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Malaysians settle debts worth hundreds of millions thanks to AKPK

Updated 26 Jan 2018 – By Caitlyn Ng


The Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) is already a force to be reckoned with in the world of financial education. Set up in 2006 as a subsidiary of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), it has so far managed to assist over 14,000 people fully settle their debts amounting to RM593mil as at September 2017.

Its vision is to create a society that is financially savvy through consumer financial education, financial counselling and debt management programmes dedicated to assisting Malaysians regain control of their finances.

AKPK’s Debt Management Programme (DMP) was created with the aim of assisting financially distressed consumers in regaining their financial control. Individuals would be able to approach AKPK for any of their three aforementioned services, which are provided free of charge.

In a bid to increase the nation’s financial literacy level, AKPK is actively promoting financial wellness, through collaborations with various stakeholders including the government, the community, the media as well as various sectors such as financial, education and knowledge. These collaborations are one of the quickest that contribute to the multiplier effect – knowledge sharing and quick access to information are made a whole lot more seamless.

To commemorate the dedicated collaborators from across the industries, AKPK recently held their inaugural Collaborators Award 2017 at the Lanai Kijang Multipurpose Hall. Present during the ceremony were BNM assistant governor Abu Hassan Alshari Yahya and AKPK chief executive officer Azaddin Ngah Tasir. The event also saw the attendance of representatives from different sectors of collaborators, comprising 18 government agencies, 11 private companies, 17 financial institutions, 15 institutions of higher learning and also NGOs.

“When we first started out collaborations in 2014, we faced many challenges in terms of structured modules, manpower availability and support from the collaborators. I am pleased to say that things have now changed and we are happy to have all of our partners on board in making prudent financial management a way of life for Malaysians.

“Based on the encouraging development, I believe it is appropriate and timely that we have this event to acknowledge our collaborators who have been our prime drivers in helping Malaysians to make informed and sound financial decisions, both in good and bad times,” enthused Azaddin during his opening speech.

Since AKPK’s inception right up till September 30 2017, there were over 600,000 individuals who have chosen to approach AKPK for their counselling services. Out of that number, less than a third of them (roughly 198,000 people) have opted to enroll in the DMP that the agency offers.

Those aged 30 – 50 years of age made up the bulk of those who had enrolled in the programme, as they sought help for their credit card debts. On the other hand, those who were below 30 years of age only made up 14.6% of the total and while they were not struggling with debts, they had voluntarily enrolled in the programme to get financial advice.

“There is a perception that the young people have very high debt, but the fact is that they normally do not even enter our (debt management) programmes,” said Azaddin.

According to Azaddin, the leading cause of Malaysians struggling to juggle their debts is poor financial planning, at 44.7% of the cases received. Other causes which have been given as the reason for debt woes include high cost of living at 19.3%, failure/slowdown in business at 14.8%, high medical expenses at 9.3% and others at 11.9%.

Azaddin further went on to stress that even though there was an increase in the number of people who were coming to AKPK for their services, it did not signify Malaysians were having more financial problems. On the contrary, there is more awareness to be financially literate.

In order to further enhance financial awareness and promote financial education, the AKPK Collaborators Award 2017 was hosted specially appreciate the efforts of each collaborator’s contributions. There were three categories: Best Collaborator Award for Workplace and Higher Learning Institution (jointly won by Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia and Taylor’s University), Special Jury Award (won by BERNAMA) as well as Best Trainer Award (won by Norsela A. Manaf from Politeknik Sultan Idris Shah).

The other winners for each category are as follows:

1) Best Collaborator Award for Workplace and Higher Learning Institution – Silver (jointly won by Jabatan Latihan Khidmat Negara and Politeknik Port Dickson) and Bronze (jointly won by Tamil Foundation and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia)

2) Special Jury Award – MBSB, VISA, RTM

3) Best Trainer Award – Silver (won by Kamaruizam Mat Ail from Politeknik Ungku Omar) and Bronze (won by Muhammad Rafie Hamzah from Politeknik Muadzam Shah)

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