According to a report by The Star, the Insolvency Department has seen a total of 274,628 Malaysians declaring themselves bankrupt, with 46,132 of them being recorded between 2018 and April 2022.
According to the report, nearly 60% of those declared bankrupt in the last five years are aged between 25 and 44 years old, and that half of Malaysians that have been declared bankrupt were due to personal loans, followed by vehicle hire purchases and business loans.
Data credit: The Star
“The number of petitions (by debtors and creditors) filed every day in 2022 is 17. The number of cases registered every day in 2022 stands at 18,” the department said as reported by The Star.
While the findings showed a downward trend between 2018 and 2022 for vehicle purchases as a cause of insolvency, this however could be attributed to the amendment to the Insolvency Act on 20 September 2020 that increased the bankruptcy threshold from RM50,000 to RM100,000 – which probably explains the 37% decline between 2020 and 2021.
The decrease in numbers is also a reflection of the pandemic/ MCOs that we were in, where we were in and out of lockdown for the past two years and that purchasing cars was not on top of anybody’s shopping nor priority list.
Consumer financial expert Prof Dr Mohamad Fazli Sabri said that it is an alarming situation that 18 people were declared bankrupt on a daily basis.
“The fact that many of them fall into bankruptcy due to personal loans is something that is worrying because we have no idea why they have taken loans; they could have spent the money on something that was not a necessity.”
Speaking of necessity, while most Malaysians consider a vehicle necessity due to various reasons, including the lack of good public transportation – over-reaching or purchasing a vehicle that is not within a person’s budget likely attributed to vehicle purchase being the number two cause of insolvencies among Malaysians.
While there’s a sentiment that the increase in prices of cars is one of the major factors for Malaysian’s over-reaching when purchasing vehicles, it has to be said that the lack of financial literacy is instead the main problem.
Purchasing a flashy new car with the latest features is always fantastic, but there are new or used cars out there that can be a great compromise, where it doesn’t leave you eating roti canai or maggi mee most of the time in a month.
We don’t want to say that the downward trend is all due to the pandemic and increase in the bankruptcy threshold because we would like to believe that more Malaysians out there are starting to understand the basics of personal financing and home economics.
Let’s not overspend on cars and live within our means, and if the temptation is ever there to over-reach, think again as there are many affordable vehicles out there that can and will tick all that you need from a vehicle. Gaya takde takpe, tapi duit ada!