KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 — Bus operators are urging credit companies providing loans or hire purchase instalments to consider adopting a moratorium as announced by the government, or at least reduce the loan repayments.
Northern Zone Tour Bus Operators Coalition chairman Ahmad Ruslan Abdul Latiff said that in such a challenging situation, efforts to help Malaysians should not only involve the government but also the private sector.
“In the bus industry, we know there are those among the operators who have loans with credit companies registered with the Local Government and Housing Ministry but there are also those who have loans or hire purchase agreements with private credit companies that are not regulated by any ministry or agency.
“Currently, we have had good cooperation from registered companies but there are issues with those not registered, as they do not want to participate in the Bus and Taxi Hire Purchase Rehabilitation Scheme as announced by the government as they feel they need financial income to continue to operate,” he told Bernama here today.
Therefore, Ahmad Ruslan urged credit companies that operate independently to reconsider the repayment methods made by bus operators, many of whom are small businesses.
He said if the matter remained unresolved, he would request that the government take over the bus operators’ loans from these credit companies to enable them to sustain their operations.
Seremban School Bus Operators Association chairman S. Silverrajoo concurred and requested that credit companies provide some leeway as school buses currently are not operating as usual.
“Most operators currently are relying on side incomes, such as working at food stalls, tapping rubber or driving taxis…with inconsistent wages, how can they repay their loans or hire purchases,” he said.
Sekretariat Gabungan Bas Malaysia (SGBM) independent committee chairman R. Thiagarajan meanwhile wanted the Taxi and Bus Hire Purchase Rehabilitation Scheme to benefit bus operators from the B40 to T20 groups.
“We want the scheme to be comprehensive, and can benefit all bus operators from T20 to the B40 group with easier conditions…if the scheme cannot benefit bus operators who are truly affected, then what’s the use of it being created.
“In addition, to help bus operators generate income, the government could consider using the buses to ferry people to vaccination centres…identify bus associations that are registered with the Registrar of Societies and are active, and give them this job,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Driving Industry Standards and Modernisation Council (Mapim) has requested the government’s immediate assistance for driving institutes through an existing scheme under the Supplementary Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy (Pemerkasa Plus) initiative following the total lockdown throughout the country.
Mapim president Datuk Hanafi Mat Zin said there has been no aid announced for driving institutes until now while their operations are similar to that of bus, taxi, hired car and e-hailing companies.
“The driving industry is similar to other vehicle companies, we buy vehicles with bank loans and we deserve assistance like other industries,” he said.
Last Monday, the government, under Pemerkasa Plus, agreed to offer the Bus and Taxi Hire Purchase Rehabilitation Scheme worth RM1 billion, a 12-month loan moratorium. — Bernama