Written Answer by Minister for Law, K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on Debt Collection by Licensed Moneylenders
14 Jul 2015 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Alex Yam, Member of Parliament for Chua Chu Kang GRC
To ask the Minister for Law (a) whether the debt collection process of licensed moneylenders is regulated; (b) whether any licensed moneylenders have been taken to task in the last five years for using intimidation during their debt collection; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider strengthening the framework for regulating licensed moneylenders so as to prevent intimidation of debtors.
As I explained in an earlier response to a similar question, there are existing laws protecting debtors from unreasonable or illegal conduct by creditors, including licensed moneylenders, or their debt collectors in collecting debts. For example, they may be liable to criminal sanctions under the Penal Code if hurt or threatening behavior is involved. The Protection from Harassment Act 2014 (“the Act”) also provides for criminal sanctions and civil remedies against harassing behavior. Some debtors have obtained court orders against harassing debt collectors under the Act.
Borrowers who encounter criminal behaviour from licensed moneylenders or their debt collectors should report the matter to the Police or the Registry of Moneylenders. Moneylenders found to have committed criminal offences during the debt collection process may have their licences suspended, not renewed or revoked by the Registry. There have been no such cases thus far.
The present system provides sufficient safeguards to protect borrowers from being intimidated by licensed moneylenders or their debt collectors. The Ministry of Law remains committed to improving the professionalism of the moneylending industry. In this regard, an Advisory Committee on Moneylending recently announced a set of 15 recommendations to strengthen the moneylending regime. The Ministry has accepted 12 recommendations, including those relating to controls on borrowing costs and borrowing quantum.
Last updated on 14 Jul 2015