KUALA LUMPUR: The former chairman of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) today proposed that the current government continue with the repayment method used by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.
Shamsul Anuar Nasarah noted that while the scheduled salary deductions proposed by the current government will help increase PTPTN’s collections, it will however put a strain on borrowers and is not “customer-friendly”.
In the past, Shamsul said PTPTN had put in place various methods and incentives to convince borrowers to pay back their loans and, at the same time, ensure it became a priority for borrowers to pay back.
“In 2016, we collected RM3.4 billion, and last year, we collected RM3.985 billion.
“It helped to reduce a bit of PTPTN’s dependency on financial institutions in providing funds to new students.
“BN has left behind something good. So, please, don’t be ashamed to continue this even though you have criticised it in the past,” he told FMT.
Shamsul said scheduled salary deductions were hard to implement in Malaysia, based on studies carried out in countries which used the system, unless the present government was ready to be criticised by the people.
Before such deductions can be carried out, Shamsul said the government must first amend the related regulations and hold consultations with employers.
However, he said there would then be a difference in the mandated salary deduction, when compared to the voluntary deductions previously.
“It will result in injustice to many quarters,” he said, adding that the past deduction method was made with the consensus of borrowers.
The education ministry today suspended a new repayment scheme for PTPTN borrowers, a day after it was announced.
“The ICLR PTPTN repayment scheme will be suspended for the time being until we receive collective input and feedback from all stakeholders,” Education Minister Maszlee Malik, announced on Twitter today, referring to the Income Contingent Loan Repayment (ICLR).
The new deduction method and the amounts were criticised widely on social media.
PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan had proposed that borrowers earning RM2,000 and above pay 2-15% of their salaries to repay their student loans.
While the repayment amount for those earning RM2,000 is only RM40 a month, the figure spikes for those earning RM8,000 and above as they will have to fork out 15%, or RM1,200, each month.
Wan Saiful said there were enough laws to ensure employers followed the directive to do deductions through salaries of PTPTN borrowers.