KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 – A coalition of business groups has asked Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to clarify how it obtained data which shows that 85% of borrowers in Malaysia were able to resume repayments on their loans after the end of the general moratorium on loans last September.
Industries Unite (IU) co-founder Datuk David Gurupatham said the numbers were inconsistent with current numbers reported by some 112 trade organizations and 3.3 million companies the coalition represents.
“Eighty percent of our members can no longer support themselves and meet their financial obligations as they arise.
“Forty percent have closed and a further 20 percent are expected to close over the next two months,” he said at a virtual press conference today.
On June 5, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Aziz said that since 85% of borrowers resumed loan repayments after the general moratorium ended last year, there was a strong indication that most Malaysians were able to continue paying their loans – meaning a general moratorium did not need to be reintroduced.
However, David said companies were “struggling to get food on the table” and would not survive until the end of the year if current Covid-19 trade restrictions continue.
He pointed out that in comparison, banks still recorded profits last year despite the granting of the general moratorium.
As such, David reiterated his calls for financial assistance to the business community, including an automatic moratorium for businesses and individuals on a no-go basis – as the current app-based moratorium “goes defeats and delays ”the objective of helping companies in difficulty.
“The current targeted moratorium is subjective, it is up to the banks to accept or refuse according to their subjective parameters and requirements.
“If this is to continue, there must be some sort of independent mediator accountable to the BNM or the MOF, to whom appeals and complaints can be lodged,” he said.
David clarified that the bank’s demands to receive these targeted moratoria are also unattainable for many.
“The audited results prove that loss of revenue is a problem because last year is a problem, many did not even make a profit in 2020, many cannot afford to pay accounting companies for this service.
“Some due to travel restrictions, cannot have their directors or signatories present at the bank, some cannot access documents in the office due to travel restrictions,” he said.
Apart from that, IU is also asking companies to benefit from reduced utility bills, as well as federal and state taxes and levies, as well as a six-month deferral of statutory obligations such as EPF and Socso.
He also seeks to have the current wage subsidy program include more categories of companies, with the subsidy representing at least 30 percent of employees’ take-home pay; with increased rental relief.
“The government has asked businesses to shut down or be restricted, but businesses are expected and obligated to meet all their obligations with little help from the government,” he said.
A “total lockdown” under the Third Order of Movement Control (MCO 3.0) was launched on June 1 and forced most businesses – except those deemed “essential” by the government – to shut down their premises.
While being allowed to open, these essential businesses – such as restaurants and supermarkets – face severe restrictions on their business operations.
As part of the government’s national stimulus plan, most businesses and economic sectors will only be allowed to reopen during the third phase of the plan, after daily new cases of Covid-19 fall below the bar. of 2,000 and that 40% of the Malaysian population has received Covid-19 vaccination.
This government expects that to happen no earlier than September.