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Tackling ah long issue through education

  • Why go to ah longs when you can seek low-interest credit from the government's micro credit schemes?

Sin Chew Daily

The police have recently crushed a nationwide illegal moneylending syndicate, the biggest of its kind in recent years.

The activities of illegal lending syndicates have been anything but predictable, and some are carried out over the cyberspace, making it very hard for the authorities to track down and apprehend the culprits. No doubt, the police have done a superb job this time.

Police statistics show that some 340 cases of crime related to illegal moneylenders were lodged during the first three months this year. Their activities have been very rampant and involve not only illegal credit provision but also acts of violence. Borrowers who fail to pay back their debts on time will be threatened or treated with violence. They not only have to worry about the huge sums of money they owe, but must also come under tremendous psychological pressure and constantly live in fear.

According to MCA's public services and complaints bureau, most of the borrowers have been involved in gambling and other illicit activities. Gamblers are doubtlessly the easiest targets of loan sharks. They have owed massive sums of money to these ah longs all because of their own greed and lust, bringing unimaginable trouble not only to themselves but also their families.

Similar news have made frequent newspaper headlines, and the illegal lending industry has been able to thrive thanks to the rising demand from people attempting to seek easy credit via illegal means.

MCA's public services and complaints bureau has proposed that while actively pursuing the illegal syndicates, the government should also consider making laws to concurrently punish people borrowing from these syndicates.

Indeed, taking stern legal actions against borrowers could serve to warn and discourage other potential borrowers, but not all the borrowers seeking financial help from illegal moneylenders are gamblers. Many have to turn to loan sharks because of failed businesses or cashflow crunch, and borrowing from these syndicates is way easier and more convenient than seeking credits from banks or other legal institutions.

For those who borrow because of failed businesses or other forms of financial problems, perhaps we should instill in them the right attitude of managing their finances and educate them the right financial management approach so that they will not fall into the trap of loan sharks.

As a matter of fact, micro credit funds have been set up by the government and political parties to assist individuals keen to start their own businesses or are short of cashflow to sustain their businesses, including the 1Malaysia Hawkers and Petty Traders Foundation (YPPKM), Selangor Hijrah Scheme and the Malaysian Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Foundation, just to name a few.

The government and the relevant authorities should actively promote such loan schemes and funds in providing easy low-interest loans to those in need so as to keep them away from ah longs.


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