Former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has called on the government to look into extending the existing six-month moratorium on bank loan repayments.
He said Malaysia should follow the steps taken by other nations, including Japan, in dealing with the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The loan repayment moratorium ends on Sept 30 this year.
Lim said stakeholders in the country’s various economic sectors have been severely affected by the pandemic, and many workers have lost their jobs, hence a moratorium extension would help all affected parties.
“We must ensure the people have enough money (to spend) so that we can save businesses and jobs.
“This is basic, we save the businesses, and it will save jobs,” he said in his speech at a free motorcycle maintenance campaign organised by Honda at the Bukit Bendera Village Community Management Council (MPKK) Hall, today.
Also present were Bukit Bendera Member of Parliament Wong Hon Wai and Air Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng Soon Siang.
Lim cautioned that the consequences to the national economy would be severe if Malaysia were to be struck by another wave of Covid-19 infections as being experienced by other countries.
“If we are hit by a second wave, our economy will be finished. This is why preventive measures are important,” he added.
He said people should spend in order to keep the economy moving to recover from the fall experienced since the pandemic.
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and Gerakan have also called upon banks and the authorities to extend the six-month moratorium on bank loan repayments.
On March 25, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a six-month loan repayment moratorium, and the conversion of credit card balance to term loans and the restructuring of corporate loans, in an initiative estimated to be worth at least RM100 billion.
The moratorium, which began on April 1, was introduced to ease the financial burden faced by small and medium enterprises as well as individual consumers.