KUALA LUMPUR: Banks were requested to continue assisting borrowers facing financial difficulties in repaying their loans and to postpone legal action against defaulting borrowers, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Borrowers who still need assistance are advised to immediately contact their respective banks to discuss appropriate restructuring and rescheduling options.

“The government takes note of the efforts of the banking sector which does not take the easy way out by putting those who are really facing difficulties on the black list of borrowers or bankruptcy list,” said the Prime Minister in a statement here.

Although the bankruptcy rate has dropped by 50% after the economic sector began to open up gradually since last October, the Malaysian economy will take time to fully recover.

In this regard, borrowers who are new or still find difficulty in getting employment, especially the B50 group, should be supported as much as possible until they are able to stand strong again to ensure survival.

At the same time, the government through the Malaysian Insolvency Department has also increased the bankruptcy threshold to RM100,000 to provide protection to those who may still be unable to survive financially due to the effects of the pandemic.

This provision is made based on the Insolvency Act (1967), and the Temporary Measures to Reduce the Impact of Coronavirus Disease Act 2019 (Covid-19) (2020).

In support of B50 borrowers, as announced on Oct 13, 2021, the banking industry together with the Credit Counselling and Management Agency (AKPK) is actively implementing the Financial Management and Resilience Programme (URUS) for B50 borrowers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Borrowers who are eligible and intend to apply for facilities under URUS can contact their respective banks before Jan 31, 2022,” said the Prime Minister.

Under URUS, borrowers will also be provided with comprehensive assistance including personal finance plans tailored based on their financial capabilities, taking into account all types of loans with banking institutions under their name.

He said the government also took note that the banking sector had implemented URUS in a transparent and fair manner to help B50 borrowers with a household income of up to RM5,880; as well as job losses or loss of income in excess of 50% of household income as a result of the pandemic.

Apart from the URUS programme, borrowers can still get other assistance from their respective banks that suit their needs and financial situation.

For micro-entrepreneurs, RM1.8bil has been allocated through TEKUN Nasional, Bank Simpanan Nasional and Agrobank which provide financing at a zero per cent rate for at least six months; for loans of up to RM75,000; and an immediate moratorium of between six and 12 months, subject to terms and conditions.

The government also emphasised social protection for the B40 group, he said.

Accordingly, through Budget 2022, among the improvements in social protection initiatives is the Tenang protection voucher facility which is increased to RM75; continuing the additional job seeker allowance and increasing the insured salary ceiling from RM4,000 to RM5,000 to improve social security coverage for the nine million workers covered by the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

“Looking ahead, the government has also reactivated the Social Protection Council (MySPC) which is actively formulating a comprehensive and integrated social security policy for the long term,” he added. – Bernama



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