Anwar Urges Putrajaya to Urgently Reconsider Not Extending Loan Repayment Moratorium

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The government must urgently reconsider its decision not to extend the loan repayment moratorium as there was a growing threat of yet another wave of Covid-19 infections, said Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The opposition leader expressed disappointment over Putrajaya’s decision of not extending the loan moratorium for another three months, claiming the lack of a targeted loan moratorium was a leadership failure.

“I note with alarm the total number of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia has now surpassed the 11,000 mark, while the number of active cases has now breached the 1,000 mark for the first time since mid-June.

“We could be witnessing the start of a second wave, with at least 20 active clusters nationwide. This does not bode well for the economy in the short term and it means that we must continue to actively support lower-income individuals and families who will be disproportionately affected,” Anwar said in a statement.

Noting that banks in the country have only contacted 1.4 million of their 8.3 million borrowers, he said this meant the government and banks were still “in the dark” on borrowers’ sentiment.

“I urge the government to immediately relook into implementing a more targeted loan moratorium, focusing on the borrowings of lower-income households and small businesses.

“These classes of borrowings should be targeted for moratorium as we have yet to see any meaningful recovery of the salaries of lower-income families, nor steady revenues for small businesses in Malaysia.

“While a full blanket moratorium may not be necessary, failure to take the lead in imposing a targeted moratorium is a dereliction of responsibility and a serious lapse of leadership, leaving borrowers at the behest of banks,” he said.

The banking industry previously disclosed that just 380,000 of those contacted sought assistance with their repayments for when the moratorium expires on September 30.

Anwar, a former finance minister, also said banks should release information on their liquidity levels and profits to make it easier for legislators to consider and formulate possible responses.