KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan’s pledge to delay loan repayment for National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan borrowers earning below RM4,000 is nothing but a populist move. It is a political gimmick to mislead the younger generation and win their votes.
PTPTN chairman Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said the opposition’s proposal to remove PTPTN’s blacklisting policy, which was expected to part of its manifesto for the 14th General Election (GE14), was irresponsible and could not be implemented.
“PTPTN has conducted research (on the opposition’s pledges) and we feel that the proposal is not realistic, especially considering the present situation.
“Postponing loan repayment will only lead to an increase in the number of loan defaulters.
“It will also force PTPTN to be dependent on financial institutions if it wants to help other students further their studies,” he said at PTPTN’s 20th anniversary celebration here today.
Present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and PTPTN chief executive officer Wan Ahmad Wan Yusof.
Shamsul was asked to comment on the pledges related to PTPTN that were expected to be included in Pakatan Harapan’s Book of Hope, which would be unveiled in Shah Alam tonight.
Unlike the opposition’s farfetched promises, Shamsul said PTPTN had a realistic and flexible loan repayment scheme that would ensure the corporation’s sustainability and credibility.
The repayment grace period for PTPTN borrowers has been extended to 12 months after the conclusion of their course. The grace period was originally set at six months.
“Borrowers can also delay their loan repayments for another 24 months if it is proved that they are unable to pay their loans.
“We feel that the grace period and extension given is a reasonable time frame for borrowers to get a job.”
Shamsul said a collaborative job matching initiative between PTPTN and Prestariang Bhd had been introduced to help loan borrowers secure employment.
He said PTPTN borrowers could apply for the programme at www.jobmatchingptptn.my.
“Five PTPTN borrowers have secured employment since we started the pilot project for the initiative about three months ago.
“We hope more PTPTN borrowers can benefit from the programme,” he said, adding that more than 5,000 jobs were available under the programme.