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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Protests at 5 CIMB branches over school cleaner's house 'sale'

Five protests were held simultaneously at locations across the nation in support of school cleaner Tamil Selvi who was allegedly a victim of misconduct by CIMB Bank over her housing loan.

The protests, held by Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), took place outside five CIMB Bank branches in Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Seremban, Penang at 12.30pm today.

PSM deputy president S Arutchelvan, who attended the protest in Kuala Lumpur, claimed Tamil Selvi’s house in Ipoh was auctioned off by CIMB Bank in October 2020 for RM140,000 after alleged failure to carry out monthly repayments of her housing loan.

“(Tamil Selvi) paid her loan every month for 15 years. In 2019, her husband had a stroke. Despite that, she still paid her loan.

“Only on three occasions she failed - in February, April, and September (2020),” he told reporters outside CIMB Menara Bumiputra-Commerce along Jalan Raja Laut today.

He added when the couple tried to request for a portion of their payments to be made via Mortgage Reducing Term Assurance (MRTA), they were told the MRTA documents could not be found in the bank’s system.

A document sighted by Malaysiakini showed Tamil Selvi’s husband, S Chirtanthan, purchased MRTA insurance in 2001 that only expires in 2026.

Arutchelvan highlighted that Tamil Selvi is a school cleaner in Ipoh who earns only RM1,200 a month.

However, the couple continued to make payments until September 2020 when both Tamil Selvi and her husband apparently received a letter from the bank announcing the sale of their house.

This is despite them only owing the bank a remaining RM2,567 as of October 2020, Arutchelvan said.

He added that the auction notice was actually met with surprise by CIMB officers who told Tamil Selvi the outstanding payments would not warrant the sale of the house.

Contradicting claims

According to a press statement prepared by PSM, Tamil Selvi was told to not make further payments for the house in February 2021 after informing the bank’s Menglembu branch in Ipoh five days after her husband’s death.

That night, she received a call from someone claiming to be a CIMB officer saying her house was auctioned and she would be evicted.

However, 10 days later, a letter from CIMB, sighted by Malaysiakini, dated Feb 28, 2021, wrote that all outstanding loans had been settled.

PSM said the letter contradicted the bank’s claim the house had been bought by a third party.

“It is apparent that CIMB made a grave mistake of carrying out the auctioning process for failure to make payments in three months due to illness, as well as during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“They also failed to apply for MRTA after learning of Chirtanthan’s illness and giving the wrong advice when Tamil Selvi brought the sale announcement to the Menglembu branch,” read the statement.

PSM called on the bank to repurchase the house to return it to Tamil Selvi, adding that she was willing to pay any outstanding loan payments.

A flyer distributed by PSM during the protest claimed that the new owner of the house was willing to sell the house back to the bank.

When contacted by Malaysiakini, CIMB said they could not comment on matters regarding their customers.

“We cannot disclose or comment on specific names or customers.

“At all times, CIMB is committed to ensuring fair treatment for customers, including following standard recovery procedures and engaging customers to address any issues they face,” read the statement. - Mkini

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