Monday, March 19, 2007

Eradicate poverty to fight loan sharking

Eradicate poverty to fight loan sharking

Make financial aid available easily

Of late there has been a lot of discussion on the problem of loan sharks in the country. We understand that there are plans to enact laws to enable the police to prosecute the borrowers to stop this menace and its ills in our society.

Acting against the borrowers, I am afraid may not solve the problem altogether. It may deter some of the borrowers, especially the less desperate, from resorting to Ah Longs. It may not be stop those who are in dire need on monetary help. In fact punishing them with fine and imprisonment will only make things worse for them and their families.

It would unfair to say that borrowers are also culpable for the violence wreaked by loan sharks. It would also be unfair to ask those in need to go to licensed moneylenders when the latter themselves are contravening the law by resorting to unscrupulous tactics.

We must remember that it is not the rich and powerful who resort to Ah Longs but the poor and helpless in society. The former have the big financial institutions to depend on. These financial and banking institutions are in most cases non-friendly to the latter, many of whom are ignorant. The unreasonable requirements imposed and non-helpful counter officers often make their applications for the meager loans almost an impossible feat.

Yes, if there is no demand there will no supply. The financial demands on the poor borrower may be at times self-inflicted but very often he is the victim of an unfair social system, which is beyond his control as an ordinary citizen. This is not unique to Malaysia but a prevalent situation in many developing countries.

Like all problems, we should get to the root cause of them if we really want to overcome it. Poverty, undoubtedly, is the root cause of this evil of loan sharking that has become a national menace. It has wrecked many individuals and their families at the prime of life. It must be stopped at all costs.

The government must educate the public on the evils of resorting to loan sharks.Athe same timeLoans and other forms of financial grants must be made available easily to those who really deserve, without favoritism.

The government has drawn up many fine policies to eradicate povertyt.It must be more commited to doing this.More genuine efforts must be put into their implementation by those responsible at all levels, so that these will benefit all Malaysians irrespective of race or creed.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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