PUTRAJAYA: Attracted to the offer of a 20 percent discount for debtors who make full settlement of their National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan, Safura Foo decided to pay all her outstanding balance of RM18,449.35 in March, 2015.
However, her joy and relief of being a debt-free person lasted only until last month when she was stopped at the KL International Airport (KLIA) and was told by the Immigration officer that she was barred from travelling overseas as she had been blacklisted.
“I was at the airport, ready for my trip to Melbourne, Australia. Imagine my shock when I was told that I cannot travel overseas and that my name had been blacklisted because I still have PTPTN loan arrears of over RM3,000.
“To remove my name from the blacklist, I was asked to pay RM1,000 and due to the urgent situation, I made the payment online,” she told Bernama.
However, the former photography student from Segi College said she remained angry and disappointed with PTPTN when overseas, and wondered why she was still in the PTPTN debtor’s category even after she had made full settlement of the loan more than a year ago.
Upon her return from Melbourne, Safura went to PTPTN office in Kuala Lumpur to seek clarification and was told that she allegedly had arrears of over RM3,000 because “the cheque was not cleared” – an answer she found very disappointing.
“I’m very disappointed. Why is it that after settling all the payments, the records were not updated? It’s been more than a year, and I have also not received any notification letter.
“I lodged a complaint about this almost a month ago, but PTPTN has yet to give any feedback,” she said.
Safura said she was also informed by the Immigration officer at the KLIA that hers was not the first case and that many PTPTN debtors had been “forced” to make the immediate payment of RM1,000 at the airport to remove their names from the blacklist so that they could travel overseas.
A PTPTN debtor, who only wanted to be known as Kho, 33, also expressed his disappointment when his application to repay the loan through salary deduction had been kept in limbo since August last year.
He said he had repeatedly gone to the PTPTN counter to ask about the status of his application, but there was no answer.
“The problem is not that debtors wouldn’t pay, it’s the process and bureaucracy that make it difficult.
“I really hope that the government and the PTPTN could do something about this so that all the PTPTN loan arrears, which were said to have reach billions of ringgit, could be reduced,” he added.