Got this news report in the email.
21 Dec 2012, Bt. 11 Cheras
Around 40 people gathered today at 11 am in front of the AmBank Balakong to stage a peaceful protest against the Bank for auctioning a poor family’s house without any prior notice or discussion. The action to auction the house was done against a family who are on welfare aid while the primary earner is under Socso after an Industrial action.
In the last 3 years, PSM service centres all round Peninsular are getting more and more complaints against Banks unscrupulous actions against the poor. Two years back, PSM along with victims of the ‘Banks’ did a peaceful protest in front of Bank Negara seeking solutions. They did some PR job. That’s all.
Problem is not solved, it’s getting worse. We still receive more complaints. Among the issues are bankruptcy, consumers houses/property auctioning, identity and document fraudulence, refusal to reveal significant information to the property owners e.g. insurance coverage – most of these complaints are from the poor income group.
Few days back, we at PSM (Kajang branch) received a complaint from Madam Muniammah who is living on welfare aid who said that her only apartment purchased 11 years ago are not auctioned without her knowledge. We immediately compiled her stories and made a police report at Kajang police station on 6th Dec. Five days later, we took her to AmBank’s headquarters with a written complaint letter- the officer who attended us, Mr. Guna refused to accept the letter, instead pushed us to meet with their Pudu Branch office as they are the one apparently handled the auction. So, we went there and met with one Devaraj who again refused to accept our complaint letter. He did explain a few things but our main question was why there was no letters or notices send to the family within the last 9 years if there are serious issues. Where is there no lawyer notice to inform her about her house being auctioned or sold?
Almost everyday since July 2012, the family is being continuously harassed and threatened by the so-called new owner of the house. She made several police reports but to no avail. She is living without water and electricity for past 3 weeks. How can TNB and SYABAS disconnect the supply when she is paying her bills? Did they receive any court order?
What is ridiculous is the family made some payment to the Bank in May. In July when they went to make the payment, they were told the house already had been auctioned.
We had no choice but to bring the matter to the street. Today, the family of Madam Muniammah – her daughter in law, youngest daughter and 2 grand children (one of them is disabled) with support of PSM and Pro-Rakyat NGO members staged a peaceful protest in front of the AmBank Berhad at Batu 11, Balakong. Also present was PSM Secretary General S.Arutchelvan.
Her son, Thanasegaran Subramaniam (34), an heart patient, who is the actual owner of the house is currently hospitalized and he is living on SOCSO. He met with an industrial accident about 3 years ago. His monthly Socso funds about RM400 and his mother Muniammah’s welfare funds, RM200 – total about RM600 is how much they pay the AmBank almost every month. Both their EPF money is also gone – paid for the house. What is left? After all the hardship, even the house is not theirs anymore? Where would they go?
There are rules and procedures, no doubt, especially to protect the interest of the banks. Yet, we find it rather odd that the family never received any letter, notices, statement of payment from the bank in the last 9 years. The family make the housing loan payment at the Balakong branch office and why did they not discuss with her about restructuring the loan if she was defaulting.
This is the reason why we staged the protest today. After about 1/2 hour protest, there was no one from the bank bothered to even come out an check. This resulted in the protesters walking into the Bank and sitting down with their placard. Only then was there some urgency and a dialogue was held with the Branch Manager, Mr. Gary who promised to bring the matter to higher level.
We want the protest today give a message to the Banks – yes, the poor has no money or power but we can do one thing - embarrass the bank for their selfishness and lack of compassion for the poor and destitute. If Madam Muniammah (54) and her family ends up in the street, she is ready to occupy the AmBank HQ. PSM is ready to go on war on this issue. Those with similar problems can call 0163733692 or 0123762023
Banks should stop bullying the poor. Everyone knows what a huge profit they are making out of other people’s money. It’s a shame that they go after the poor to multiply their wealth! In this case they made money out of Muniammah, then the auction the house and made money again with the second buyer who is again a victim because he cannot go into an occupied home.
It is time the Bank respects the people who make them rich. Stop the bullying on the poor.