He wants the authorities to take action under the law against such merciless loan sharks.
“I also hope that Malaysians are aware of the risk involved and learn a lesson from the reported inhumane acts committed by ah long, that they should never borrow money from ah long,” he said after announcing the official projection of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate, here, today.
Najib was asked by reporters to comment on the case of three men who were treated like dogs by Ah Long who chained them at the neck and feet to the walls of an unoccupied shoplot because of unpaid debts. Police rescued the victims yesterday.
The victims, who had each borrowed only RM1,500 to RM4,000 from the loan sharks, were also reported to have been beaten and forced to survive on tap water and a loaf of bread, which was given to them every few days.
Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha warned money lending companies that their licences will be revoked or suspended if they are found to be acting like ‘Ah Longs’ (loan sharks).
The ministry would take stern action against money-lending companies which contravene the rules stipulated by the operating licences.
Kong, commenting on the reported atrocity by loans sharks, said: “No proof that it was done by licensed money lenders, we will wait for the police report.”
Speaking after the ministry’s Excellence Service Award ceremony here today, he said the activities of licensed money-lending companies were monitored by the ministry’s enforcement unit and that they also have to give annual reports.
“As such, the Ah Long issue is not under the ministry. The people must not fall prey to Ah Longs. They are many financial institutions which can give out loans,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association has urged the government to seriously tackle the ‘Ah Long’ problem.
Its general secretary Datuk Maamor Osman said the present laws were incapable of stamping out ‘Ah Longs’ or illegal money lenders who kept tormenting borrowers and family members.
“The existing laws under the Housing and Local Government Ministry are inadequate as they only cover licensed money lenders.
“Only the police have the power to banish the Ah Longs,” he said in a statement today.
Maamor said the police should be given sweeping powers to banish ‘Ah Longs’ as their criminal acts were shameful and unacceptable to the people