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I Choose to MANAGE

As we all know, we are still in the period of Movement Control Order (MCO). Until know, there are still incidences of panic buying which lead to overbuying and wastage, not only in the dollar and cent but also wastage in the livelihood essential items. AKPK advises all to remain calm for if we panic, the situation will become more complicated. Panic buying in a massive scale will cause shortage in supply and eventually increase in price. We are glad to see that the situation is very much under control with most of the stores taking the prevention measures such as limiting the number of customers entry at one time, social distancing, wearing mask, providing hand sanitizer and so on.

We need to be prudent at all time, even more so when this MCO is still ongoing. We cannot predict when this MCO will be over nor when the economy will recover. We have to be ready for the effect of this crisis, that is, we have to think beyond this MCO. Therefore, it is very important for us to manage what resources we have wisely, that is, to buy according to needs, not want, and having extra reserves for emergency purposes. Check what is lacking at home before making any purchases. Prepare a shopping list as not to miss out important items to buy and at the same time avoid excessive buying. Priority should be given to essential items such as rice, sugar, salt, flour, medicine and other dry food items that can last long.

This is a good time as any to save your money by preparing and eating home cooked meal rather than buying your meals. Plan your meal and cook at home, use simple ingredients and avoid wastage. Unfinished rice can be used to cook fried rice the next day. Drink more water rather than those sweetened drink. Sleep early and wake up early with sufficient resting time. These habits can definitely help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eliminate the possibility of incurring treatment cost.

Panic buying will lead to price manipulation and market supply. At this juncture, consumers will ignore the ceiling price so long as they can buy and obtain the desired items. As prudent and considerate consumers, we shall work together to control our buying power during this Covid-19 pandemic.

The tips to buy essential items are as follow:

• Avoid panic buying and transforming your house into a warehouse
• Be considerate to others
• Check the expiry date of your food. Some food such as bread cannot last long. Overbuying will cause others not having the opportunity to buy the food, while you may eventually throw away the moldy and uneaten bread.
• Same goes to the vegetables. Do not stock for a month since vegetables cannot last long.

Be a prudent consumer so that others have the opportunity to buy and the price can be maintained at a reasonable level.

Practise prudent financial management and avoid wastage. Below are some financial tips during this MCO:

• Prepare a Budget – strike out the expenses no longer applicable during this MCO such as eating out, petrol and toll (work from home). Save the extra cash for emergency fund.
• Don’t forget the pay your dues or bills such as house rent and utility bills (Internet subscription, water bill, electricity bill).
• Use Internet banking to pay your bills and for banking transactions to avoid going out.
• Use digital payment method for your transactions. You can use cashless transaction such as Paywave (available in credit and debit card) while making payment in store, petrol station and so on.
• Don’t rush to ATM, mall or store when you just got your pay. The place may be packed and more conducive for virus to spread. Use internet banking or digital payment method for your transactions instead.

It will be especially hard for those who do not have any saving or emergency fund during this MCO. AKPK always encourage the public to spend prudently and separate a part of their income for emergency fund which should consist of 3 to 6 months of our cost of living. Emergency fund is to be used for such a time as this.

However, if there is no emergency fund available, several incentives have been announced to ease the burden of the people such as 6 months moratorium of payment for housing loans and hire purchase loans as announced by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) recently.

BNM has instructed for all financial institutions to give 6 months automatic moratorium to all borrowers. At the same time, AKPK also gives 6 months moratorium of payment to all our customers who enrolled into our Debt Management Programme (DMP). The moratorium will take effect from April 2020 until September 2020.

AKPK’s moratorium is automatic and need not be applied. Eligibility is subjected to the terms below:

  • DMP account is still active and not for those which have been terminated.
  • Account is not in arrear more than 90 days.
  • All types of facilities in DMP such as housing loan, hire purchase loan, personal loan, micro credit, credit cards, PTPTN and Tekun paid via AKPK.
  • Restructured facilities paid via salary deduction or Angkasa are also eligible, but customers need to inform the moratorium to the employer.

Thus, DMP participants can make use of this moratorium if you need it. If you still have the capability to pay, we encourage you to continue payment as usual without having to inform AKPK of your intention to do so. It is better to continue payment if you can so that your tenure will not be lengthened for another 6 months.

If you have any further enquiries, you can contact AKPK by using the online form available via the link http://bit.ly/AKPKdmp2020. AKPK officers will contact you as soon as we can. We want to emphasize that AKPK do not appoint any third party agents in our dealings with customers.

We pray and hope that the crisis will end in the nearest future if we follow the instructions by Ministry of Health. At the meantime, be prudent in your financial management. Stay safe, stay at home.

Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK)

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Tan Mei Kuan

Tan Mei Kuan graduated with first-class honours and book prize from University of Malaya majoring in languages and linguistics (English). She is proficient in both written and spoken English and Malay. She is also conversant in Mandarin and has knowledge of Japanese and Korean languages. Mei Kuan has been on the Dean’s List for three years running. Having written for the campus newspaper and residential college magazine, joining Ipoh Echo has helped utilise her writing and language skills. In her spare time she enjoys running (races).

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