More expected to borrow from loan sharks

PPIM operation centre employees taking calls from people being hounded by loan sharks.

LOAN sharks are going to have a field day having new clients during the recovery movement control order (MCO), says Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) lead activist Datuk Nadzim Johan.

He said these new clients were people who never had to borrow money from loan sharks before.

“Once the MCO is lifted and reality sets in, a lot of people are going to feel the pinch of having lost their jobs from termination, retrenchment and businesses being shut down.

“This time, they will not be making a beeline for pawnshops, but to the nearest ah long or loan shark, ” he said.

“They (loan sharks) are already waiting to strike.

“Their banners and bunting are up, and if you search on the Internet using keywords ‘personal loan’, their phone numbers will pop up.”

Nadzim described the loan sharks as polite and very sympathetic at first, but he warned consumers that once they started missing payments, the loan sharks’ true colours would show.

“Our operation centre is already receiving calls from victims, and we are expecting more to come, ” he said.

“We want people to know that no matter how bad things get, do not succumb to the temptation of easy money. There is always a catch, ” he added.

Nadzim said many borrowers ended up losing much more than they borrowed.

“And these are not people from the B40 or M40 groups, but business owners who borrow up to hundreds of thousands of ringgit and end up paying exorbitant interest rates until they cannot pay anymore and will have to give up their house, car and everything they own, ” he said.

Nadzim said government agencies and banks were too slow to help.

“The amount they are giving under various schemes is too small. “It is tough and all we can do is educate the public.

“We advise people that before they commit to taking up any loans, talk to us first, ” he said when asked what could be done to help victims from falling into the trap. PPIM has established a call centre to educate victims on the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks. It also helps victims settle their debts.

The public can log on to PPIM’s website to report cases or call its hotline at 019-345 8444 or 013-307 1999.

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