Married folk and males the main debtors, reveals agency

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Posted on The Star, 26 September

 

By LEE YEN MUN 

yenmun@thestar.com.my

 

PETALING JAYA: Married people appear to be more cash-strapped than those who are single, as they make up 76.8% of those who seek help to overcome their debts.

 

Data obtained from the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency also revealed that most of its financially-troubled clients were males (67.6%) and whose annual income was below RM36,000 (69.6%).

 

A majority of those who received financial counselling with the agency were from the cities, namely Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru accounting for 75.4% of such cases.

 

A total of 160,365 individuals have sought counselling from the agency since its inception in April 2006.

 

“Those enrolled in our programme (were tied) to a combination of mortgage, hire-purchase and credit card commitments.

 

“A smaller majority (8.8%) sought our help purely on credit card debts,” agency head of corporate communications Devinder Singh said.

 

The agency, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank Negara, was set up to provide financial counselling and debt management to individuals.

 

Devinder was responding to a report in The Star on Thursday which highlighted poor spending habits among Malaysians. Apparently, an average of 41 people are declared bankrupt every day due to credit card debts.

 

The report was part of the “Protect Our Pockets” roundtable discussion.

 

According to the data from the agency, debt-ridden individuals admitted that they had poor financial planning skills (25%) and lost control over the use of their credit cards (14%), leading to their plight.

 

Another reason was high medical expenses (26%).