A total of 50.3% or 6.4 million accounts of the total loan accounts in the household sector are fixed-rate loans that are not affected by the 100-basis-point (bps) increase in the overnight policy rate (OPR) last year, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan.
An estimated 54.8% of loan accounts of low-income borrowers, with an income of less than RM5,000 per month, are on fixed-rate loans, he said.
“The government understands the people’s anxiety to repay the increasing monthly instalments following the increase in the OPR and the impact on borrowers, especially the B40 (bottom 40% household income group).
“Nevertheless, not all borrowers are affected by the increase in the OPR, because the increase in monthly instalments only involves borrowers with floating-rate type loans,” he said during a question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (March 6).
Ahmad Maslan was responding to Shaharizukirnain Abd Kadir (PAS-Setiu), who asked about the study carried out by the government on the effect of the OPR increase on the B40.
He insisted that the move to increase the OPR by the Monetary Policy Committee of Bank Negara Malaysia was appropriate to ensure inflation was under control and the economy remained stable.
“The increase in the OPR by 100 bps reflected the return of monetary policy accommodation to a reasonable level following a reduction of a cumulative 125 bps to a historic low of 1.75% to provide support to the economy during the pandemic.
“For floating rate loans taken before the pandemic, the number of monthly instalments is currently still lower than the number of instalments before the pandemic, which is 3%,” he noted.