PETALING JAYA: It is apt for the police to be given the powers to deal with the loan shark problem, according to the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Selangor (ICCIS).
ICCIS secretary G. Gunaraj said the police force had the strength and resources to cripple loan sharks who had been using gangsters to terrorise borrowers.
“Although loan sharks claim they are providing a service to society (especially to those turned away by banks), many of them have been using their underworld links to harass and earn extremely high returns through exorbitant interest rates and default payments.
Gunaraj was responding to Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting's announcement on Saturday that police would be given the powers to enforce the Money Lending Act, scheduled to be tabled and passed in Parliament next month.
Ong had said the police force would be the most effective agency to check on illegal money-lending activities and screen future licence applicants through a central databank.
Gunaraj said enforcement aside, the Government also needed to seriously look into the plight of businessmen who are turned away by banks.
“Feedback from the business community shows illegal moneylenders are willing to provide funds to genuine petty traders and small and medium scale businessmen who face cash-flow problems.
“Almost every businessmen who contacted us or met our chamber members claimed they borrowed from loan sharks when banks failed to provide financing.
“The Government should consider giving funds and money lending licences to the various commerce and industry chambers and business linked associations so that petty traders and small businessmen will not fold up and leave hundreds of thousands of people jobless,'' said Gunaraj.