For the past three years, Nor and her husband have been living in a state of uncertainty due to issues with their house in Subang 2, near Shah Alam.
Due to defaults in bank loan repayment, the bank that provided the housing loan put the house up for auction. To compound the matter, the couple was also declared bankrupt.
However, now the 42-year-old, who refused to reveal her full name, and her husband can breathe a sigh of relief, for the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) intervened and successfully negotiated with the bank to alleviate the couple's suffering.
The couple will get to keep their house for now and Affin Bank Bhd, which provided the loan, has also agreed to annul their bankruptcy status.
"Now I can smile... but I'm still waiting for the official 'black and white' from the bank," Nor told a press conference arranged by PPIM in Kuala Lumpur today.
The case of Nor's house went viral on social media late last year when an individual, known as Lee Hui Sen, won the auction for the house but later gave up his deposit of RM44,500 to let the couple stay there.
Lee's handwritten note detailing his change of mind, out of sympathy for the couple, was widely shared on social media but attempts to trace the good samaritan have so far proved futile.
According to Nor, the bank had made five attempts to auction the house since 2014. The first one was cancelled following disagreement on new repayments, while the second and third attempts did not attract any bidders.
Lee won the fourth auction.
PPIM president Nadzim Johan said Affin Bank agreed to cancel the fifth auction, originally scheduled for Jan 10, following the negotiations.
"They (the bank) also agreed to continue providing loans so that further payments for the house can be made.
"We are now waiting for Affin Bank to finalise annulling their (the couple's) bankruptcy status," he said, adding that other financial institutions should also emulate Affin Bank in such issues.
He said that bankruptcy should be the last resort as means to recover unpaid loans.
PPIM activist Sheik Abdul Kareem Khadaid, who was also present at the press conference, pointed out that banks, when dealing with such cases, have the option to foreclose assets or apply to have someone declared bankrupt.
"We are asking for Bank Negara to issue an order that in cases where customers have assets, the banks cannot take action to declare them bankrupt," he said.
This, Sheik Abdul Kareem explained, would protect customers from being burdened with legal fees, on top of other restrictions related to their bankrupt status.- Mkini