JOHOR BARU: He graduated with a degree in accounting and worked with a company selling safety equipment for 10 years, earning about RM3,500 per month.
But when his company started staggering his salary due to poor sales, he was compelled to turn to loan sharks for quick loans.
The man, who wanted to be known only
as Ahmad, said the loan sharks would hound him constantly and even put up notices at his home in Selangor.
Unable to stand the harassment, he moved to Johor Baru, where he now works as a ride-sharing driver earning RM50 per day.
Recounting his nightmare, Ahmad, 38, said: “My company used to do well with government projects. But they stopped getting tenders and could not pay their employees.
“I had a car, house and personal loan to
pay off each month. So when they did not pay me since the end of last year, I was forced to turn to a loan shark for help.
“I only borrowed RM1,000,” he said.
Ahmad, a bachelor, said he initially thought that the loan provider was a “private agent” offering financial help.
He had found the company online and “not from a number displayed by the roadside”.
“They asked me to fill up an online form,” he said, adding that they were professional but did not want to meet him personally.
“Instead, they would do all their dealings online, claiming that they wanted to be ‘paperless’,” he said.
Ahmad said he was only given RM700 for the RM1,000 loan in April as the company claimed that he had to pay for administrative charges.
“Within a month or two, I managed to pay off the loan. But my nightmare started when I borrowed another RM500 from the agent.
“He started charging me interest every three days. There were also penalties whenever I paid late,” he said, adding that within a month, the amount owed had gone up to RM2,000.
Ahmad also said the loan shark would call him at least 40 times a day.
“He even put up a note at my house in Selangor demanding payment,” he said, adding that he was worried that the loan shark would target his elderly parents in Batu Pahat.
Now his Hari Raya preparations had been affected, he said.
Ahmad sought the help of Johor Baru MCA public complaints bureau chief Michael Tay, who said the number of cases involving loan sharks had increased from an average of 20 a month to 30.
Tay said he would try to talk to the loan shark to stop harassing Ahmad and negotiate for him to just pay back the principal amount.
“Most of the victims in cases like these are those who need RM3,000 to RM5,000, as commercial banks had rejected their applications for short-term cash,” he said.
The police, when contacted, confirmed that they had received a report from the victim.