Thursday, October 13, 2005

IRRESPONSIBLE DEFAULTERS

What's a Guarantor in a loan agreement? Damn, I don't have a law dictionary in hand, but basically in layman's term, he's the guy who's helping you get your loan. The financier don't really trust you enough to lend you money, but when your Guarantor comes into the picture, the financier says "hey ok, this other guy obviously trusts the applicant enough to serah leher dia to us in case the applicant doesn't repay his loan, so let's give the applicant the loan lah" The Guarantor is THAT important to you at that point of time, yes?

So you get the loan & enjoy the money, build up your life, gets you that cushy job, bungalow on the hill and cars with pedigree (not-the-local-mongrel pr*t*n). Do you split the money with the guy who helped you get the loan a.k.a The Guarantor? Nope. Nada. Illek puchek. Does he get any benefit at all for risking his neck for you? Nope. Nada. Illek puchek. All from the goodness of his heart.

Time passes, you start paying the monthly instalments. More time passes, you start to prioritize other things above settling your debt. Hey, I need that RM250 karaoke session MORE than I need to repay my loan. I need that RM450 facial and full-body massage MORE than I need to repay my loan. I need this I want that who cares about my loan repayment after all I am not the only one who has defaulted so they better go chase after those defaulters who have bigger loans than me and besides I am entitled to all that money it is my birthright { Jie, tarik nafas... hembus... tarik nafas... hembus...fuuhh letihnya }.

So now after copious efforts to contact you through phone, numerous letters of reminder, several notices of demand, even visits to your last known address, we are left with no choice but to file a civil suit in court against you and your Guarantor(s). But here's the thing, you moved and never informed us of your latest address. You seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth, but we managed to track down your Guarantor and serve the summons on him. So now, who's neck is on the chopping board? Your Guarantor, of course. Kesian dia, kesiaannn diaaa, penyu menangis siapalah yang tahuuuu...

Your Guarantor (most likely to have been a friend of your parents, or neighbours from kampung and most likely to be in their 40s, 50s or 60s, or relatives or even your own family members) comes to our office in a state of shock and confusion, sometimes anger too.
"Encik, bukan saya yang berhutang, kenapa saman saya?"
"Puan, makcik tak kenal peminjam ni, bapak dia yang mintak makcik tolong jadi penjamin, kenapa saman makcik?"
"Cik, duit ni tak dapat ke saya pun, saya cuma niat nak tolong anak bangsa supaya dapat melanjutkan pelajaran, kenapa saman saya?"
"Nak, pakcik dah pencen, ada sakit jantung, kenapa saman pakcik?"

Adeeehhh.... susahnya nak explain pada pakcik-makcik ni that by law, the guarantor's liability is the same, jointly & severally, as that of the borrower's, it's all stated there in clause 4 of our standard loan agreement! Tak, bukan susah nak cakap, our officers are very articulate I-tey-you. We are after all, qualified lawyers (loyar buruk pun ada). Yang susahnya ialah berat hati dan berat lidah nak beritahu pakcik-makcik ni betapa angkara orang yang mereka pernah tolong jamin dulu membuatkan diri mereka sekarang 'terancam'.

Kesannya? Well, one bank dulu pernah tahan duit pencen some of these unfortunate people. Nasib baik they've scrapped off that policy now. Some Guarantors have failed to secure loans for themselves or even to act as guarantors for their own children's study loans. Aside from the financial hassle, it is a matter of honour and justice to these kind old souls. Mak-Ayah kita ni memang takut dengan mahkamah, malu bila kena saman, nak-nak lagi bukan atas 'dosa' diri mereka sendiri, semua ni tak adil dan menjejaskan maruah diri mereka.

Along these years, I have encountered all kinds of borrowers giving all kinds of excuses under the sun. The genuine down-on-the-luck cases, yes we treat with compassion. But some others seem to take pleasure in pulling the smoke curtain over our eyes, telling sob stories, making promises, giving out dud cheques etc. Oh yeah, we usually can detect the phonies from a mile away, but procedures say we have to give 'em a second chance. Some try the offensive tactic, marah-marah, threaten & intimidate us, try to get underneath our skins. Some resort to the all-famous trick of 'main tarik kabel', oh you know what I mean. Macam-macam endorsement ada, cuma endorsement Pak Lah je yang aku belum jumpa. People, WTFF huh?

