| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 8 Oct 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Moneylending is a ‘noble profession, spoilt by a few’, says ex-cop Amar Singh who was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Malaysian moneylending fraternity.
“We provide loans to the poor or those who are otherwise unable to get it from the banks. We help those who need money fast as banks may take time to process their requests,” the veteran moneylender tells Asia Samachar.
Amar received the lifetime award from the Malaysian Punjabi Licensed Money Lenders Association (MPLMA), probably one of the few registered moneylenders association in the country.
The award was presented at the association’s Diwali Night on Friday (7 Oct 2016) in Kuala Lumpur. Among the guests at the event were MCA Head of Public Services and Complaints Department Michael Chong and Kuala Lumpur CPO Commissioner Amar Singh.
Amar, 79, who got a moneylending license in 1970, has been actively involved in the business for more than four decades, until he slowed down three years ago after an accident.
“We don’t use dirty tactics. But the Ah Longs have given the profession a bad name,” he added.
Ah Long is a Chinese word referring to moneylenders who charge exorbitant rates. They have been known to use aggressive means to recover loans, with countless reports of physical assaults, and lenders and their family members threatened with physical harm.
“Money lending is a noble profession, spoilt by a few. And, at times, its the borrowers themselves.”
“When in need of money, they come to us. But when its time to payback, they start making all sorts of excuses, even saying we makan darah,” he said.
Makan darah is a Malay term for blood suckers.
Born on 14 October 1937 in Singapore, his father Beshan Singh had also served in the police force.
In 1960, he followed his father’s footsteps by joining the police but his stint was cut short when he was medically boarded out in 1964 due to an accident.
“This led me to getting a moneylending license. It was pretty easy back then. You get the license from the state,” said Amar, who hails from Jerantut, Pahang.
Married to Amar Kaur, the couple has six children.
Amar was also involved in politics and Sikh community service. In politics, he rose to become the MIC Jerantut president.
In the Sikh circles, he helmed Sant Sohan Singh Melaka Memorial Society Malaysia, popularly known as the Vidyala, for six years and served as president of Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) between 1991-1992.
Amar was awarded the title Dato’ by the Sultan of Pahang in July 2010.
When asked for his advise to the younger moneylenders, Amar simply said: “Those days, it was tough….Today, the business is more sophisticated. They are so much more advanced than us.”
In 2015, MPLMA’s lifetime achievement award went to Gurdial Singh Gill, a veteran moneylender and a former counsellor with the Selayang Municipal Council linked to the Gerakan.
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