‘House­hold debt on the de­cline’

New Straits Times - - Business -

HERE are the ex­cerpts of the me­dia brief­ing chaired by gov­er­nor Datuk Muham­mad Ibrahim at the cen­tral bank yes­ter­day.

Lib­er­al­i­sa­tion mea­sures to

al­low lo­cal busi­nesses to man­age cur­rency ex­po­sure

It is most im­por­tant to en­sure that the ring­git re­mains sta­ble for busi­nesses to trans­act their trade. Since the De­cem­ber 2 mea­sures, the ring­git volatil­ity has dropped by 50 per cent. It used to be 10 to 12 per cent but has now dropped to five to six per cent.

As we go fur­ther, the Fi­nance Mar­ket Com­mit­tee will in­tro­duce new mea­sures, which can help busi­nesses once we have dis­cus­sions with the in­dus­try.

House­hold debt con­cerns The level has dropped from 89.1 per cent to 88.4 per cent.

The Credit Coun­selling and Debt Man­age­ment Agency coun­sels 10,000 to 12,000 peo­ple on a monthly ba­sis, of which 2,000 to 3,000 have par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gramme. More and more are be­com­ing proac­tive at the early stages.

Four mea­sures will help re­duce house­hold debt lev­els fur­ther — raise pro­duc­tiv­ity and in­come, re­duce un­pro­duc­tive debt, in­crease af­ford­able hous­ing and rental schemes and ef­fi­cient al­lo­ca­tion of af­ford­able hous­ing units.

Af­ford­able hous­ing

Most of the public dis­cus­sions have con­verged on fi­nanc­ing. But that is not true as ac­cess to fi­nanc­ing has al­ways been there.

Land and in­fra­struc­ture form half of the cost of af­ford­able houses and we need to re­duce those com­po­nents.

We are also con­cerned about high-rise con­do­mini­ums, of­fice space and over­build­ing of shop­ping malls.

As far as ex­po­sure by the bank­ing sec­tor, it is not ex­ces­sive as we have re­minded them to be care­ful through su­per­vi­sory in­ter­ven­tion.

Fu­ture growth amid

ris­ing oil prices

We need new sources of growth as we move forward, im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity as well as qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion.

It is im­por­tant that we pro­duce em­ploy­ment that pays at least a liv­ing wage for the 120,000 grad­u­ates who en­ter the job mar­ket ev­ery year.

From our re­search, it was found that a sin­gle per­son in Kuala Lumpur would need RM2,700 monthly, while a fam­ily of two adults would need RM4,600 and a young fam­ily of four would need RM6,500 monthly.

With mi­grant work­ers, we can­not churn good jobs. They also cause a huge out­flow of re­mit­tances to the tune of RM30 bil­lion last year. Even if for­eign di­rect investments are lower, it is the qual­ity which is im­por­tant, pro­vid­ing a larger spillover. That is what we want.

Forex trad­ing

Last month we im­posed a RM1.4 mil­lion fine on banks for not re­port­ing to us the be­hav­iour of staff in rig­ging US dol­lar-ring­git.

We will be very strict. From Jan­uary 1 next year, we will also an­nounce the names of the banks pe­nalised and the of­fences.

The 1992 forex loss

in­ves­ti­ga­tions

We will give our full sup­port to the task force. The first in­ter­ac­tion was a week ago and they were given three months to com­plete the re­port.

All of us who are present here were not there at the time. We can only tell you what tran­spired at the time based on the doc­u­ments.

PIC BY ROSELA IS­MAIL

Bank Ne­gara Malaysia gov­er­nor Datuk Muham­mad Ibrahim at a me­dia brief­ing to launch Bank Ne­gara’s 2016 An­nual Re­port in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

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