MIEA, MIPEAC call for more measures to help Malaysians impacted by COVID-19


PETALING JAYA (March 18): The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) said there is an urgent need for the government to come up with further measures to help alleviate the financial burden of workers as industries reel from the COVID-19 crisis.

“It looks like the challenging condition will not be over so soon. Salary earners will be impacted, especially those who rely on commission for income. The government and banking sector should play a more important role in helping them to weather the storm,” its president Lim Boon Ping told in a phone interview.

Lim acknowledged that local banks have already offered financial relief to business owners and individuals, such as financing restructuring and rescheduling as well as offering moratorium on loan repayments for up to six months, but said the application criteria or guidelines remained vague.

He added that the applications for the financial relief programme are currently assessed on a case-by-case basis, with no clear guidelines or a set of criteria.

Lim also expects business conditions to get tougher as many employees’ income will be affected.

"Some people may lose their jobs due to company shutdown. So any financial relief will definitely help them to survive this crisis," said Lim.

"Mid-income wage earners are the main contributors to private consumption. They also support housing demand, if they face financial trouble, it will have a severe impact on the country’s economy.

“Hence, the government and banking sector would need to work together to come up with certain measures to reduce their monthly financial commitments for the time being. When times get better, they could be back on track again,” he added.

Lim also suggested that the government delay the quit rent collection or reduce income tax rates.

The MIEA has urged its members to comply with the 14-day Movement Control Order that started from March 18 to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus and stop viewings or social activities until end-March.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Institute of Professional Estate Agents and Consultants (MIPEAC) president Francis Loh lauded the government's move to slow down the spread of the disease but stressed the need to enforce the order or the effort will be in vain.

“The country’s economy won’t improve if we couldn’t bring down the number of COVID-19 cases and everyone will suffer from this,” he told when contacted.

"The faster we could prevent the disease from spreading further and cure those who are being infected, the faster businesses could go back to normal and we can resume efforts to raise individual incomes to support future economic growth," Loh concluded.

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