Extend moratorium for those really in need

KUALA LUMPUR – The government should consider announcing an extension of the moratorium loan period in Budget 2021 to help lighten the financial burden of individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Putra Business School Senior Lecturer Associate Professor Dr Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff said banks, especially those government-linked such as Agro Bank, were still capable of providing loan moratoriums.

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“Agro Bank, for example, is under the Ministry of Finance, what is wrong with providing the moratorium to farmers because they contribute back to the country’s agro-food industry,” he said when speaking on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara program that discussed the topic, “Budget 2021: What do the people want”, yesterday night.

Ahmed Razman said commercial banks were also seen to be able to implement the loan moratorium when eight local banks reportedly recorded total pre-tax profits amounting to RM35 billion, for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019.

In fact, he said, second-quarterly reports showed that they were still making profits despite some banks announcing that they would not be giving interim dividends to shareholders.

Apart from that, he said the government should focus on offering new job opportunities via the digital economy.

“We cannot do the same things year in, year out but expect different results, so the government must be brave to try new things in the digital economy or for the use of technology by the younger generation.

“They (younger generation) are creative and innovative, and if given the opportunity to upgrade their skills and knowledge, they can generate income through non-traditional jobs, even crossing national borders as long as it adds value to existing industries,” he said.

Towards that end, Malaysian Youth Council president Jufitri Joha wants the government to give priority to improving digital facilities, including broadband network, especially in the rural areas to ensure youths can easily carry out entrepreneurial activities through digital platforms.

Services offered through social media can help unemployed graduates earn a livelihood once they graduate, he said.

— BERNAMA