By John Isaac
DAP is willing to work with all political parties to press Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to extend the bank loan moratorium automatically by another six months to help save jobs and businesses affected by the recent surge in Covid-19 infections.
Its secretary-general, Lim Guan Eng said the 3rd wave of Covid-19 infections has dampened any nascent economic recovery, especially among small businesses and requires immediate economic and financial measures, to stave off another economic decline in the final quarter of the year.
“The PN government has disappointed many Malaysians by failing to extend the bank loan moratorium automatically by another six months when the prime minister presented an additional RM10 billion supplementary Kita Prihatin financial aid last month.
“The total RM305 billion Kita Prihatin package is expected to contribute 3.7% to 4% to the GDP growth this year. However, this is unlikely to be achieved with the recent record in number of Covid-19 infections,” he said.
For this reason, Lim said the automatic extension of the bank loan moratorium by another six months till 31 March 2021, is necessary to counter the decline in economic growth.
The loan moratorium that expired on 30 September 2020, had helped ease the burden on businesses and households affected by the post Covid-19, by deferring loan repayments, including for mortgage loans and hire purchases.
The value of this loan moratorium to the 8 million individual and corporate borrowers is RM 90 billion, a huge financial relief that has helped save livelihood, businesses and jobs.
Lim said the cost of the automatic loan moratorium extension is only RM6.4 billion, while the banking industry which recorded profits of RM32 billion in 2019 can afford such cost.
“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 8 million individual borrowers and companies?
“Malaysians are already suffering from the contraction of 17.1% of GDP growth in the 2nd quarter, the worst amongst ASEAN countries and the 1 million unemployed Malaysians. More needs to be done,” he added.