With savings dwindling due to the lockdown, an employer from the M40 income group says he would rather fail to service his loans and be blacklisted by financial institutions than see his family starve.
Mohd Fakhzan Rosli, who owns Scuba Club Langkawi, was forced to dip into his savings to pay his workers’ salaries and to fulfil other commitments after the pandemic struck last year.
But he still had many financial commitments that he needed to meet, and had received calls warning him that he would be blacklisted if he failed to pay up.
“I have now reached the point of being blacklisted, but never mind. I would rather be on the blacklist than see my children and wife starve,” he stated.
Since the movement control order (MCO) came into effect in March last year, his company has not been able to earn any income as the tourism industry became the hardest hit. He was forced to spend his savings for the past year as he had no other source of income.
“Since the second MCO, I’ve been using my personal savings to pay my workers, because the company no longer had any revenue.
“But once MCO 3.0 came, I could not last any longer and was forced to lay off my workers,” he said, adding that the RM600 wage subsidy given by the government was insufficient.
Meanwhile, legal practitioners have also not escaped the effects of the movement restrictions, with their clients pleading to delay paying their legal fees. One lawyer, who asked to remain anonymous, said her firm had no choice but to give some leeway and bear court fees first to avoid losing their clients.
“If I retract their case because they can’t afford to pay, the risk of losing the client is high. So I have to bear the costs first while waiting for their financials to stabilise. There’s no other way.
“It’s difficult for M40 like us to get help. We don’t just bear the costs for our household, but we even pay for the electricity bill for the office, and employees’ wages. If we can’t operate, why do we still need to pay bills? This is very burdensome,” he said.