Rafidah asks why those still earning need help

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A former minister has questioned the rationale behind Cuepacs’ recent call for a deferment of repayments for housing loans taken by civil servants.

Rafidah Aziz, who was trade and industry minister until 2008, said she could not see any need to give financial assistance to people receiving their regular income.

“What we need to do is zero in on people who have been retrenched and people who have lost their earnings,” she told FMT.

In making the deferment request to the government and the Public Sector Home Financing Board last Thursday, Cuepacs president Adnan Mat said half of the spouses of civil servants were in the private sector, running small businesses or were full-time housewives and that some had lost their jobs or had suffered reductions in income.

He said the deferment should be granted to all civil servants.

Rafidah said people who were still regularly earning their wages should not be making demands at this time.

“Like me, I have a regular income because of my pension,” she said. “Why should I be shouting for help?

FMT

“The government must look at who’s the borrower. Prioritise those badly affected by Covid-19. As for those who have been working from home and still getting their incomes, what reason do they have for a deferment?”

Ramon Navaratnam, a former deputy secretary-general of the treasury, said the deferment would be fair if it was given only to those below a certain income level.

“If somebody is earning only around RM2,000 a month, this would help a lot,” he said. “But not all need to enjoy it.

“The key is to discuss this with Cuepacs. Don’t make the mistake of coming to a decision without any consultation with Cuepacs. They should not feel rejected or forgotten.

“And Cuepacs must also think about the government’s ability to bear the costs.”

But he also said he believed Putrajaya could afford the deferments since it was not cancelling the loan repayments. – FMT