I AM writing in support of writer of "Temper punishment with justice to bankrupts" as published in The Star on March 4.  
In the United Kingdom, the bankruptcy laws have been revised to discharge bankrupts from a period of three years to one year.  
It gives them a second chance speedily as it is believed that punishing bankrupts makes people fear taking risks.  
Reducing the cost of failure should stoke entrepreneurship. It distinguishes between "no fault" bankrupts (corporate guarantors etc) and those who have got into trouble simply by living beyond their means. It is a policy of forgive and forget.  
In Australia, bankrupts have a choice of paying one third of their debt for immediate discharge or wait for two years for automatic discharge.  
In the United States, bankruptcy is a battle-honour among businessmen and fairly painless for those who can't pay medical or even credit card bills. 
In Malaysia, there are more than 160,000 bankrupts and the number is increasing as there is no automatic discharge, which increases the workload of the Official Assignee, Immigration and banks. 
Life is tough for bankrupts with so many restrictions imposed and sometimes they are treated like pariahs or common criminals. 
An example is the restriction on overseas travel.  
Similar restriction is also imposed by the EPF, Income Tax Dept and PTPTN.  
Whilst the spirit of the law is to ensure people do not flee the country without settling their debts, it has been turned into a punishment.  
Such criminalisation of financial debt is totally unjust. 
I would therefore urge the Government to urgently review the Bankruptcy Act 1967 as well as EPF Act 1991 and other laws which are antiquated. 
Kuala Lumpur.  

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