DAP’s plea to the PN Government to extend the existing moratorium on bank loans by another 6 months when it expires on 30 September 2020, has gained further ground when Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz revealed that banks had lost a total of RM6.4 billion since the implementation of the 6-month moratorium.
This is a small price to pay for the banking industry when 93% or 7.7 million individual borrowers and over 245,000 small and medium enterprises(SMEs) or 95%, had benefited from the six-month moratorium which was implemented on April 1. After all the banking industry earned an estimated RM32 billion in after-tax profits for 2019.
RM 32 billion in after-tax profits for 2019 should provide sufficient cover for banks to bear the RM6.4 billion cost of delivering on their corporate social responsibility of extending moratorium of bank loans by another 6 months to aid their customers during the Covid-19 economic crisis. Even if the banks are unwilling to cough up the RM6.4 billion, the Federal government can bear the cost of RM6.4 billion to aid the 7.7 million individual borrowers and 245,000 SMEs.
Further the RM6.4 billion cost is small compared to the tens of billions of ringgit in additional loans over and above the 2020 Budget loan provisions to finance the COVID-19 economic stimulus package. Failure to do so would only give rise to suspicion that the RM 295 billion stimulus package is only heard but not felt, benefiting certain well-connected groups but not ordinary Malaysians and SMEs.
DAP urges Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to immediately announce the extension of the moratorium of bank loans by another 6 months to assure ordinary Malaysians and reassure SMEs and businesses that they are not forgotten or alone in facing the current economic crisis.