KOTA KINABALU: Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has been urged to look into the plight of Alliance Bank's customers who appealed to the bank to remain in Damai, Luyang.
In a collective voice on Thursday 14 December, which comes from the professionals group, they warned the closure of Alliance Bank in Damai will create a lot of inconveniences.
They have received a notice that Alliance's Damai branch will move to their Gaya Street branch in the city here effective Mar 1, 2018.
And to justify their call to make the bank change their mind during a meeting at a coffee house in Damai here, Stanford Chin said there are 2,377 commercial account holders in Alliance's Damai branch from the surrounding areas of Damai, Luyang, North Luyang and Dah Yeh Villa.
He also reminded the bank there are 7,663 residential; 10 medical clinics; two independent secondary schools; three hospitals; 23 coffee shops and 26 cafes in Luyang.
Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents chairman Dato' Seri Winston Liaw said the bank have a socio-economic responsibility towards the local business people and communities who have been supporting them since the beginning.
Architect Datuk Ho Jia Lit hoped the top echelons of Alliance Bank in Kuala Lumpur to understand the situation of the customers in Luyang.
He said Alliance Bank is a merger of Sabah Bank which was originally set up to serve the people in the rural and suburban areas and hoped they will continue the responsibility.
Luyang Residential Association chairperson Chia Miu Lee was taken aback by the bank's decision because Damai is a prime and strategic area to do business.
"It is the responsibility of the bank to serve the lesser city as part of their social responsibility although their main aim is to make profit" she said.
"Moving to Gaya Street will further worsen the traffic congestion in the city. After all, many business establishments are moving out from the city to avoid the jam" noted Chia.
Dr Malinda Tong recalled that BNM governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim had during an event in Kuching last month said BNM will continue to promote inclusive finance to ensure that the people gets quality financial service.
Ibrahim said the efforts involving bank agents will continue so that no segment of society will be left out in enjoying finance service.
Dr Malinda also asked BNM to respond to the petitions that they have submitted on Nov 17.
"We have collected over 600 signatures during a campaign and submitted to BNM to take note of our concerns and needs" she said.
Before this, the concerned customers have also appealed for help from Special Tasks Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Teo Chee Kang, Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid, Luyang Assemblyman Datuk Dr Hiew King Cheu and MCA Sabah deputy chairman Datuk Francis Goh.
They have sent appeal letters to the leaders to voice out their protest on Alliance's Damai branch decision to move. They pleaded that the move to Gaya Street will have a negative impact because it will increase the traffic congestion and render the business in Damai, Fohsang and Bornion areas less efficient as more travelling time and extra personnel is needed to do the transactions in the city.
Although the bank are promoting the use of online banking but Sabah is not ready yet because the internet line here is still very poor unlike in Kuala Lumpur, they pointed out.
Due to their protest, they said the Alliance Bank management has stated that the ATM lobby will be maintained at Damai branch, however, the cash deposit machine can only take denominations of RM10 and above which is not friendly to many small businesses and coffee shop operators who have many coins.