Port worker in a fix after RM4,000 debt surges to RM25,000

Michael Tay listening to Mohd pouring out his woes at the Johor MCA Complaints Bureau recently.

All of us are facing different challenges in the Covid-19 pandemic. Some are wondering when is their next meal coming, some are worried about their health, their income, and so much more.

Mohd, 39, is worried about facing the wrath of 12 loan sharks and settling his debt of RM25,000.

Mohd (not his real name) had initially borrowed RM4,000 from a loan shark in March. The port worker had agreed to pay the loan shark RM800 every week. He has borrowed money from loan sharks  in the past but settling the debts was never a problem then, as he has a monthly salary and a part-time job.

But due to the Movement Control Order, Mohd was not able to do any part-time work and he had turned to other loan sharks.  Now the amount has swelled to RM25,000 and he has 12 loan sharks to deal with.

None of the loan sharks has taken any physical action against Mohd yet but they have been nudging him via WhatsApp to pay up or interest will be accrued daily if he fails to settle the payment, which is currently a total of RM8,000 to be paid among the 12 loan sharks per week.

“It’s not that I do not want to pay but I only get my salary once a month and I can’t go out to work part-time.  How can I pay every week?”

Mohd has sought Johor MCA Government and Coordinating Affairs chairman Michael Tay’s help to get him out of his predicament.

Tay said he would liaise with the loan sharks on Mohd’s behalf to ask if they could waive the daily interest.

“Mohd has promised to settle his debt after the MCO but he would not be able to do so if the interest keeps adding up.

“I will discuss with the loan sharks to see if they are willing to withhold charging the interest until after the lockdown,” Tay said.

Tay’s advice to the public is to take up delivery jobs as there are many food operators looking for delivery services.

“That is the only way for people, especially sole breadwinners to put food on the table for their family,” he said.

Tay also called on the government to expedite the disbursement of financial assistance of RM600 for a maximum period of six months under the Perikatan Nasional economic stimulus package to employees who are forced to take unpaid leave.

The third phase of the MCO in Malaysia started today.  The first phase was from March 18 to 31, followed by the second phase from April 1 to April 14.

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