KUALA LUMPUR: The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) needs to provide a clear explanation about the moratorium for M40 income earners affected by the movement control order (MCO) 3.0, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said.
Based on the feedback he had received, the minister said many in M40 (middle 40 per cent of household income group), including entrepreneurs and professionals, were becoming more stressed and desperate for help.
“Many are expecting a blanket moratorium as done last year. For micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), there’s no problem. But for affected M40 income earners, who are struggling financially from lack of income, they can also apply and the banks have assured that they will continue to help.
“The banks need to find a more thorough method of enlightening borrowers (on the moratorium),” he said in an interview on RTM TV1’s “Political Economy — Lockdown and the Country’s Economy” programme on Tuesday.
Besides, Mustapa said the banks may also set up a helpdesk to deal with certain cases involving those affected, who have no other avenue, to lodge their enquiries/complaints.
“Certainly, the best is the automatic moratorium, which does not involve bureaucracy. I hope the banks will try to help those who have no further avenue (such as automatic moratorium) and those who deserve help,” he added.
Mustapa said although the economic recovery was expected to improve since the end of last year, the situation worsened for the past two months, as most businesses no longer had cash reserves or received further assistance.
He said although the government could not approve most of the applications from entrepreneurs, it was hoped that all parties, including banks, would continue to discuss and resolve the matter.
“It is up to the banks whether to accept this proposal. I think maybe Bank Negara Malaysia can be a mediator to find ways on how to promote enlightenment on the matter so that this issue can be addressed accordingly,” he said.
Mustapa said in a dynamic and uncertain situation resulting from Covid-19, it is difficult to anticipate a situation regarding economic recovery, unless the government speeds up the Covid-19 vaccination process.
“If there are applications from private companies to buy the vaccines themselves, of course, the government can find ways to speed up the vaccination rollout.
“This, in turn, can restore investor confidence and the economy can recover quickly as we have seen in the United States, European countries, and Australia,” he said. – Bernama