PETALING JAYA: Banks should continue to offer loan repayment assistance to individuals and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in need, says Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
In a statement, Anwar, who is also the finance minister, said this assistance should include helping affected parties to reschedule and restructure their loans.
At the same time, troubled borrowers can get free advice and loan repayment assistance through the Credit Counseling and Management Agency (AKPK), he said.
“I am satisfied with the commitment shown by banking institutions that are ready to help the people and SMEs,” Anwar said in a press release.
Anwar also reminded the banking industry that it plays an important role in driving post-pandemic economic growth, especially in helping borrowers who are still financially affected by the pandemic.
Anwar added that he held a dialogue session with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) deputy governor Jessica Chew and bank representatives on Wednesday to obtain their ideas and views about the economy.
He said among the topics discussed were policies to ensure that the financial industry can support sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and on strengthening Malaysia’s value proposition among regional and global investors.
Anwar said the banking industry should continue to support the development of micro-entrepreneurs through initiatives which offer startup capital and micro-financing using combined funds from financial institutions and social financial sources such as zakat.
Last week, Anwar urged BNM to provide measures to mitigate the impact felt by small businesses caused by the central bank raising the interest rate on interbank loans.
Anwar said the increase in the overnight policy rate (OPR) must be supplemented with measures to reduce the burden on these smaller borrowers, including by offering loan moratoriums.