Media statement by M.Kula Segaran in Parliament on Wednesday, 13th October 2010:
Staff shortage problem at bankruptcy/insolvency offices should be addressed
During today's Parliament question time, a question asked was about the number of youths who were declared bankrupts.
The Deputy Minister in Prime Minister's Department YB Liew Wei Keong replied that over 1,046 youths were declared as bankrupts.
I then stood up and asked a supplementary question whereby I welcomed the suggestion to do a whole review of the Bankruptcy Act and raised the problem of shortage of officers at the bankruptcy offices to handle bankruptcy and insolvency cases.
It is an open secret that there is a severe shortage of experienced officers in the bankruptcy/ insolvency offices.
For example, at its Penang office, there are only 8 officers handling over 70, 000 cases. This means a single officer will have to handle an average of 10, 000 cases. How an officer can singularly dispose the cases is a "6 million dollar question"!
This shortage problem occurs nationwide and efficiency of the offices is thus seriously hampered. It is therefore imperative that new and experienced officers should be quickly recruited. Additionally, the bankruptcy/insolvency officers need to be more effective in the supervision of bankrupts.
There are cases where people who have been declared as bankrupts still continue to enter into contracts.
These transactions are unenforceable under the law. Many bankrupts are getting away scot free due to the lack of enforcement by the bankruptcy/insolvency office. The bankruptcy/insolvency office needs to buck up to address this matter the earliest possible.
I also propose that the web site of the Bankruptcy/insolvency office needs to publish the names of persons declared as bankrupts. This way any person can easily verify the status of an individual before entering into a contract with him/her.
* M. Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman & MP for Ipoh Barat