Protecting families’ finances with a tighter Moneylenders Act 

24/11/2023

Borrowing money for a quick influx of cash when those life emergencies come knocking — when a parent falls ill, when a child’s school fees need paying — can sometimes be necessary. And borrowing is often easy. 

Payback’s a different experience, however. It can add up into another life emergency in itself. Missing a payment can spiral into increasing loan penalties, especially problematic when compound interest adds to the weight of the borrowing. What happens to your family then?   

So the Amendments to the Moneylenders Act read by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Law Rahayu Mahzam this Wednesday (Nov 22) include making sure that more comprehensive credit checks from public agencies and credit bureaus are in place when people seek out loans from moneylenders. These Amendments have data disclosure and collection clauses which also encourage financially prudent borrowing, not end up with ridiculous amounts of debt.  

It is our Party making sure that borrowed sum of money adds up for your family’s good. 

Privacy and help for S’pore’s families

Our MPs’ questions about the Amendments were similarly focused on protecting families. 

MPs Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) and MP Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) both asked about the safeguards about data disclosure. This is since the amended Act now lets moneylenders get personal and detailed credit reports of potential borrowers from credit bureaus

“The prescribed credit bureaus and other third parties are subject to the obligations under the Personal Data Protection Act. For example, you must protect the data in your possession when making reasonable security arrangements to prevent unauthorised access, use or disclosure. The ability to do so is something we will consider carefully when deciding whether to prescribe particular credit bureaus to receive borrower information,” clarified SPS Rahayu about how this very personal data will be kept secure and confidential — and essentially cannot be weaponised against borrowers. 

In fact, social service agencies can help borrowers better under these new Amendments, added SPS Rahayu in response to MP Ng’s question about the Amendments having moneylenders disclose information which can protect loan applicants. 

“We intend to prescribe social service agencies [SSAs] which have been assisting borrowers that have been negotiating debt consolidation, loans or restructuring plans with licensced moneylenders. The disclosure of loan information to such SSAs is essential for effective negotiation and should ultimately benefit the borrower,” said SPS Rahayu. 

So this is information which lets SSAs have a clearer picture of a person’s circumstances when brought in to find a repayment solution which works for borrowers when their payments lapse. 

When needed, the Ministry of Law will also assess the benefits and disadvantages of giving a person or organisation access to this confidential information, 

Debts can spiral; these Amendments are safeguards towards breaking their vicious circle and giving Singapore’s families the help and dignity they need to chart a more financially secure future.