The Consumers Association of Penang disagrees with those who recently voiced their opinion that the amendments to the Co-operatives Act 1993 will kill the co-operative movement.
Many of our local co-operatives do not operate in the spirit in which co-operatives are founded - which is mutual help to improve the social and economic well being of its members.
Bank charges have become purely a money making scheme for the banks. This is the only logical conclusion since the fees bear no resemblance to the actual cost borne by the banks.
It is time the authorities put a stop to excessive bank charges. (We estimate that banks earned in excess of RM1 billion in 2004 from banking fees and charges.)
Unfair banking charges are many and vary from bank to bank. However looking at some of the fees connected with housing loans is sufficed to show how unreasonable the fees are.
The practice of using concurrent actions to recover loans by banks should be disallowed by Bank Negara. This practice is unfair for it unnecessarily increases the debt of the borrower.
In housing loan agreements, there is a clause which gives the banks the right to recover the debt by filing foreclosure proceedings to auction the property and also a civil suit all at the same time.
The only way to protect Malaysian consumers is to have an Unfair Contract Terms Act similarly to that in the United Kingdom (UK). With such an Act, once the term or clause is deemed unfair, it becomes unenforceable. It then becomes irrelevant to the borrower how many of such unfair terms are in the contract as they are considered null and void.
The disturbing trend whereby banks entice consumers to take up personal loans should be stopped before more consumers fall into the debt trap.