PETALING JAYA: For many Malaysians who are financially affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, the six-month moratorium on loan repayments and income tax refunds could not have come any sooner.They see this as a timely financial boost to help them get through each day and make ends meet.Such is the case for E. Shaevitharoopan, a 31-year-old e-hailing driver who has temporarily taken a break from his job due to reduced customers and fear of contracting the virus from passengers, which could put his family of four at risk.

The family now relies solely on his wife’s salary as an office manager. With car and housing loans to be paid and two children to feed, this is almost impossible.“We barely have enough money. Which is why I have decided to temporarily postpone my car loan repayment, which amounts to RM550 per month.“We are just reserving whatever money we have to buy food for the family,” he told theSun yesterday.

Bank Negara Malaysia on Wednesday announced a six-month moratorium on financing repayments, while the Inland Revenue Board typically credits tax refunds into tax payers’ accounts within 30 working days of tax declaration.For civil engineer Mohd Dinie, 28, who has no other financial assistance coming in to cushion the impact on his recent pay cut, the loan moratorium and speedy tax refund was much needed for him to “survive”.He said whatever savings he might have each month would be used for plans he had already made for next year, noting that his company would not be paying any bonus or give increments due to the impact of the Covid-19.

“I’m planning to purchase a house, among other things. Whatever cash I have today is extremely important for my future,” he said.Malaysian Financial Planning Council deputy president Desmond Chong said spending on only what is absolutely necessary is of utmost importance during this period.He said while individuals with basic money management knowledge would find themselves in a better position during this season, those who live pay check to pay check will find this an eye opener on the importance of financial planning.“Our stand has always been consistent: one needs to spend according to needs, not wants. As such, one needs to determine ‘need to have’ or ‘nice to have’, more so during this pandemic,” he told theSun.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca) CEO Datuk Dr Paul Selvaraj said any form of assistance at this time would be welcomed by Malaysians, as many are having difficulties putting food on the table.“The moratorium, for instance, provides instant benefits to the rakyat, who can now at least have some savings for their daily needs,” he said when contacted.