Along these years also, I have met many Guarantors. We try to be as gentle as possible with them, but yet duty dictates that we have to be firm in what we do. Nak buek camno, da big kahunna keep hounding us on collection, collection, collection. There have been many occassions where the Guarantors break down in tears, mengenangkan nasib malang mereka, madu yang dihulur dibalas tuba { Jie! terer pepatah ye, macam Karam Singh Walia hehehe }. On several of those occassions, I couldn't stop my own tears from falling. Kesian diaaa, kesiaaannn diiaaa...

One particular case touched me deeply indeed. This pakcik from Kelantan living on his RM480 duit pencen with his wife, is the father of a defaulter with a RM120K loan. Soon after finishing his studies, the borrower clashed with some family members, then bawa diri lari ke US. That was back in the late 1980s. After a few years, they lost contact with him. When we filed the civil suit, the guarantors (who were the pakcik's friends) got very angry to the extent of 'serang' this pakcik at home with a parang. Heboh satu kampung, sampai pakcik ni sekarang jadi kera sumbang.

So the pakcik comes to us, asking for advice. He has since been paying RM50 a month in an effort to stave-off the civil suit. But we tell him, this is inadequate. The only way this loan can ever be 'neutralized' is if the borrower has passed away. The pakcik, with tears in his eyes says, "pokcik redha la klu dia mati sekalipung, asake dok susohke oghe (guarantors) laing" But there is no way of knowing the whereabouts of the borrower, short of hiring private detectives. The next best step is to get a declaration of death from the High Court. But the costs of this procedure is in the regions of RM5K to RM8K, which the pakcik can't afford. We helped him get legal aid, the wheels were put in motion, but then the court says, hey you gotta go track him in the US first then, get a verification from the local police and our consulate there. All avenues now seem to lead to dead ends for this pakcik.

The really sad part is seeing this pakcik every time he comes to our office with his luggage bag. I asked him how (mode of transport) he comes to KL?
"Pokcik naik bah male dari Kota Bharu, sampa sini subuh, pokcik gi masjid kejap. Pahtu pokcik jale ke sini (jauh tu from the terminal-masjid-my office!). Ning lepah ni pokcik gi masjid lagi, semaye, tido sebeta, pete ni pokcik naik bah pulak kelik Kota Bharu"
"Jauhnya pakcik jalan!"
"Pokcik takdok pitih nok naik teksi"

Never once did this pakcik argue, or raise his voice, or even say any bad words against his son or the guarantors. Hanya matanya yang berkaca-kaca sambil bibirnya berkata "pokcik redha"
Imagine, dalam kedhaifan pencen RM480, dia cuba bayar RM50 sebulan untuk kurangkan hutang anaknya, not knowing how or where his son is and at the same time trying to get the courts to declare that his beloved son is dead, while spending precious money, time & effort coming down to KL every 2-3 months to our office. My heart goes out to him! Kasih seorang ayah tak mengenal batasan.

Conclusion - sendiri hutang, sendiri bayar la, jangan nak menyusahkan orang lain, seperti kacang lupakan kulitnya. Sekian sahaja saya Karam Jie Walia melaporkan untuk TV33.

5 comments:

Rostam Effendi said...

How sad and true. I nearly did not come back too. But I am sure I will pay back every cent. I did pay back my MARA loan, even it took me nearly 15 years!

Everybody have their reason, but, I would advice everybody, never be a guarantor.....

Jie said...

15 years... must've been a large amount ya? Myself studied in local U, I got my study loan converted to full sponsorship, no need to repay.

Yup, banyak orang dah serik jadi guarantor. Klu keje gomen, jadi guarantor for a bankrakyat loan, lagi parah. Bila loanee defauilt, depa tak tanya banyak, terus je potong gaji guarantor tu melalui biro angkasa. Happened to my poor clerk... kesian dia.

B0redSam said...

Me too. Got my loan converted to full sponsorship.

Before agreeing to be a guarantor, he/she must understand the risks. So, ask all questions and if your gut feeling think that there is a risk, don't sign.

Oh yeah, have you read Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking". Available in your local bookstores.

Jie said...

Hi Sam,

Thanx for dropping by. Is that a good read? Bulan puasa ni not much time for reading, but after Raya can go book-hunting yay!

B0redSam said...

Ai-seh, bulan puasa la rasanya banyak masa. Especially lepas sahur atau sementara menunggu berbuka.

The book should be good. Its about tapping into that "inner power/strength" that we didn't realize we had and hence, hopefully make good decisions from it.

Have you experience when your first instinct...your gut feeling told you to do so and so only for you to analyze and re-analyze and consider and re-consider and in the end, you discovered that the answer was really the one that you had instinctively thought off in the first place. The book is about that.