Anwar: Is Perikatan govt protecting the privileged and leaving the vulnerable to bear the brunt of Covid-19’s economic fallout? | Malaysia

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The buildings of HSBC Bank and Maybank are seen in Kuala Lumpur November 3, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
The buildings of HSBC Bank and Maybank are seen in Kuala Lumpur November 3, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government seems to be protecting the privileged during the Covid-19 pandemic while the rest of the country struggles to make ends meet, said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Citing reports where bankers were paid hefty bonuses in the millions of ringgit for the year ending 2020, the Opposition Leader and PKR president questioned why the automatic bank loan moratorium was not extended to the public and if the bonuses to top executives were extended to employees as well.

“At what point in 2020 were banks’ profits deemed adequate to support large increases in salaries, bonuses and shareholder dividends, but not large enough to support sustained loan moratoriums for struggling families?

“What is most distressing is that the PN government called for an all-of-society mobilisation to cushion the impact of the pandemic, which should include corporate and GLC executives sharing in the pain of their employees and customers.

“In reality, the PN government appears content knowing that some Malaysians, particularly the most vulnerable, are forced to bear a greater share of the burden, while others who are more privileged appear to be back to business as usual,” the MP for Port Dickson said in a statement today.

On Tuesday, reports revealed that top bankers were found to have received salary hikes and bonuses in the millions, some up to 58 per cent.

Anwar said while he does not condemn anyone making a profit, he wonders if there was profiteering going on seeing as the current finance minister was also a former banker who earned RM8.53 million in 2019.

“Now we are told that the banking sector is gearing for renewed profitability in 2021 and has given pay raises to senior executives as high as 58 per cent. The CEO of at least one GLC bank has earned a 10 per cent boost in salary.

“Business is booming for some while much of the country continues to cope with the ongoing impact of the movement control order.

“We do not condemn profit making. We are suspicious, however, of profiteering at the top at the expense of the weak and vulnerable,” he said.


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