Article from BERNAMA, 21 November 2014
KOTA KINABALU, Nov 21 (Bernama) -- Wong (not his real name) was once a businessman mired in debts. He lived through a nightmare, pondering how to free himself from the debts.
The creditors were pushing him to the corner and he faced the prospect of losing all his assets and becoming a bankrupt.
However, Wong could count his blessings as he could turn to a party in his hour of need.
And the agency is the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK), which was set up in April 2006.
After seeking advice from AKPK, an agency under Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Wong has come a long way in settling his debt with monthly instalments of RM6,000 compared with RM20,000 before his debts were restructured.
Aziz (not his real name), a taxi driver, was also in a similar predicament.
He raked up a considerable amount of debts through his seven credit cards, though each card's limit was only between RM3,000 and RM4,000.
However, his small earning as a taxi driver was not sufficient to cover the monthly repayments. Aziz's misery ended with AKPK's help.
Wong and Aziz are among the 271,694 individuals who had sought financial counselling from the agency.
AKPK has helped thousands of people trapped in debt though its counselling and financial management programmes.
AKPK's head of credit counselling for Sabah, Idris Kasim, said the agency's role went beyond helping people settle debts.
"The agency also disseminates knowledge in prudent financial management to help people better manage their finances and live within their means while achieving their goals in life," he told Bernama
AKPK would discuss with the individual on ways to manage his money and cash assets, plan a budget and manage debts effectively and invest in secured saving and investing schemes, he said.
"However, AKPK's role in helping people settle their debts with financial institutions through Credit Management Programme is what sought-after by many," he said.
Idris said AKPK would help individuals restructure the debts and reschedule their repayments.
"The debt repayment scheme proposed by AKPK is normally well-received by the financial institutions. It is often the banks are the ones who refer them to us (AKPK).
"The credit management programme is a once-only privilege. Meaning, successful individuals accepted into the programme have to show their commitment in repaying the debts within the stipulated period," he said.
He said the programme was for those debtors who had yet to undergo court action that included foreclosure on their assets and that the debtor was in no position to manage his/her debt.
Also, those who apply for the programme must have sufficient income to pay for the rescheduled installments and that their debts have to be unsecured and made with financial institutions under BNM, he said.
As for those in Sabah, they can contact AKPK through 088-538355 or visit the agency's branch at 1st Floor, Bangunan Bank Negara Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu.
They could also go to AKPK Counselling Centre at First Floor, HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd in Sandakan on the every third Monday of the month or AKPK Counselling Centre in Tawau on First Floor, RHB Bank Tawau, Kompleks Fajar on every third Friday of the month.