by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by BLOOMBERG
THE Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) president Datuk Dr Marimuthu Nadason urged consumers to lodge a report to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) if commercial banks refuse to provide a moratorium.
FOMCA said it recently had a virtual meeting with BNM senior officers and raised several issues on the banking and insurance industry.
During the meeting, BNM shared initiatives and advised consumers who are burdened by the bank loans due to the pandemic to contact the respective banks for the moratorium.
The central bank also mentioned that the commercial banks have been receiving a lot of calls with regards to moratorium and loan assistance. Consumers are advised to contact their respective insurance companies or agents for further information.
FOMCA called for all insurance companies to look after their customers especially the elderly during this time.
“We have received feedback that many elderly citizens had their insurance lapsed due to a spike in their premiums. BNM officers also mentioned that they will look into the Medical Inflation investigation as the insurance industry is using this as a reason to increase medical premiums.
“We applaud this decision and we hope in the future BNM will play an important role in regulating any hikes in premiums using medical inflation as a reason,” said Marimuthu.
FOMCA also advised consumers who are facing financial difficulties and are unable to manage their debts, especially those with multiple loans such as housing and car loans, to contact Credit Counselling and Debt Management (AKPK) as soon as possible to obtain suitable repayment assistance and free financial advice.
AKPK will provide counselling or if necessary, would help to restructure multiple loans giving serious priority to the consumers’ welfare.
“There are issues of job loss, income loss, family pressures and problems, an increase of mental health issues and a whole series of stresses and pressures on individuals, households and families.
“For every family, certainly one of the biggest concerns is keeping their loan obligations for their homes or car. With economic stresses, there is a very real possibility that they could lose their homes, cars or other assets,” said Marimuthu.
He stressed that this is certainly not a time for lending institutions to carry out business as usual and that banks need to play a more compassionate role in helping consumers facing genuine problems to go through this difficult period.
Consumers can reach out to BNM via BNMTELELINK at 1-300-88-5465. BNM also informed that insurance companies are offering a three months moratorium.