Guan Eng Willing to Work with All Parties to Push for Loan Moratorium Extension

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DAP said it is willing to work with all parties to pressure Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to extend the bank loan moratorium which ended last month.

Among those pushing for the moratorium to be reinstated is DAP’s bitter rival Umno, with its former president Najib Abdul Razak among the proponents.

In a statement today, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said an extension until March 2021 was needed as the people are suffering.

He also said that the third wave of Covid-19 infections has dampened economic recovery, especially for small businesses.

“If Muhyiddin refuses to listen to the more than 6.6 million borrowers left out when the loan moratorium expired on 30 September, then all political parties should collaborate together to press for the automatic extension of the loan moratorium by another six months, to save Malaysian jobs and businesses,” he said.

The loan moratorium had been in force for six months until the end of last month.

However, those who have lost their jobs and have yet to be re-employed will get a three-month extension.

Those who had their salaries cut are also eligible for reduced repayment rates.

“The third wave of infections has dampened any nascent economic recovery, especially amongst small businesses, and requires immediate economic and financial measures, to stave off another economic decline in the final quarter of the year,” Lim said in a statement.

Despite presenting an additional RM10 billion supplementary Kita Prihatin financial aid last month, the Bagan MP said the government has disappointed many by failing to extend the moratorium automatically.

“The total RM305 billion Kita Prihatin package is expected to contribute an estimated 3.7 to 4 percent to the GDP growth this year. However, this is unlikely to be achieved with the recent record in the number of Covid-19 infections.

Mukhriz Hazim/Malaysiakini

“For this reason, the automatic extension of the moratorium until March 31 next year is necessary to counter the decline in economic growth. The moratorium that expired on September 30 had helped ease the burden on businesses and households affected by deferring loan repayments, including for mortgage loans and hire purchases,” he said.

Lim estimated the loan moratorium which benefited eight million individual and corporate borrowers is valued at RM90 billion and was a huge financial relief that helped save livelihoods, businesses and jobs.

“Tan Sri Muhyiddin claimed that the targeted bank loan moratorium extension and bank assistance after September 30 has assisted over 1.4 million borrowers.

“However, this number of borrowers is still very much lower than the eight million individual and corporate borrowers benefiting from the automatic six-month extension of the bank loan moratorium,” he said.

Lim said extending the moratorium would cost RM6.4 billion, which the banking industry could afford, seeing as it recorded RM32 billion in profits last year.

“Even if the banking industry is unwilling to shoulder such corporate social responsibility, the government should step in. What is RM6.3 billion compared to the RM305 billion Kita Prihatin financial package or the loan moratorium value of RM90 billion to eight million individual borrowers and companies?

“Malaysians are already suffering from the contraction of 17.1 percent of GDP growth in the second quarter of 2020, the worst amongst Asean countries and the one million unemployed Malaysians. More needs to be done,” he said.

Najib had said that extending the loan moratorium was one of the things Umno could achieve if it allied with PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, on the condition that Umno is given a role in managing the country’s economy and finances.

However, he said this cooperation would also be conditional on DAP not being in the picture.