How To Avoid Bankruptcy – For Malaysians
Each day, 60 people aged between 35 and 44 years are declared bankrupt in Malaysia, making up 34% of the total number of bankrupts, said Nancy Shukri, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department to The Star.
“From 2007 until September this year, 116,488 people were declared bankrupt,” she said after handing out bankruptcy clearance certificates to 30 individuals at a recent event. When a person is backed into a corner because of insurmountable debts, he may need to choose a bankruptcy plan. Sometimes with unconquerable debts, bankruptcy may be the only solution. Most people think that it is the end of the world when one is declared bankrupt, regardless if the application is made by the creditor or by the person himself. So how to avoid bankruptcy trap and what are the restrictions imposed on your life after it’s declared?
Bankruptcy Creates Many Hurdles
Bankruptcy can put a restriction on a lot of financial related activities, such as getting a loan, using your credit card or savings account and even going overseas for a holiday, but bankruptcy can be avoided if properly mitigated before the debts get out of hand.
Nancy said bankruptcy was not the end of the road for defaulters as it could be protection instead, when they could not pay up their debts due to various factors. In countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and United States, people use bankruptcy as protection by filing bankruptcy application and by restructuring their debts.
However, declaring bankruptcy does not mean a person is exempted from paying all his debts. It is still something we should avoid, if possible. Individuals with very high levels of debt are advised to manage their debts properly, as they are prone to bankruptcy.
For those burdened with debts and having difficulty to pay up, the government through Bank Negara Malaysia had set up the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) to assist them with debt management. Individuals who are unable to manage their debts on their own and satisfy the basic qualifying criteria can be enrolled into AKPK’s Debt Management Programme (DMP). Based on AKPK database, there are currently 235,991 Malaysians attending its counselling services on financial and debt management and 96,238 of them are enrolled to the Debt Management Programme (DMP).
“A total of 4,196 individuals had successfully exited the programme,” said Desmond Chong, Trainer and Head of Program Coordinating Unit at AKPK. “We conduct more than 1,000 seminars a year and we have also published various articles and books to advocate good money management skill. There is also a radio programme, supported by Bank Negara Malaysia, with Star Radio Group (Suria FM and 988 FM) to educate public on good financial management,” Chong added.
With the various help from AKPK through the mass media, Malaysians now can easily seek for advice and help when needed. When faced with an overwhelming amount of debt, it makes a huge difference to have the help of a professional to negotiate new payment terms with the bank and also to manage your personal finances to overcome the financial crisis.
In order to curb bankruptcy among Malaysians, education is important to elevate the public to be financially savvy. For individuals who are deep in debt, they can be supported by providing them an avenue where they can turn to for advice and counselling on personal financial-related matters, such as AKPK.