JOHOR BARU: A driver, who borrowed money from loan sharks to celebrate Hari Raya four years ago, is now struggling to repay his loans which have snowballed to 10 times the original amount.
The 33-year-old claimed that five loan sharks were harassing him and his family “every other day”, demanding payments through verbal and phone threats.
The man, who wanted to be known as Harun, said he only earned RM3,000 and each month, half of his salary was used to repay the interests.
“With the fasting month and Hari Raya coming, I do not know how I am going to manage,” he said at a press conference organised by Johor Baru MCA public complaints bureau chief Michael Tay.
Harun said a friend had introduced him to a loan shark in Ulu Tiram back in 2015 after his loan applications with several banks were rejected.
“The loan shark told me that I had to repay RM600 per month. He also kept my ATM card to withdraw the repayment amount plus interest before giving me the balance every month.
“However, I could not cope as I had to support my wife and three children, aged five, 12 and 13,” he said, adding that he then resorted to taking more loans from four other loan sharks.
The amount he borrowed was between RM2,500 and RM3,000 each.
Harun said he regretted going to the loan sharks as they had started harassing him and his elderly parents in Mersing for payments.
“I have lodged two police reports on the threats and harassment,” he said, adding that his parents >and siblings could not help as they, too, were barely making ends meet.
Tay said he would try to talk to the loan sharks to stop harassing Harun and negotiate for him to just pay back the principal amount.
Tay added that the number of loan shark cases handled by him for the first four months of this year had doubled compared to last year.
“Most of them involved those who needed between RM3,000 and RM5,000, as commercial banks had rejected their applications for short-term cash.
“I hope Bank Negara or the government can find a way to help these people to get a small loan with minimal interest,” he said.