Don’t resort to illegal moneylenders

Johor Baru City Council personnel taking down banners advertising illegal moneylending services in Taman Mount Austin. — Filepic

JOHOR BARU: Petty traders, young entrepreneurs and individuals should avoid borrowing money from illegal moneylenders to fund their businesses or for personal expenses.

Johor Baru MCA public complaints bureau chief Michael Tay said there were more bad outcomes than good ones when dealing with illegal moneylenders or ah long.

“There are so many real-life cases of people borrowing money from them (ah long) and being harassed continuously as a result, ’’ he said when contacted.

Tay added that most of the time, borrowers were also at fault despite knowing the dangers of taking money from loan sharks.

“We have to remember that loan sharks or their runners are ruthless and merciless when collecting money owed to them, ” he told StarMetro.

However, society should not solely blame the borrowers as most of the time, they were put into difficult positions where they had no choice but to borrow from illegal moneylenders.

“I’ve handled many cases where the victims could no longer service their interest that had skyrocketed, ” said Tay.

Johor Consumers Movement Association chairman Md Salleh Sadijo said the authorities had no concrete solutions to curb the loan shark menace in society.

“The loan shark business is thriving because the police and local authorities are perceived as not being proactive, ’’ he said.

Md Salleh said petty traders faced difficulty in getting loans from financial institutions due to lack of proper documentation.

“As such, they succumb to the lure of loan sharks who quickly disburse the requested loan, which comes attached with lopsided conditions that borrowers normally ignore, ” he added.

He suggested that the Federal Government establish a fund to assist petty traders and young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

The fund should be managed by an independent and professional entity to help aspiring small businesses with minimum interest.

“Too much red tape and bureaucratic problems imposed by commercial banks are the main reason why some petty traders and young entrepreneurs resort to borrowing money from illegal moneylenders, ’’ he said.

Md Salleh also complained that flyers, posters and brochures with contact numbers promoting their services at public places were everywhere and causing a nuisance.

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