SOME unscrupulous people are out to exploit hawkers and petty traders by offering to help them – for a fee – to apply for government loans.
The Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders Associations of Malaysia has threatened to expose the identities of these people who, it claimed, are taking advantage of those traders who need the money for business but are ignorant about how to make a loan application.
The China Press reported its president Tan Tian Kooi as saying he would reveal the identities of the people after gathering sufficient evidence.
The Government has set aside RM1bil under an economic stimulus package, announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad last month, to help hawkers and petty traders affected by the economic slowdown.
Under the scheme, they could apply to Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) for small loans.
The BSN required applications to come with an endorsement letter from the association of which the hawkers and traders were members.
Tan said the federation had received complaints that certain parties had approached its members and offered to “help” prepare their loan applications, for fees ranging from RM40 to RM60, according to the daily.
“These people even told our members that if they paid the fees, they need not worry about the endorsement letter. Everything would be fine and their applications would be approved,” he was quoted as saying in a speech at a gathering of the hawkers and petty traders at Seri Kembangan, Selangor on Monday.
He said what was most unacceptable to the association officials was that they would be held responsible should the borrowers default their repayments, reported the daily.
Sin Chew Daily reported that the MCA Youth would arrange a meeting between representatives of the BSN and petty traders, hawkers and farmers to overcome the difficulties they faced in applying for the loans.
Quoting MCA Youth chief Datuk Ong Tee Keat, the report said the movement was concerned about the frustrations of the petty traders for being unable to benefit from the facilities provided by the Government.