Money-lending firms to undergo rebranding

PUTRAJAYA: The Housing and Local Government Ministry is to rebrand money-lending companies to remove the public negative perception that they are unlicensed money-lending syndicates or “Ah Long”.

Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the rebranding of these companies to make them more customer-friendly was expected to be done by June at the latest.

“Although the performance of these money-lending companies, licensed by the ministry, is good, the negative perception has made the people or small traders to shy away from getting loans from them,” she told a press conference after delivering the 2019 New Year message for the staff of the ministry here yesterday.

Zuraida said that based on information from the Moneylenders and Pawnbrokers Division of the ministry, the rebranding can be done by June at the latest.

At present, she said, about 3,900 money-lending companies were offering loans at lending and handling rates which differed from those of financial institutions or commercial banks.

“We want the people to realise that money-lending companies are legal, offer unlimited loans and do not demand many documents as is conditional for financial institutions or commercial banks,” she said, adding that these companies had been operating since the Moneylenders and Pawnbrokers Division was established in 2007.

Zuraida also said that the ministry was in talks with Bank Negara to seek flexibility for people in the B40 low-income households to secure housing loans.

She said the flexibility was in line with the government initiative to provide the opportunity to the B40 group to own homes at prices up to RM300,000 a unit and on hire purchase.

The minister said the move to boost home ownership through the National Home Ownership Campaign announced in Budget 2019 would be launched with a massive exhibition by the property sector in March in Kuala Lumpur.

The three-day exhibition beginning March 1 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre would gather 180 property developers and every purchase would be given a 10 per cent discount, she said.

The last time such a campaign was held was in 1998, she added. – Bernama