Guan Eng: With soaring profits banks must help people by waiving interest during moratorium

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Banks that reaped good profits in the first half of the year must do their part for the country by waiving interest payments during the loan repayment moratorium period, said former finance minister Lim Guan Eng.

Bernama

“Maybank is recording better profits than last year for the first half of the year. How many companies will be in the same comfort zone as Maybank in enjoying better profits this year compared to last year?” he said.

The banking group’s net profit for the second quarter ended June 30 more than doubled to RM1.96 billion from RM941.73 million in the same period last year.

For the first half of the year, Maybank’s net profit surged to RM4.35 billion from RM2.99 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Lim said the banking industry is expected to see significantly better profitability this year compared to 2019. He said this is evident in Maybank’s financial results.

“For this reason, the banking industry should share their good fortune with their customers by waiving interest payments during the loan moratorium period,” said the DAP secretary-general.

“Taking interest and profits from distressed borrowers who are going under is not the ‘Malaysian family’ advocated by the new prime minister.”

He said while focus is placed on winning the battle against the Covid-19 and saving lives, immediate attention must be given to saving the livelihoods of countless Malaysians and businesses destroyed by the economic recession.

“There is a need for the winners in the Covid-19 pandemic and economic recession to help those who lost their jobs and businesses and are struggling to find work or survive.”

One of the winners is the banking industry, he said, whose profits continue to rise.

The sector recorded after-tax profits of RM32.3 billion in 2019 and more than RM23 billion in 2020 despite the economic recession, he added.

“Malaysia has broken records and achieved international recognition for all the wrong reasons. Bloomberg placed Malaysia last out of 53 of the world’s largest economies surveyed for Bloomberg’s monthly Covid resilience ranking, in the country’s ability to provide some sense of normalcy amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Covid-19 infections per capita in Malaysia is now among the highest in the world despite 61.1 % of the adult population having been fully vaccinated with both doses,” he added.

He said the situation is further exacerbated by expected “anaemic economic growth” of around 4% for 2021, which is below the optimistic gross domestic product growth of 7.5% projected in Budget 2021.

“With the appointment of a recycled cabinet given 100 days to deliver and show high performance when they were a primary cause for Malaysia’s poor performance over the previous 17 months as confirmed by Bloomberg, it is imperative that we do not forget the lessons of the past so as not to repeat the failures of the previous prime minister.”

Everyone knows what has gone wrong despite the imposition of serial movement control orders (MCO) and an emergency proclamation, he said.

He said the government must stop the double standards in Covid rules enforcement, policy flip-flops, U-turns on SOPs, delays in vaccination, and failures to implement robust testing and mass screening programmes. – TMI