KUALA LUMPUR: Business operators desperate for loans may fall for scams if licensed moneylenders are still barred from operating during the movement control order (MCO) period, it has been pointed out.
Malaysian Punjabi Licensed Money Lenders Association (PLMA) president Palwinder Singh said several associations met with Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin on April 6, asking to be allowed to operate during the MCO period.
“The ministry agreed that licensed moneylenders can operate twice a week during the MCO period, subject to approval by the National Security Council and the International Trade and Industry Ministry.
“However, there has been no news since. We hope the government can decide soon,” he said when contacted.
Palwinder said the association’s 700 members wanted to resume serving their clients, who included petty traders and others in the low-
“We have received a lot of calls from clients, but we are not allowed to open yet,” he added.
If the green light is given, Palwinder said the government should also look into issues involving Commissioners for Oaths and the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).
“Loan documentations need to be verified by a Commissioner for Oaths and sent for stamping at LHDN before the loans can be issued,” he said.
MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said he had received appeals from hawkers and small businesses, saying they could not obtain loans.
“They rely on licensed moneylenders for loans. Without help, I fear they will have to close shop,” he said, adding that such businesses were facing hardship during the MCO period.
Chong said even Ah Longs had ceased their work.
“Their runners often collect debts at night but with the MCO, they dare not do so as they might get caught,” he said.
Chong added that there were fears that business operators would fall prey to loan scams.
“It is only right for licensed moneylenders to be allowed to operate soon,” he said.
Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Zakaria Ahmad recently said only 41 cases involving Ah Longs had been reported since the start of the MCO on March 18 till April 9, compared to 218 before that.“Losses suffered by the victims also dropped from RM15.7mil to RM362,000,” he said.
The CCID also recorded 303 fake loan cases, with losses amounting to RM3.81mil.
Comm Zakaria said between Jan 1 and March 17, a total of 1,180 cases were recorded with losses totalling RM13.14mil.
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