared to the same month in 2020, surpassing the average monthly CPI inflation rate over the past decade (2011-2021) of 1.9 per cent,” he said in a statement.

The lawmaker said this extension by six months — ending in two batches at the end of January or February 2022 — would help save lives and livelihoods.

Under the Pemulih stimulus package, Malaysia saw a six-month moratorium for all loans starting July 2021 until the end of the year — the second time the government has done so since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.

Last week, the Department of Statistics said the CPI last month increased to 124.5 as against 120.6 in the same month of the preceding year due to the rise in food and fuel prices.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the increase also surpassed the average inflation for the period 2011 to 2021 (1.9 per cent).