Malaysian MP urges government to grant loan moratorium to save jobs

Klang MP Charles Santiago has called on the government to grant a six-month moratorium on loans to save small businesses and jobs.
By: | May 17, 2021

This comes as the country is in the third movement control order (MCO) and small businesses are facing cash flow issues and uncertainty. 

A moratorium on loans would help keep businesses in operation, protecting jobs and avoiding staff layoffs, he said in a virtual press conference. 

Banks in Malaysia had made huge profits in 2020 despite the pandemic, he said, adding that “it is an irony that small businesses are closing, but banks are making more money”. As such, he said the government should step in to help small businesses.  

In addition, Santiago also called for an immediate six-month rental relief of between RM2,000 (US$485) and RM3,000 (US$727), as well as a six-month wage subsidy programme. 

To further help small businesses to avoid closures and protect jobs, the government should provide a one-off RM5,000 (US$1,211) and give a 15% discount for water and electricity bills, he said. 

Also at the virtual press conference was Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) vice-president Abdul Mukthahir Ibrahim, who was worried that its association members would fall into the trap of illegal moneylenders if the government does not offer any assistance. 

“We have been advising our members to not fall into this trap, but if they have no other choice, it’s going to be a disaster,” he said.