KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — The banking industry should waive interest payments during the loan moratorium period since the second quarter of 2021 has indicated a reasonable profit margin for banks, said former finance minister Lim Guan Eng.
He said taking interest and profits from distressed borrowers is not really the “Keluarga Malaysia” or “Malaysian Family” way as advocated by newly-appointed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“The banking industry is expected to significantly improve on their profitability this year compared to 2019, as shown by Maybank’s net profit for the second quarter ended June 30, 2021, doubling to RM1.96 billion from RM941.73 million last year,” Lim said in a statement.
He added that Maybank recorded RM2.39 billion net profits in the first quarter of 2021, compared with RM2.05 billion last year.
“There is a need for the winners of the Covid-19 pandemic and economic recession to help those who lost their jobs and businesses as well as struggling to find work or survive. One of the winners is the banking industry, whose profits continue to rise.
“The banking industry recorded after-tax profits of RM32.3 billion in 2019 and more than RM23 billion in 2020 despite the economic recession,” Lim said.
The Bagan MP asked how many companies will be in the same comfort zone as Maybank in enjoying better profits this year compared to last year.
“Whilst focus is placed on winning the battle against Covid-19 and saving lives, immediate attention must be given to saving livelihoods of countless Malaysians and businesses destroyed by the current economic recession.
“The current government must stop the double standards in enforcement, the policy flip-flops, the U-turns in SOPs and failures to vaccinate earlier, implement robust testing programme and mass screenings,” he said.
Lim said it is imperative that the lessons of the past must not be forgotten.
“Bloomberg placed Malaysia last out of 53 of the world’s largest economies surveyed for Bloomberg’s monthly Covid Resilience Ranking, in the country’s ability to provide some sense of normalcy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Everyone knows what has gone wrong despite the imposition of serial movement control orders and the Emergency Proclamation,” he said.