Pray for the kind souls

One couple came to see me yesterday. I can normally guess what they wanted immediately. People who come to see me usually have problems with housing or land or will be taken to court for violating development rules or ocassionally about non payment of government contracts. I was wrong, this couple did not have problem with those four, at least not directly.

Apparently the husband is the guarantor for his wife's elder brother's house at one of the national housing scheme. He has been sent a letter by the Housing Department that his salary will be deducted to pay for the house they have been guaranteeing. The owner of the house has not paid for his house since 1999. He has been staying there for the last 9 years without worrying about how he is going to pay for it. His attitude, according to his sister, is that nobody is going to evict him. (Non payment is a big issue. There are about 1,600+ houses in the national housing scheme which have payment issues.)

The sister has been trying to cajole the brother to start paying but apparently to no avail. She also asked the brother's children (he has 6 children, 4 of whom are already working) to take over the father's loans. But so far none of them are willing to take over the father's loans despite their higher earnings. She has even brought the transfer forms and whatever it is necessary. All it requires is that the children sign the form and bring it back to the housing department.

Short of punching or kicking the brother into his senses, this couple had done almost anything within their power to get the brother to start paying. This couple is not exactly a high salary couple either. The husband earns some $1,500 and the wife another $900. They have 5 children, all still schooling. When I checked their own housing application, they should be entitled to their own house within the next few months and their expenditures will no doubt increase with their own housing loan very soon. The wife told me that the brother's family could afford to pay the $200 a month. They have already changed cars, their mobile phones and have all the latest gadgets in the house. It was just the brother's family priority which is skewered.

This couple wanted to withdraw being guarantors immediately and have nothing more to do with the brother. I checked with the DPS who used to hold the housing portfolio for a few years. According to him, there have been issues with guarantors and told me a few stories. There was one couple who had to pay on behalf of a defaulter and later the husband died. So the widow continued paying for the defaulter scraficing her small pay while attempting to bring up her children. She skimped and couldn't afford to pay for her children's tuition. Her patience snapped when she found out that the defaulter had even taken an overseas holiday. Another story was of a guarantor who stood by his brother who was a contractor and helped to pay for his house when his business suffered. But when businesses recovered, the brother did not want to go back paying for his own house and just smiled whenever the guarantor brought up the subject.

During this holy month of Ramadhan, I am not going to rant or talk bad about these people who are clearly making a mockery of the system. All I will say is that I pray sincerely that the saintly souls who have been paying for them get the rewards they justly deserved and vice versa. All I wanted to point out is that there are clearly people, our own people, who have been given all the privileges that this country had offered, are clearly willing to let their own relatives suffer on their behalf. I hope you readers out there do not do what these people have done. Nuff said.

Comments

ROGUE ECONOMIST said…
O dear, this actually has been our sungkai topic in the past few days.
The system is abused rampantly: from credit card to car loan to education loan etc. And then of course there are many cases of borrow-and-never-be-heard-of again, mostly family members who almost exist in every families.

I personally think, one way of alleviating this kind of problem is a proper credit rating system. You see, without one, people can just apply for bank loans blindly (e.g. those 'free' loans being offered in the shops)and usually for some unnecessary puchases such as new mobile phones, new tvs etc.

Now, because these loans are made in persons (without guarantors), they become priority, leaving the debtor very little money or no money to service other 'less priority' loans which ironically and unfortunately include housing loans.

A proper credit rating system also serves as a reality check to many of those who love to 'bergaya biar papa'.

So, I do hope the relevant authority looks into this matter seriously. I don't know about you, but I think this also relates to our vision (or HM's vision) of achieving zero poverty in Brunei.

Anyway, what happened to the couple who went to meet you? Could they withdraw their guarantor statuship?

Salaam and wishing you and your family, Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri.
stormtrooper said…
The best way is the Government to take a firm action against them. Without firm action, the people will keep on kicking the authority's on the head.

We can also offer them a grace period of 6 months to start paying up or deducting directly from their salary. Worse case is bring them to court.

For the future, new house owners should pay through monthly deduction (if it has not been done that is) or we'll have this kind of problem again in the future.

Whatever way it is, we have to take action and be firm about it.

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