As MCO 3.0 looms, DAP rep urges for automatic three-month bank loan moratorium, cash aid

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Penang state exco for Infrastructure and Transportation Zairil Khir Johari speaks to reporters at Komtar in George Town April 27, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang state exco for Infrastructure and Transportation Zairil Khir Johari speaks to reporters at Komtar in George Town April 27, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — Putrajaya should mandate for an automatic loan moratorium by banks for three months and offer cash aid to Malaysians during the latest iteration of the movement control order (MCO 3.0), DAP assistant national publicity secretary Zairil Khir Johari said.

He said the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, as well as youths, desperately need the money seeing as to how they are some of the poorer and most affected demographics.

“With SMEs employing almost half of Malaysia’s labour force, a loan moratorium would have an immediate impact to this important sector of the economy. Business owners can improve their cash flow while employees will be encouraged by increased job security.

“With the youth unemployment rate recording a worrying high of 13.9 per cent earlier this year and unemployment generally hovering around the 4.8 per cent mark, a loan moratorium would undoubtedly help save many jobs.

“More importantly, a loan moratorium such as the one implemented last year would provide instant relief to millions of borrowers besides lubricating the economy with some badly needed liquidity,” he said.

Zairil also said the bottom 40 per cent (B40) and middle 40 per cent (M40) household groups should be helped as well. He suggested giving a monthly RM1,000 aid to the former and RM500 to the latter for the duration of MCO 3.0.

“On top of that, it has also been apparent that the pandemic has most affected the lower earners in society disproportionately more. Not only are they victims of double standards in the enforcement of SOPs, most of the so-called economic aid packages are also inaccessible to them,” he said.

“On top of the loan moratorium, such a measure will definitely go a long way in assisting those worst hit, especially with the need for online learning as schools are shut once again,” he added.

Malaysia will enter yet another nationwide movement control order beginning May 12. The whole country will be under a lockdown until June 7 necessitated by rapidly rising Covid-19 case numbers.

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