Monday, June 26, 2006

Students, Entrepreneurs Owe Mara RM500 Million

Mara is still saddled with a staggering RM500 million education and business loans though its collection rate increased by 30 per cent this year, its director-general Datuk Zamani Md Noor said Monday. He said the agency aimed to clear the loan arrears over the next four years if the current repayment trend continued as there had been a significant improvement in the collection of outstanding loans.

"Until March this year, we collected RM50 million compared to RM29 million last year. This is a big improvement as our average collection target per year is RM200 million," he told Bernama on the sidelines of the Mara district officers' seminar. Zamani said while borrowers were now more aware of their repayment commitments, Mara was also flexible in loan collection procedures. "If they can't pay in full, we tell them to pay in instalments," he said.

Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said his ministry had been allocated RM5.772 billion under the Ninth Malaysia Plan and RM3.086 billion of the amount was for Mara. He said Mara, with 111 district offices nationwide currently, planned to open three more in Gua Musang, Lawas and Cameron Highlands. The agency also planned to train 150,000 new entrepreneurs under the ninth plan, he added.

**** What else can I say except repeat the same old mantra of government ineptitude, wastage of precious funds, ungrateful and greedy recipients of Mara's largesse etc etc? With such absolutely useless loan collection history it is a wonder that some actually repaid at least part of their loan.

I wonder why the authorities in Mara don't want to wield the big stick? After all these same defaulters would not dare to try the same trick with the income tax people; they'll get shafted like the rest of the defaulting population. It is primarily because of lax procedures and tidak apa attitudes that these minor criminals have the guts to stop paying.


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