By Christopher Lidom
KUCHING, October 16: National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) opined that the extension of the blanket moratorium for three months will not burden banks as it will only mean deferred payments for loans of about RM6 billion.
Its secretary general J. Solomon in a press statement today said, this is a fraction of the RM32 billion after tax profit banks are expected to reap for 2019, and the RM6 billion is not a loss incurred by the banks, but merely a delay in collecting the amount from customers once the economy is on better footing and a blanket moratorium is no longer needed.
“As the umbrella body for non-executive employees in the banking sector, NUBE has formally asked the Malaysian Commercial Banks Association to consider getting its members to provide a blanket moratorium on loan repayments for NUBE members until the end of the year.
“However, we also strongly urge the government and banks to provide the moratorium for all those in the Below 40 (B40) and Medium 40 (M40) as well as the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as they remain hard hit by the Covid-19 economic fallout. The CMCO must prod the government into reinstating the blanket moratorium without any delays.
“The failure to do so will wreak havoc and create large clusters of families mired in poverty and unable to sustain themselves, as well as failed SMEs, all due to their inability to repay their loans as a result of the government and banks ignorance of their hardships,” he said.
Solomon noted, the latest Khazanah Research Institute report has showed a glaring disparity in the income and savings among Malaysian households with the 10 per cent of households (T10) commanded 30.7 per cent of total income in 2019, while the bottom 20 per cent of households (B20) share was only 5.9 per cent.
He said in the same year which was Covid free, the top 10 per cent of households had gross savings of RM12,653 per month on average, while the bottom 10 per cent had only RM200.
“Going by this figure alone, the government should step in and get banks to provide a blanket loan moratorium for the B40 and M40 families as well as SMEs at least until December 2020.
“The rakyat and SMEs ability to repay their loans must not be based on simplistic calculations as is the case of the conditions attached with the targeted moratorium introduced by banks starting this month,” he added.
At the same time, Solomon also expressed his regrets that the banks have imposed conditions which ignore the financial realities of most Malaysian households and SMEs.
“As a result many families and SMEs are “unqualified” to apply for the targeted moratorium. A blanket moratorium for a limited time will ensure no one is left out in the government’s effort to protect the livelihood of the people and sustain the SMEs during this most difficult period,” he said. –DayakDaily.