KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership has lauded the government’s move to give interest exemption on loans taken by the B50 group of low-income earners for three months, calling it a big win for Malaysians.
However, they also shared their dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s failure to recognise PH’s role in pushing for the interest exemption, adding that it was part of the agreement in the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government and Opposition.
“Without recognition of our role in the MoU, it can undermine our confidence in the government’s sincerity to uphold the spirit of the MoU, and also contradict the concept of Keluarga Malaysia, which is based on facts and data so that all plans can be pursued together with the unity of the people.
“It is important to clarify that the government initially disagreed with Pakatan Harapan’s proposal to grant exemptions on interest payments to borrowers from the B50 group,” said the PH leadership in a statement.
The leadership — consisting of PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah’s Mohamad Sabu, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng and United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation’s (Upko) Datuk Seri Madius Tangau — said that they had met the finance minister as well as top commercial banks to see that the policy was implemented.
“To ensure this policy can be implemented, the leaders of Pakatan Harapan held a series of meetings not only with the minister of finance but also with the chief executive officers of commercial banks.
“Although initially there were concerns on the part of the banks, however, after a series of engagements, the prime minister agreed with our stance and finally this policy was implemented,” they said.
Yesterday, Ismail Sabri announced that a three-month interest exemption is among the loan repayment support measures being offered to those in the B50 category.
Dubbed the financial resilience and management programme (URUS), Ismail Sabri said this will be offered to affected B50 borrowers who earn a gross household income below RM5,880 a month.
Aside from the three-month interest exemption, other facilities being offered include a reduction of instalment payments for up to two years with a lower interest rate, while those with loans, financings and personal credit cards without guarantees are eligible for reduced interest rates which will help lighten their financial burden.