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Debt counselling agency targets young    
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Source: Business Times

BANK Negara Malaysia's debt counselling agency, Agensi Kaunseling & Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK), is finalising details of the Financial Capability Programme (FCP) to be offered to young adults next year.

AKPK chief executive officer Mohamed Akwal Sultan said the agency will come out with a new module, focusing on managing personal debt soundly.

"Every year, between 450,000 and 500,000 youngsters enter the workforce. If we can target half of those, it would be good," Mohamed Akwal told Business Times in an interview in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Early this month, Bank Negara announced the FCP to help Malaysians, especially young adults, practise better financial and debt management.

The central bank is targeting individuals, particularly new prospective borrowers and young adults, for the program-me that will start in January.

Mohamed Akwal said Bank Negara and AKPK will make an announcement next month with regards of the venue, frequency and registration of the programme.

He said AKPK can offer the programme in six major towns as it has the place to organise it. For other towns, AKPK can work with Association of Banks Malaysia for the venue.

"Ideally, it is for people who have not borrowed. We are also opening it to people who want to learn about money management," he said.

Mohamed Akwal said such a programme has never been done in other countries. "Malaysia is the first country to do this," he claimed.

According to a Bank Negara report, over the past four years, total household borrowings grew at an average annual rate of 9.5 per cent to RM561.5 billion as at end-August 2010. This accounted for 78.1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

About 45 per cent of household debts were to finance the purchase of residential properties, while 20 per cent for car financing.

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