24,000 Youths Aged 24 To 25 Seek Debt Assistance From AKPK

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 (Bernama) -- Up to 24,000, or 15 per cent of the 160,000 individuals who seek Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK)'s assistance through its debt management programme are youths aged between 24 to 25.

A statement released by AKPK today said poor financial planning was the major financial difficulty faced by its clients, making up 50.1 per cent of the cases received.

Other cases included failure or slowdown in business, high medical expenses, high cost of living and retrenchment, it said.

AKPK Chief Executive Officer Azaddin Ngah Tasir, however, said students were not among the young debtors mentioned above.

Speaking to reporters here today after attending the appreciation event of AKPK's pilot project, the Social Enterprise Literacy For Youth (SELFY), Azaddin said as of Sept 30, 2016, a total of 11,481 individuals had fully settled their outstanding debts through the debt management programme offered by AKPK, and paid off a cumulative amount of RM465 million.

He said to date, more than 500,000 individuals have attended AKPK's counselling services.

"Out of that number, around 160,000 customers have applied to enrol into our debt management programme," he said.

Azaddin said by year-end another 1,000 individuals are expected to complete the debt management programme, which began in 2006 to help clients restructure and fully settle their debts.

AKPK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank Negara, was established in April 2006 to provide an avenue for individual and potential borrowers to seek advice and assistance in managing their finances and debts.

The agency also provides free financial education, counselling and debt management programmes.

Azaddin said the three-month SELFY project, which began in December 2015, aims to educate youths aged between 18 to 25 on financial matters, stressing their social responsibilities as well as creating awareness among young adults by providing them hands-on experience.

"A RM1,000 fund was loaned by AKPK to each of the 30 groups in three higher education institutions, namely Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Taylor's University and MySkill Foundation, to run their businesses.

"Each group has returned the capital of RM1,000, and in fact, every group has made a profit from the project and donated to charities," he said.

Also present was Bernama Chairman Datuk Seri Azman Ujang.