DATE OF RELEASE: 21 APRIL 2020
Clearly the COVID-19 movement control order (MCO) has affected everyone; with particularly severe impact on the poor and low income. Loss of jobs and thus incomes, reduced incomes made worse by future uncertainties have had a severe negative impact on consumer financial and overall well-being. To make matters worse, some retailers are manipulating prices and making excessive profits by increasing prices, making the life of the poor even more difficult.
Still consumers need money to feed their families, meet their obligations and meet other essential responsibilities.
Clearly the financial support by government to assist consumers to survive these difficult times is extremely limited. Firstly, many self-employed and daily wage workers are excluded. Secondly, the one-off aid received is clearly insufficient to meet personal and household basic needs and consumers have to find their own means to raise cash to meet their basic obligations.
One way forward is to obtain some short term funding is by pawning their assets to get some cash for essentials. Pawn shops are legal entities regulated by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. Through depositing their assets consumers would be able to acquire some cash to tide over these difficult times.
FOMCA thus calls on the government to quickly allow pawnbrokers to resume operations. This would be of some help to the poor during these difficult times.
The Association has already shown some goodwill by allowing consumer to redeem their pledges after the MCO.
Of course to minimise risks during this pandemic, safety guidelines need to be followed including provision of hand sanitisers, adherence to distancing rules, wearing of masks and the disinfection of the premises.
Further the Ministry should also ensure that all steps under the Pawnbrokers Act, 1972 that are related to the protection and wellbeing of consumers are strictly adhered to.
To face the difficult challenges during this COVID-19 period, impacting on consumer incomes, rising prices, insufficient government support, FOMCA advocates for the re-opening of pawnshops that would provide some relief to consumers who urgently need cash, and have some assets that they could use to pawn.
Datuk Dr. Marimuthu Nadason
FEDERATION OF MALAYSIAN CONSUMERS ASSOCIATIONS (FOMCA)
GABUNGAN PERSATUAN-PERSATUAN PENGGUNA MALAYSIA
NO. 24, JALAN SS1/22A, 47300 PETALING JAYA, SELANGOR
Contact Person: Dato Paul Selva Raj
Tel Office : +603-7876 4648
H/P : +6012-2385960