Article from The New Straits Times dated 12 February 2014
KUALA LUMPUR: Individuals earning less than RM24,000 a year formed the majority of those who sought credit counselling and debt management advice from the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) last year.
Its chairman, Datuk Mohd Hanif Sher Mohamed, said 248,491 Malaysians received counselling last year compared with 207,997 the year before.
Of the number, 95,472 enrolled into the agency's Debt Management Programme (DMP), with males making up 65.3 per cent and females the remaining 31.1 per cent.
Of these, 16,336 were between the ages of 20 and 30, 39,916 between 30 and 40; and 39,220 aged 40 years and above.
From the number, 52.6 per cent had an annual income of below RM24,000, 18.8 per cent between RM24,000 and RM36,000, 13 per cent between RM36,000 and RM40,000, and 15.6 per cent earned more than RM40,000.
Most were married (74.1 per cent), followed by single individuals (15.2 per cent), divorced (4.5 per cent), and widow or widower (1.9 per cent).
The main causes of their financial problems were poor financial planning (22.8 per cent), high medical expenses (18.1 per cent), business failure (15.3 per cent), and uncontrolled credit card usage (11.1 per cent).
It was also caused by job loss (9.9 per cent), high cost of living (4.4 per cent), unexpected financial commitment (4.1 per cent), death or loss of a breadwinner (1.4 per cent), and failed investment (1.1 per cent).
Last year, 4,645 people graduated from the DMP with a total of RM182.5 million debts settled.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Nancy Shukri said the increase in the number of people seeking counselling showed that there was greater awareness on the avenues available to assist them.