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Govt to listen to all views on request for loan moratorium extension, says Mustapa

JELI (June 28): The government will listen to the views of all parties, especially Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and local banks, in deciding on the request for the extension of the loan repayment moratorium period, which is scheduled to end on Sept 30.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (pictured) said the move must be studied carefully as it is of utmost importance to stimulate the country’s economy after being affected by Covid-19.

“As a caring government, we have to listen to the views of all parties, including the people, businesses and local banks that say the request is difficult to implement as it would put pressure on them.

"What the government decided to do prior to this has significantly reduced the burden of the people and business community. At present, our focus is to spur the economic sectors. Through stronger growth, the call to extend the moratorium (deferment) period would lessen,” he said. 

He was speaking to reporters today after officiating the Digital Economy Generation Programme at the Jeli Dakwah Centre (Pondok Moden), which was attended by about 100 small entrepreneurs as well as representatives of government agencies such as the East Coast Economic Region Development Council and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

On March 25, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a six-month moratorium, conversion of credit card balance to term loans and restructuring of corporate loans in an initiative estimated to be worth at least RM100 billion.

The moratorium, which began on April 1, was introduced to ease the burden faced by small and medium enterprises as well as individuals.

Mustapa pointed out that to date, 90% of the business sectors had resumed operations albeit at below the desired volume, such as the hotel and retail sectors which had yet to return to their pre-pandemic levels of activity.

“If the economic situation continues to be bleak, the government may consider requests such as extending the moratorium period. However, we are confident that the economy would improve further,” he said.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said today that it is up to the banks if they want to extend the moratorium in a targeted way, and that it should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

On the five high-impact projects planned for Kelantan, Mustapa said he was scheduled to be briefed by the Kelantan Public Works Department later in the day on their progress status, which was said to be quite slow.

These projects are the construction of Phase 3 of the East Coast Expressway (LPT3), expansion and upgrading of the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, the new Pasir Puteh-Machang-Jeli route, the Kota Bharu-Kuala Krai Expressway and the Palekbang-Kota Bharu Bridge.

On March 7 last year, then economic affairs minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali announced that the federal government had approved an additional RM200 million allocation for the state’s development, raising the total allocation for Kelantan under the Mid-Term Review of the 11th Malaysia Plan to RM1.4 billion.

 

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