Govt to raise bankruptcy threshold

The Insolvency Department recorded 21,844 bankruptcy cases over the past 5 years involving those aged below 35

pic by BERNAMA

THE government is working to raise the bankruptcy threshold by amending the legislation which currently sets the limit at RM50,000, Law Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan (picture) said.

Takiyuddin told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that a bill to amend Section 5(1)(a) of the Insolvency Act 1967 is expected to be tabled in the current sitting, promising individuals and businesses room to manoeuvre amid their struggles to survive the Covid-19 crisis.

The minimum threshold was last increased from RM30,000 to the current amount in 2017.

“We will table an amendment to the Act which will involve a new bankruptcy threshold.

“I cannot make an announcement on this yet, but it will be presented in this sitting,” he said in response to a supplementary question by Hannah Yeoh (Pakatan Harapan-Segambut) on a possible higher threshold.

Lukanisman Awang Sauni (GPS-Sibuti), who posed the initial question to the minister, said recent data on the number of bankruptcies filed among individuals under the age of 35 were worrying. Insolvency Department recorded 21,844 bankruptcy cases over the past five years involving those aged below 35.

The figure accounted for 25.8% of the overall number of cases of 84,805 cases reported between 2015 and 2019.

Most bankruptcies were attributed to personal loans with 27,199 cases, followed by hire purchase loans (18,262), home loans (10,658), business loans (8,608) and credit card debt (8,481).

Takiyuddin said the Insolvency Department has announced several initiatives to offer bankrupt individuals some reprieve in light of the pandemic, including a six-month moratorium to ease their burden.

Meanwhile, in a separate question on issues related to contempt of court, Takiyuddin said the government is still studying the need for a special law to deal with such cases.

The Attorney General’s Chambers has been looking into the matter over the last decade with several laws drafted.

He was responding to a question by former Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong (Parti Warisan Sabah-Batu Sapi), who cited Singapore’s Administration of Justice (Protection) Act 2016 as an example.

Takiyuddin said the ministry was conducting studies by comparing several legislations practised in some countries such as the UK, Singapore and India.

Liew also made references to social media postings by government lawmakers whose support for Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak were assumed to have indirectly questioned the court’s verdict on the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial.

There were also attempts to discredit Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali by a non-governmental organisation president Ramesh Rao who claimed the judge was related to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Rao was called to Bukit Aman yesterday to facilitate investigation into the matter.