Phase 3 of MCO has ended and So many things have suddenly changed in these two days!
Firstly, yesterday on the 30th of April 2020, BNM made a U-Turn in regards to the moratorium offered for Hire Purchase agreements (such as car loans). Initially the 6 months deferment would not incur any interests or penalties and the loan tenure would just be increased by 6 months. However, now banks will be charging interest (using the APR rate %) on the deferred installments if we don’t pay back the 6 months of installments by Oct 2020. Association of Banks in Malaysia also released a statement indicating there were two options: 1. Take the moratorium but pay the full 6 months deferred installments in Oct 2020, or 2. Delay repayment but incur interests on the deferred installments.
This U-Turn has of course triggered a public backlash with a lot of unhappy tweets and comments from Malaysians affected by the changes. BNM doesn’t acknowledge it’s a “u-turn”.. saying that communication wasn’t done properly, there was an oversight (lepas pandang.. seriously it took them 37 days to realize?).
On twitter, “Makcik Kiah”, #BankerJagaBanker, and “U-Turn” started trending. Makcik Kiah refers to the example given by the PM in one of his speeches about how they will help the “Makcik Kiahs” of Malaysia (in other words, the average M40/B40 Malaysian) in the economic stimulus package. Read more here. The hashtag #BankerJagaBanker, loosely translated as “bankers take care of bankers” or “bankers helping bankers” is a play on the MCO hashtag “KitaJagaKita” (Malaysians helping Malaysians) meant to encourage Malaysians to do what we can to help each other fight COVID-19. Frustrated Malaysians are saying our finance minister is an ex-banker, so they are helping the banks instead of the rakyat who are suffering (pay cuts, no pay leave, loss of income etc). And of course “U-Turn” is self explanatory.
Update 6th May 2020: Minister of Finance, Tengku Zafrul Aziz, put out a statement that the banks have agreed to not charge interest on the deferred installments for Hire Purchase loans… to the relief of many Malaysians.
Secondly, just a week prior the PM announced an extension of MCO with phase 4 commencing from 29th April to 12th May 2020.
However, today (1st of May) during a Labour Day announcement, the PM announced that almost all economic sectors can be opened from 4th of May onward. In other words, many Malaysians will be going back to work on Monday… May the 4th be with us. The timing of the announcement, to be honest, is not that great. It’s a public holiday (Labour Day) on a Friday, hence a long weekend. Many are waiting for direction from management to see if they need to go into the office on Monday. Many parents are scrambling to find babysitters. It’s a mess. Many have also commented that it’s going to be a disaster next week because Malaysians being Malaysians probably won’t strictly obey the rules.
Some key changes in Phase 4 of “MCO”:
- Activities like jogging, golfing, badminton are allowed.
- F&B outlets can allow dine in with social distancing between tables and checking of temperatures.
- 2 people can travel in a car (from the same house/ family)
- 2 people can go grocery shopping together
- Almost all industries can reopen, schools/uni/etc are still closed, also any industry that involves big gatherings or close contact are to remain closed.
- Raya has been “cancelled” – no balik kampung allowed
- Full details can be found on MKN’s website and summarized in this pdf.
KKM is still urging people to stay home unless they need to go out and for employers to follow the SOPs to curb the spread of COVID-19:
- Min 1 meter social distancing
- Frequent washing of hands with soap or using hand sanitizers
- Wearing facemasks
- Health screenings at entrances
- Priority protection for high risk groups (children, babies, elderly and OKU)
- Individuals who are unwell or symptomatic should go for a check up
- Number of passengers allowed in public transportation have to take social distancing into consideration
- Encourage online transactions
- Report any COVID-19 infection related info to the health department
We shall see after this 3 day weekend, how things will be next week. Already today when I went out to buy lunch there were way more cars on the road than during MCO and more couples out buying groceries together. Friends have also reported that supermarkets are a lot more crowded now, making it very hard to practice social distancing. Let’s hope we don’t end up like other countries that lifted the MCO too soon and were hit by a second wave of cases.
Updates since 4th May: So apparently Phase 4 of CMO only lasted over the weekend and now we are in Phase 5 till 12th May (news) and it’s now called CMCO (Conditional MCO) where rules have been relaxed. Wanted to quickly update here. Roadblocks have been removed within the Klang Valley so you can go anywhere now except areas that are under Extended MCO (locked down), instead of 2 ppl in a car now it’s max of 4 per car, and 10km travel restrictions have been removed. Some states did not want to go ahead with CMCO but Federal Government made it a federal law for all states to follow otherwise they will face consequences (news).