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No relief for the pre-2017 bankrupts
Published on: Sunday, October 08, 2017

By Justice for bankrupts
FOR many years, those individuals who have felt the rigours of Malaysia’s anachronistic bankruptcy laws that are overtly creditor friendly had hoped that these laws would be changed.

Over the past several years, they had been hopeful that the proposed amendments to the Bankruptcy Act 1967 would bring them some respite and afford them a second chance. These expectations were buoyed by the strong political rhetoric of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

She stated in April this year that the amendments were aimed at making the law more humane and this would slash the figure of 293,000 bankrupts down substantially (with more than 60pc between the ages of 25 and 44).

It was said that the primary aim of the reform was to bring Malaysia’s Bankruptcy Act 1967 (which was based on the English Bankruptcy Act 1914) in line with the developments in other jurisdictions, which permit the automatic discharge of bankrupts after a certain period of time to allow them a second chance in life.

However, the new Bankruptcy Amendment Act 2017 provides no relief whatsoever and is simply an eyewash.

It’s just political hoodwinking that creates the impression that the Government is concerned about the rakyat when in fact it is still very much aligned with the powerful banks and financial institutions.

Section 60(1) of the Act makes it clear that these amendments do not apply to any individual who was made a bankrupt before this new Act comes into force. This simply means that for the 293,000 or so existing bankrupts, this Act affords no relief whatsoever.

It is my view that this Act is contrary to Article 8(1) of our Federal Constitution which states: “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.”

Section 60(1) of the Bankruptcy Amendment Act 2017 creates two classes of bankrupts, those who became bankrupt before the Act came into force and those declared bankrupt after the Act, and does not accord both groups equal protection under the law. This is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Parliament should act now to remedy this situation and abolish section 60 of the Bankruptcy Amendment Act 2017, and provide equal protection and relief to all bankrupts as promised by the Government.

Justice for bankrupts

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