Bus operators urged to step forward to resolve debt issues

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI 

BUS operators, who are saddled with rental debts following the pandemic, are told to seek the loan assistance offered through the Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019 [Covid-19]) Bill 2020.

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) said due to the effect of the Covid-19, the ministry through the Prime Minister’s Office has extended the effective period for the bill from March 2021 to June 2021.

“Following the government’s concern and sensitivity to the effects of the Covid-19, the effective period has been extended from April to June 2021.

“KPDNHEP urges the affected bus operators to talk to financial institutions or credit companies who are managing their hire-purchase agreement about the eligibility of the moratorium offered, payment restructuring or vehicle financing or loan restructuring,” KPDNHEP said in a statement yesterday.

It added that the extended period of the bill will help alleviate the burden of bus operators in managing rental debts and prevent repossession when the instalment payments are not made.

“The bus operator can conduct consultations with the financial institutions or credit companies to negotiate about the eligibility of the moratorium, or restructuring of loan and financing.

“They are also encouraged to visit the Covid-19 Mediation Centre (PMC-19), which was established by the government to help the public resolve disputes related to the inability to perform any contractual obligations.

“PMC-19 can help the B40 and M40 (bottom and middle 40%) groups, as well as the small and medium businesses in the micro and small categories, by subsidising the cost of the mediation process.

“KPDNHEP hopes bus operators could benefit from the assistance provided by the government and obtain the relevant guidance to restructure their financing and loans during the Covid-19 pandemic,” it said.

Previously, KPDNHEP Deputy Minister Datuk Rosol Wahid said only 30% of over 1,000 bus operators in the country have applied for the financing and loan restructuring.

As of last week, Rosol said 267 bus operators had applied for restructuring and 195 were approved, while the remaining 74 companies’ applications were rejected due to various factors including high outstanding areas.