The Law Ministry will wait until a final report is submitted by the Advisory Committee on Money Lending before deciding on guidelines on appropriate conduct for debt collectors. The report is expected to be in by the first quarter of this year.
Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah said this in Parliament on Thursday (Feb 12), in response to questions by MP for West Coast GRC, Foo Mee Har. Ms Foo had asked what measures are being considered to ensure debt collectors are bound by a code of conduct which defines tactics and practices used to collect debts.
Ms Indranee said criminal sanctions can be taken against debt collectors when they engage in criminal conduct such as causing hurt. But there are also other types of conduct that may not be clearly criminal in nature but cause alarm to those targeted.
In this case, the recently-implemented Protection from Harassment Act allows for civil remedies where the borrower can file a complaint in the State Court. Before this, borrowers did not have redress against debt collectors who engage in harassing behaviour, such as faxing demand letters to the borrower’s workplace.
Ms Foo asked if the ministry will implement laws that govern fair debt collection practices. These have been adopted by countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and the United States.
To this, Ms Indranee said the ministry will wait for the final report by the Committee before reviewing further action.
Credits: Channel NewsAsia