KUALA LUMPUR (March 25): The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has welcomed Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)’s directive to financial institutions to provide a six-month reprieve on loan instalment payments amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, MTUC said the central bank’s directive has brought huge relief, especially to individuals, many of whom are low salaried workers, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are going through tough times on account of the virus.
“Of all the measures announced thus far to lessen the suffering of the rakyat, MTUC regards yesterday’s announcement by Bank Negara, as the single most important step in helping people and businesses survive the highly destructive effects of COVID-19,” it said.
In light of BNM’s directive, the organisation is calling for banks to quickly come out with clear guidelines for their customers on how they will implement central bank's instructions.
At the same time, it is urging BNM to ensure that individual customers and businesses do not incur any extra interest or payments during the moratorium period, as only by ensuring that there are no hidden costs, will the central bank’s moratorium be “meaningful and have its desired impact”.
It urged banks to consider abolishing late payment penalties and reducing monthly interest charges for one year to further ease household expenses.
MTUC is also seeking for banks to provide some form of flexibility to credit cardholders who are impacted by COVID-19 when settling monthly dues, particularly as most transactions will now be done through credit card and online channels in view of the movement control order.
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