Friday, June 05, 2009

Heartless loan sharking : decay in morals

Getting to the root of loan sharking

The recent revelations of the operations of loan sharks (Ah Longs) is very flabbergasting and bring shame to all Malaysians who cherish goodwill and kindness as their way of life. Pictures of men displayed in the mainstream media who were abducted and held captive by being chained like criminals is very disturbing. These remind us of the days of slavery. It is unbelievable that Malaysians who are generally known for their friendliness and kindness can resort to such cruel acts against desperate fellow citizens. What has gone wrong with us?

Loan sharking has wrecked many individuals and their families at the prime of life. It has to be stopped before more become victims of the menace which is a form of modern-day slavery. The problem of loan sharking is getting worse with borrowers having to pay extremely high interest rates and to face unethical modes of collection.

It is heartening to know that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) is taking the problem of loan sharks rather seriously with his decision to go all out to hunt down and bring these culprits to task. However it is not enough for the police to capture and punish few cruel loan sharks each time their atrocity is highlighted in the media. What is needed is a whole-hearted, dedicated, full time and lasting commitment of the police force to fight this menace. More money, time and energy must be spent to fight crimes like this that brings tremendous hardship to the people.

Greed and the get-rich-quickly attitude that is prevalent among us today contribute greatly to the flourishing trade of loan sharks. In the pursuit of wealth and more wealth there is no place for compassion and empathy for fellow humans who are desperately in need. Ironically our materialistic system today seems to encourage such a culture where the rich and powerful are glorified, idolised and put on high pedestals regardless of how they acquired their wealth and status.

Punitive action against a few Ah Longs and borrowers may deter some but will not solve the problem altogether. What is needed is to get to the root cause of this menace and come out with a comprehensive plan that includes education of the populace regarding financial management and prudence, the disasters of excessive borrowing, social and moral responsibility to society. There must be deliberate attempts to bring change in the Malaysian mindset which blindly pursue material gains that can be detrimental to the well-being of the society.

Poverty, either absolute or relative undoubtedly, is a major factor that contributes to the flourishing of loan sharking. There is no way we can succeed in fighting loan sharking without a concerted effort of all parties to eradicate poverty in our midst. It is not the rich and powerful who resort to Ah Longs but the poor and helpless in society who are forced into the arms of unscrupulous loan sharks who in turn exploit them to the maximum. Although the major responsibility in on the government, all citizens have a role to play in eradicating poverty among fellow citizens regardless of race or creed.

The government must look into the setting up of a loan scheme for those in dire need for financial assistance but with no fixed income to prevent them from resorting to loan sharks. The unreasonable requirements imposed by big financial institutions and non-helpful counter officers often make their applications for even a meager loan almost an impossible feat. Loans and other forms of financial grants must be made available easily to those who really deserve and are eligible, without favoritism and unreasonable collaterals.

Borrowing and lending of money are acceptable and healthy practices that have been in existence for ages. However those involved must comply with to some acceptable norms in this trade. There must be mutual respect and appreciation by those involved in this activity as it benefits both the borrower and lender alike.

Dr.Chris Anthony

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr, something off topic.
Maybe you can consider changing the background tone to a lighter colour to make reading more relaxed.
I am expressing my own personal opinion here. Reading your blog as it is currently presented is quite taxing on my eyes. Please do not feel offended.

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