The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) has not only backed the National Union of Bank Employees’ (NUBE) plan of interest-free housing loans for its members in the middle- and lower-income segments, it also urges other industries in the private sector to follow suit.
According to Bernama, Fomca deputy president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said the banking industry should consider such a scheme as its corporate social responsibility. He said such a move would motivate bank employees to work harder, which in turn, will benefit the financial institutions they work for.
Futhermore, Mohd Yusof called on private companies from various industries in the country to consider such benefits for their employees. He said housing loan repayment made up a big part of most workers’ monthly expenses and this scheme will lessen their financial burdens significantly.
“If they could not provide interest-free housing loans, they should at least subsidise them like what the government is doing for its 1.6 million employees,” he said.
However, his comments have thus far received a lukewarm reception as many companies in te private sector are struggling to cope with an economic downturn.
One principal of a development firm said: “Perhaps some of the larger companies have enough reserves to implement something similar, but across the board many companies have either already retrenched staff or are on verge of doing so. Offering such large benefits at the same time as offloading staff could be a very sensitive issue.”
The NUBE recently submitted its proposal to the Association of Banks in Malaysia via the Malayan Commercial Bank Association recently.
The union has also suggested that banks to provide full loans for houses costing between RM300,000 and RM500,000, and absorb legal and other fees. – Chris Prasad