Friday, June 19, 2009
Tan Sri Sanusi Junid can relate a similar story that involved him even earlier, about 40 years or so ago. At that time he was with the Chartered Bank. And the story goes as follows.
Sanusi had tendered his resignation and his Mat Salleh boss called him and asked what it would take to get him to withdraw his resignation and stay with the bank. Sanusi replied that if they gave him a few million Ringgit (equivalent to hundreds of millions today) to lend to the Kedah farmers under a special loan scheme then he would probably stay with the bank.
What Sanusi had discovered was that nearly every Kedah farmer owed money to the Ah Longs and were paying an exorbitant rate of interest just like what the petty traders and fishermen in Dungun were subjected to. The interest came to about 100% per year, which is still comparatively lower than the Dungun rate of interest, which was more than 100% per month.
The Chartered Bank agreed and Sanusi arranged for his officers to go down to the padi fields on motorcycles to look for farmers to lend money to. Eventually, they managed to disburse the money to all the farmers and free them from the clutches of the Ah Long.
Sanusi did not make press statements saying that he was ‘going to the ground’. He just got the bank to agree to give him a few million Ringgit and then he sent his officers into the padi fields to search for farmers in debt. They then gave the farmers loans so that the Ah Longs could be paid off in full and the farmers could be free of the blood-sucking rate or interest.