Give those in need loan moratorium, Johor urged


JOHOR BARU: Johoreans affected by MCO 3.0 hope that the government will allow another automatic loan moratorium to help ease their financial burden.

Bus operator R. Thiagarajan, 36, said the moratorium should at least be extended to those in sectors that have been affected the most by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“If a blanket moratorium cannot be implemented, the government should look into identifying sectors or small and medium enterprises that have been hurt the most and make it available for them.

“The tourism industry, including buses, is one of the sectors that has been hit the most by the pandemic and should be given an automatic moratorium, ” he said.

Thiagarajan, who is the Johor Muafakat Bus Operators and Drivers’ Association chairman, said the loan moratorium could save dozens of businesses from having to close shop for good.

A Malaysian technician working in Singapore, who only wanted to be known as Iqbal, said while he did not suffer any pay cut, he had to spend more money as he has to rent a room there.

“I do not know if I can get another job if I return to Johor but if I stay, I have to fork out extra money for rent and other expenses in Singapore.

“Besides, I still have to pay for my house and car in Johor. Although I can restructure my loans, I decided against it as I may end up paying more in interest, ” he said.

“My only hope is for the government to extend another round of automatic loan moratorium, ” he added.

Johor Indian Muslim Entrepreneur Association secretary Hussein Ibrahim said the loan moratorium was vital for the survival of small businesses as they have been struggling for more than a year.

“The automatic moratorium is definitely a must as we now have another MCO and have been hit hard again.

“Although the people could work on restructuring their loans with their respective banks, it is not the same as getting a moratorium as they won’t have to end up paying more interest. I hope that a moratorium of at least six months will be made available, ” he said.

Bank Negara governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus had said recently that a blanket loan moratorium may not be the best solution for borrowers following the reimposition of a nationwide MCO.

She said all banks have their payment assistance plans, including targeted loan moratoriums, which could be offered to borrowers who lost their jobs or suffered a reduction in income.

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