The government says that while it cannot force banks to provide an extension to the six-month moratorium on loans and financing repayments, it will hold talks with banks on the matter, as The Star and Bernama both report. This comes following numerous requests by the public to extend the deferment period, which began on April 1 and ends on September 30.

Finance minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said it is up to the banks if they wish or were able to extend the loan moratorium. “There have been requests from those who need more time for the moratorium. On the government’s part, we are still engaging with the banks and it is really up to them whether they can or cannot,” he said.

However, he expressed a personal view that an extension of the moratorium could be done in a targeted manner, where an extension could be looked at by banks on a case-to-case basis. “As a personal view, we need to help those who are in need of help. Going forward, I think the best (way) is we focus on the targeted groups who need help,” he said.

He advised those who needed to reschedule their loan repayments, especially those who have lost their jobs and had their pay reduced, to start discussing with their banks and not wait until the moratorium expires. “Please go see your bank and discuss restructuring,” he said.

Under the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) had on March 25 proposed measures to assist individuals, small and medium enterprises (SME) and corporates affected by Covid-19, in which an automatic moratorium on all loan repayments for six months was announced.

Those with hire purchase car loans or fixed-rate Islamic financing will enjoy a six-month relief, with only the duration of the tenure shifted by an additional six months. There is no change to instalment payments after the moratorium period ends, nor will there be any additional interest charged during the period.