KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 ― Low salaries and rising cost of living are two key factors why over 150,000 or 12 per cent of the civil service have turned to illegal loan sharks or “Ah Longs” for money, the Congress of Unions of Employees in Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) said.Cuepacs president Datuk Azih Muda said the estimate was based on a random survey conducted among lower grade civil servants aged below 40 who earn under RM3,000 a month.
“They consist of those attached to the security forces, local council and hospital staff, and the lower income earners.“Imagine, if even our security forces are involved with Ah Longs, how are they to focus on keeping the nation secure?” he was quoted saying in a Harian Metro report today.
Azim added that most of the workers in these categories find it hard to get promotions, which he said results in them turning to loan sharks for money.
“When there is no advancement in your career, you lack motivation, the pay is not enough and living cost increases ― this is what drives them to borrow from Ah Longs,” he explained.Meanwhile, the Malaysian Islamic Consumer Association (PPIM) confirmed that over 2,000 civil servants found themselves hunted down by loan sharks over the last three years.PPIM chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said most of those involved were from armed forces, followed by enforcement officials and teachers.
“They become targets for Ah Longs because they have fixed monthly salaries and are easy to threaten.
“In most cases, the victims are threatened to settle their high interest rates. If the victim fails to pay according to the schedule or fails to settle the stipulated sum, he or she will be threatened before his department head or superiors,” he was quoted telling the local Malay daily.