PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak has criticised Putrajaya’s decision to restrict the offer to convert PTPTN loans to scholarships to only the students from B40 low-income households who obtained first-class honours, saying it was not right.
Previously there was no restriction and all students including those from the M40 was given this incentive.
The former prime minister said M40 households, such as those with a monthly income of RM5,000 a month and with more than two children, would definitely be affected by the government’s decision.
He urged the government to clarify its announcement in the budget tabled on Friday.
In a Facebook post, Najib said that in the past, students were exempted from repaying their National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans if they achieved outstanding results.
This was to encourage them to strive for academic excellence.
Students from M40 households who have worked hard to achieve first-class honours, he said, would be disappointed with the government’s new move.
Najib went on to question if the Pakatan Harapan government felt that students from M40 households need not be hardworking and smart.
“Aren’t the exemptions a form of free education that PH once promised?”
He also said that despite the allegations by PH that the Barisan Nasional government was cruel to students, the latter had never ignored those from the M40 households.
“It seems the students have been duped into thinking that a new government would be better and they are now forced to accept that they are treated even worse.”
Last year, it was reported that about 41,706 PTPTN borrowers with loans totalling RM1.2 billion were exempted from repaying their loans.
The B40 low-income households refer to those with earnings of up to RM3,000 while the M40 households are those with incomes of up to RM6,275.