October 17, 2018
It’s no mystery by now that most Malaysians aren’t very financially literate – especially when it comes to living within their means and managing their debt. It is quite a shocker that most only pay the minimum of their debts too, but what can we do about it?
AKPK, Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit, Malaysia’s Credit Counseling and Debt Management Agency, is committed to helping Malaysians improve their financial literacy with the launch of their Pay-On-Time campaign. The campaign’s main objective is to create awareness about the consequences of late repayments – or worse, no repayment at all and its impact on the livelihood of people.
AKPK’s own data as of 31st August 2019 also showed that 40% of the 230,000 individuals who approached them admitted that the lack of financial planning is the cause of them being indebted.
They aim to educate the people on debt and finance management – especially the younger working-classes (Gen Y) living in the city, as they are more high-risk and are prone to being indebted. That is understandable, as the younger generation, Gen Y or the millennial generation, have more exposure and opportunities to both spend and make money.
Just in 2015, a survey done by the Asian Institute of Finance reported that 70% of the millennials who owned credit cards only paid the bare minimum monthly payments! Another 45% of them did not pay their debts at one point in time. It is quite a worrying finding because, as we all know, as your debts pile up, so do the interests charged – and the last thing you’d want is to have compounding interests on money you owe.
Noting the focus placed on the working Gen Y in the cities, I asked AKPK’s CEO, Azaddin Ngah Tasir, about other outreach initiatives to those who are in more rural areas. His response was that AKPK, with other organizations like BNMLINK, Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat (KPWKM) and banks, are constantly reaching out to those in remote areas with financial education programs, notably in Sabah and Sarawak. He did make a point that the people in rural areas do have lesser risk of being in serious debt as compared to those in the city.
With the focus on that demographic, AKPK will be creating awareness over the span of 3 months through the use of social media, such as their Facebook page, using the hashtag of #PayONTIME. They will be producing images, infographics, and even running contests to help spread awareness as to what will happen when debt is mismanaged.
If you or someone you know is having trouble managing their debt or finances, AKPK’s services such as their Debt Management Program (DMP) is free of charge. A registration is all that is required to have a free counseling session with them.