GPS Government Urged To Step In To Help Sarawakians With Repayments On Housing Loans

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Press Statement By Irene Chang:

The GPS Government should step in to help Sarawakians who have difficulty in the repayments of their housing loans for the duration of Covid 19 pandemic.

Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, Sarawakians in the B40 and M40 segments have found it increasingly difficult to pay their housing loan as they lack sufficient financial savings. In fact, according to the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA), there is an increase in the number of properties being sold in Sarawak in 2020 as they were being sold off by homeowners in order to manage the financial hardships caused by the pandemic.

Even though, a blanket loan moratorium was imposed by the Federal government last year to assist households and SMEs, this moratorium has since expired on 30 September 2020. And even though since then, the banks in Malaysia had been offering targeted repayment assistance, there are still many Sarawakians who are still facing the housing loan repayment crisis as was caused by either a loss of employment or from a much reduced income. In fact, many of these people have reached the stage where they are extremely stressed out from fear of eventually losing their homes due to their inability to pay the loan instalments.

Given the dire state in which these Sarawakian home owners are in, I call upon the State Government to step in and offer to subsidise at least part of these housing loan repayments in cases where the defaulters are genuinely adversely affected by the MCO. It is noted that in BKSS 5, there was no such financial assistance for these homeowners. With the huge state reserve of RM31 billion and the payment of RM2.95 billion in sale tax by Petronas to the State Government in 2020 (with more payment to be expected for year 2020), surely the State Government can afford to come up with a mechanism to help genuine cases of homeowners from the B40 and M40 groups in the payment of their loan instalments. In order to ensure that only the genuine cases are being assisted, mechanism should be put in place for these applicants to prove their loss of employment or of reduced income through their EPF and SOSCO payments.

Given that the economy is not expected to recover any time soon, now is the time for the State Government to consider utilising part of the huge state reserve to help the people to protect them from losing their homes.