by AZALEA AZUAR / pic by ARIF KARTONO
THE Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) urges the government to intervene on the failure of credit and leasing companies to extend a loan moratorium to bus operators.
“It is high time for the government to regulate these credit and leasing companies under the provisions of the Financial Services Act 2013 or other relevant legislation,” Matta president Datuk Tan Kok Liang (picture) said in a statement yesterday.
The association also requests the government to consider appropriate and necessary actions to ensure that the actions of credit and leasing companies are in line and compatible with the welfare, public interest and good order of the nation during this time of unprecedented crisis.
“It is ironic that despite being in the business of lending and leasing, credit and leasing companies are not regulated under Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM),” Tan said.
“It has been more than six months that the tourism industry, in particular the coach operators, has been highlighting this issue, yet to date no proactive action has been seen taken to tackle this serious issue,” he added.
Tan cited a media report which stated that about 10,000 bus operators are currently owing up to RM3 billion of debt in total.
“Bus operators have had no business since March, yet they are still required to make repayments to the credit and leasing companies,” added Tan.
“This matter was previously brought up in March 2020 when we received complaints from our members that leasing and credit companies had created their own rules and practices in respect of moratoriums on repayment of loans instead of applying the directions issued by BNM,” he said further.
Additionally, Tan pointed out that Budget 2021 only provided for sales tax exemption for purchase of new coaches, without acknowledging the reality that many coach owners have and will default in repayment obligations.
“Matta sees no effort and measures in the proposed budget to address these and other industry issues. Failure to address the issues and concerns of the tourism sector will greatly affect the intended tourism restart in the near future in 2021 and may lead some parties to conclude that the government views the industry as dead in 2021,” he said.
Tan also claimed that none of the relevant ministries directly involved have shown any interest in resolving the predicament of the tourism industry.