356,900 Individuals Seek AKPK's Advice To Settle Debts

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Article taken from Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 (Bernama) -- The Credit Counselling and Debt Management (AKPK) has counselled 356,935 people since its inception in 2007 until July 31 this year, its Chief Executive Officer, Azaddin Ngah Tasir said.

He said of them, 37.8 per cent or 135,042 individuals underwent the Debt Management Programme (DMP) to restructure their loans with the financial institutions.

"As at end of July this year, 8,321 cases had successfully exited the programme with total outstanding loans of RM345.6 million.

"We find that 80 per cent of our participants were disciplined enough to follow what we had planned for them.

"And I hope they will continue to commit to the change and recover," he told reporters at the 'Jelajah Bijak Wang' campaign at UTC Pudu Sentral here Saturday.

Organised by the Ministry of Finance and AKPK, the campaign, which runs until December nationwide, was officiated by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abd Ghani.

However, Azaddin said AKPK could not help individuals who borrowed money from 'Ah Long' (loan sharks) or illegal moneylenders.

He advised individuals in dire need of assistance to seek help from AKPK, instead of engaging a third party for financial advice.

"We received numerous reports about borrowers being cheated by a third party who offered to help them. Instead, the third party brought the matter to us (AKPK) after charging them a consultation fee," he said.

Meanwhile, Johari said the government was overly concern about the household debt level that had reached 87 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and urged the public to exercise prudence in personal finance.

He said excessive spending on credit cards and outstanding personal loans were worrying as they could affect loan repayments for residential property and vehicle.

"Owning a property and a vehicle is crucial as they are a necessity. However, I fear for the other two (outstanding personal loans and credit card debts) as they could destroy individual's self and assets, family institution and the nation," he said.

On the weakening ringgit, he said it had no bearing in individual debt restructuring carried out by banks under the AKPK's programme as it was done in ringgit denomination.