Covid-19 Bill tabled to modify 16 existing laws including late payment penalties, defects liability claims

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 13 Aug 2020

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan tabled the Bill for its first reading in the Dewan Rakyat.

KUALA LUMPUR: Developers cannot impose late payment charges on unpaid property instalments from March 18 to August, states a proposed Bill aimed at easing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumers.

The Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Bill seeks to modify 16 existing laws to reduce the impact of the pandemic.

The Bill also seeks to exclude the period of March 18-Aug 31 from the calculation of the defect liability period and the period for developers to carry out works to repair or make good defects in the houses purchased.

The proposed measures also include protecting tenants who are unable to pay rent by modifying Section 5 of the Distress Act 1951 to provide that a warrant of distress cannot be included in the distrain for arrears owed within that period.

The Bill also proposes to ensure that for the period April 1 to Sept 30, no owner shall exercise any power in taking possession of goods under a hire-purchase agreement as noted in Section 16 of the Hire Purchase Act 1967, for instalments defaulted.

Creditors will also not be allowed to present a bankruptcy petition against a debtor under the Insolvency Act 1967 unless the debt owed by the said individual, or if two or more creditors join in the petition, amounts to RM100,000.

The Bill also proposes that those who have overdue credit card instalments have to be issued with a notice by the facility provider for late payment. The cardholder will have 21 days to reply to the notice.

The Bill also states that credit facility providers cannot commence legal proceedings to recover the total outstanding amounts owed under the credit sale agreement.

The agreement only applies if the credit sale agreement was entered before March 18 and if the cardholder has no overdue instalments before that date.

The Bill, tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan for first reading at the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (Aug 13), is to support the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package, Prihatin SME Economic Stimulus Package and the Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan announced recently by the Prime Minister.

The Bill, if approved, will modify 16 legislations namely the Limitation Act 1953, Sabah Limitation Ordinance, Sarawak Limitation Ordinance, Public Authorities Protection Act 1948, Insolvency Act 1967, Hire-Purchase Act 1967, Consumer Protection Act 1999, Distress Act 1951, Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966, Industrial Relations Act 1967, Private Employment Agencies Act 1981, Land Public Transport Act 2010, Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987, Courts of Judicature Act 1964, Subordinate Courts Act 1948 and Subordinate Courts Rules Act 1955.

The second and third readings of the Bill is scheduled during the current Dewan Rakyat meeting.

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