BANK NEGARA – PROTECTING CONSUMERS OR THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?

Dr Jacob George is president and legal adviser to the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (Cassa)

‘Bank Negara officials cannot be so insensitive and stupid as not to know that public/consumer sentiments on the ground towards any radical change of policies affecting them will bring resentment, drastic opposition and a groundswell of anger towards the federal government!’ – Dr Jacob George


BANK NEGARA – PROTECTING CONSUMERS OR THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?

I am surprised that despite my highlighting of this issue in my earlier blog posting nothing has come out in a public statement from Bank Negara towards addressing a joint meeting of all stakeholders who will be affected by the outcome of the introduction of a ‘no fault claim’ proposal!

Bank Negara officials cannot be so stupid as not to know that public/consumer sentiments on the ground towards any radical change of policies affecting them will bring resentment, drastic opposition and a groundswell of dissatisfaction towards the federal government!

I say it would be suicidal and really stupid to also pretend that there is no such policy initiatives in the pipeline based on recent comments on the same by the authorities.

I am aware that many groups have requested for a briefing from Bank Negara but sadly this has yet to materialize!

Why the fear and why the uneasiness to facilitate a joint discussion with stakeholders and the civil society?

It is all part of good governance and accountability and public policy initiatives should always be transparent!

Is it because the insurance lobbyists and Bank Negara are in a sine biotic relationship of sorts?

Is it because this is another apparent way to protect the insurance industry and their players at the expense of Malaysian consumers and others who are also stakeholders holding various responsible portfolios on behalf those who will be affected by any change in the way this scheme operates!

We cannot pretend that there is no such scheme based on the 2010 budget speech!

If this is mismanaged this will hurt the Najib administration very badly at a time the Prime Minister is working at breakneck speed to bring the country’s constituents together with policies that will protect their rights and interests!

This must be handled right or it will hurt the PM’s prioritizing of consumers needs!

I must warn all parties that after over 37 years in consumer advocacy and public policy policing, I am aware of each and every trick and my humble advice to Bank Negara is to refrain from any acts or omissions that may be seen as being extremely cordial to the insurance lobbyists and their cronies at the expense of consumers!

Malaysia is not the US, Australia, New Zealand, countries that are part and parcel of the European Union where there are social safety nets and parachutes to protect consumers and accidents victims and families!

If I fail to receive a call from Bank Negara confirming a platform organized for the mutual discussion of this new proposal with all stakeholders, I will personally share my grievances and that of my colleagues nationwide to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak!

This is not right Bank Negara!

Bank Negara must be seen with the consumers and their stakeholders who protect consumer rights not with the bourgeoisie cigar smoking rascals in silk suits – the ‘fat cats’representing the industry or worse their lobbyists!

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