Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Household debt in Malaysia – Is it sustainable?

altAccording to the Bank Negara’s Annual Report 2010, Malaysia’s household debt at end of 2010 was RM 581 billion or 76% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The Bank claimed that the household debt is still manageable because of income growth, high levels of savings and favourable employment opportunities.

However, if we look at household debt from the point of disposable income then the picture painted is worrisome because it reveals that households are spending about half of their income to pay off their debts.

How hire-purchase amendments protect consumers

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The Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs should continue to protect consumers by strictly enforcing the Hire-Purchase Act 1967 (HPA) and the recent amendments which came into effect on 15 June 2011.

Those in the motor business are complaining that their sales are down by 20-30% and they attribute it to the amendments though they also acknowledge that the amendments do protect consumers.

Is Our Cyber Security Non-Existent?

The issue of the Latin American gang that hacked into some of Malaysia’s ATM’s (automated teller machines) and absconded with a little over RM 3 million is both frightening and eye-opening. It should be an indication to us that our cyber security is grossly lacking and perhaps our money and personal information are not as safe as we once thought them to be.

Abolish the Service Charge

The Consumers Association of Penang is surprised not only by the fact that our government has given in to pressure so easily and allowed the service charge to remain, but also at the reason given as to why the charge is necessary. The statement made by the secretary-general of the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad, is that “the basic wages in some hotels is RM350.00” and that “potential employees will shy away from working in the industry if the take home pay is too low”.


Developers Should Not Provide Housing Loans

The Consumers Association of Penang is strongly against the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry’s decision to allow developers to give out loans under the Money Lenders Act 1951 (Amendment ) 2011 . According to the Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar this is a win-win situation.

With all due respect, there is only one obvious winner from this scheme and that is the developer. After all Noh were also quoted as saying that “Our intention is to help developers sell the houses they have built”. Is the Government shifting the burden of unsold units to consumers?