A Filipino domestic worker in Singapore accumulated so much debt that she risked going to Malaysia to take out another loan, which turned out to be another questionable transaction, and now she regrets it as she cannot pay the interest, which piles on even more debt every month.
The woman sought help from Blessed Grace Social Services (BGSS), a Singapore-based non-governmental organization that provides negotiation services for foreign domestic workers accumulate more debt than they can repay, The Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia) reported, citing Shin Min Daily News.
She reportedly owed a total of S$2,000 to five illegal moneylenders in Singapore, but since November 30, all foreigners in the country earning less than S$10,000 (US$7,300) a year have been prohibited from borrowing more than S$1,500 from all licensed moneylenders combined, and so the woman felt trapped.
As recommended by her friends, the Filipino woman in September traveled to Johor Baru, Malaysia, to get the equivalent of S$600 in additional loans so she could make the payments on what she already owed to Singaporean moneylenders.
However, it turned out that the Malaysian moneylender was not quite legal after all, as she had to pay S$150 as interest every month until she settled the principal in full.
At present, she has paid S$450, which was not enough to cover the interest payments plus the principal.
Pastor Billy Lee, founder and executive director of BGSS, reminded all foreign domestic workers not to try to settle their debts in Singapore by borrowing overseas as it could become a vicious circle of never getting personal finance problems solved.