Tengku Zafrul: Govt can’t decide on moratorium alone

The govt can only introduce or implement policies to help and assist the people


THE government does not have the absolute power to compel banks on moratoriums, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture) said.

He said the government, however, can introduce or implement policies to help and assist the people.

“The government does not decide on moratoriums. The banks will decide and they will give a moratorium to the individuals or companies that require the moratoriums,” Tengku Zafrul told a press conference after attending the Malaysian Banking Conference 2022 today.

He noted that the moratorium on loan repayments was put in place to assist those affected during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Moratorium was implemented when the economy was in difficulties.

“You cannot apply the same solutions during different times. This time the economy is recovering,” he said.

According to him, the bank net financing grew by 4.9% in the second quarter of 2022, higher than the pre-pandemic levels.

He opined that a blanket moratorium mechanism would not work as the banks need to support companies that can survive in the longer term.

Nonetheless, he assured that the government and the banks will continue to support the companies, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“I will discuss with the banks and Bank Negara Malaysia to see how we can continue to assist — we have seen the number (economic growth) is growing so the focus is really to grow the economy,” he added.

Yesterday, Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government will have further discussion on the moratoriums for SMEs with the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry and the Finance Ministry.

The PM’s revelation is in response to the recent proposal by the National Recovery Council chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of a special moratorium for SMEs, especially those who were still struggling to recover from the post pandemic coupled with the rising of the Overnight Policy Rate.