Targeted bank assistance ‘inferior’ to 6-month extension, says Guan Eng

Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng says PM Muhyiddin Yassin should have announced an extension to the loan moratorium.

PETALING JAYA: Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng said he was disappointed that Putrajaya did not extend the moratorium on loans, arguing that the targeted bank assistance and selective moratorium extension was a “very much inferior” initiative.

Lim was responding to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement yesterday that up to 98% of applications for moratorium extension (1.4 million borrowers) and targeted bank assistance (380,000 others) had been approved.

But Lim said the number of borrowers was still very much lower than the eight million individual and corporate borrowers who would benefit from an automatic six-month extension.

Lim said the loan moratorium, which will expire on Sept 30, had helped ease the burden on businesses and households affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The value of this loan moratorium to the eight million individual and corporate borrowers is RM90 billion, a huge financial relief that has helped save livelihoods, businesses and jobs.

“The targeted bank assistance and selective moratorium extension is very much inferior to the automatic six-month bank loan moratorium extension.

“The uncertain economic recovery after Malaysia’s contraction of 17.1% of GDP growth in the second quarter, the worst among Asean countries, is not helped by the second wave of Covid-19 infections happening in many foreign countries,” he said in a statement.

Muhyiddin, Lim said, should have listened to the more than 6.2 million borrowers who will be left out when the loan moratorium expires at the end of the month.

Lim had previously called for the moratorium to be extended by another six months.