(File pix) The number of Malaysians declared bankrupt due to credit card usage is still relatively low, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Othman Aziz said.

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of Malaysians declared bankrupt due to credit card usage is still relatively low, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Othman Aziz said.

He said as of December last year, only 1,598 or 0.04 per cent users were declared bankrupt due to credit card usage.

“The number is still under control and many preventive measures have been taken to ensure those given credit cards have the ability to repay back.

“As for those who are having problems in paying their credit card balance, we will help them through agencies such as the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK),” he said.

He said until December, a total of 9.9 million credit cards were issued, involving 8.8 million main cards and 1.1 million supplementary cards.

“The number of main credit cards holders is 3.7 million,” said Othman responding to a supplementary question by Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (Pas- Rantau Panjang).

Earlier, Othman when responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Hasan Malek (BN-Kuala Pilah) said until January this year, total of 158,116 credit card users had sought AKPK ‘s help via its debt management programme, involving debts totalling RM6.5 billion.

Meanwhile, answering Hasan’s initial question, Othman said there was no need to apply the same approach as United Kingdom, to abolish the interest charge on credit cards.

Hasan had asked if the government has any joint programme with Bank Negara Malaysia and local banking industry to abolish the interest charge on credit cards like the United Kingdom.

“This is because many preventive measures have been taken by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) since 2006 to avoid card credit borrowers from continously being in debt,” he said.

He said among the measures taken by BNM include allowing only eligible users to be given credit facilities and increasing the minimum annual salary from RM18,000 to RM24,000.

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