National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers enquiring how they can repay their loans. Many students today are not able to obtain loans from PTPTN because past borrowers refuse to settle their loans. FILE PIC

IRECENTLY came across a news report revealing that almost half a million borrowers from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) have not repaid a single sen of their loans, which amount to a whopping RM2.79 billion.

This issue isn’t something new to us. I have read about PTPTN loan defaulters for years.

Every time I stumble upon an update, there will be a significant rise in their numbers.

I can’t help but wonder why is this a problem when it should be a priority for borrowers.

When I applied to start an undergraduate degree in Universiti Malaya many years ago, I had to rely on PTPTN to finance my studies.

Luckily, I managed to get a full loan, and it landed me a degree three years later without a hitch.

I was very thankful for that, because had I not been able to get the loan, I wouldn’t have been able to complete my tertiary education.

Naturally, after I graduated and started working, I proceeded to start repaying the loan.

I knew there were many students who relied on the money that I was repaying to complete their studies.

I was lucky enough to have that opportunity, and I wasn’t about to stop others from having theirs.

Admittedly, there were some complications during the initial stages of repayment, especially during the first few weeks.

I was forced to waltz from my university to the post office and the PTPTN main office because of the preliminary paperwork that needed to be sorted out before I could begin with the repayment.

I must confess that I was quite annoyed with the endless procedures that took weeks to settle.

It was always a case of “you need to come back in three days” or “you need to get this document from your faculty”.

I was tempted to throw in the towel and forget about it because I had to go through so much trouble to repay the money that I owed.

However, I knew that if I didn’t go through with it, I would never have the time or likelihood of ever getting around to it.

So yes, I had to take countless days off from work just so I could set the wheels in motion for repayment.

It has been almost a decade now since I started the repayment, and a few months ago, I managed to finish paying off the loan in full.

Indeed, it felt wonderful when I had a letter from PTPTN in my hands, stating that I had successfully completed the repayment after all these years.

It was an accomplishment of sorts to me because it’s simply a responsibility and duty that all borrowers must undertake and finish. That being said, it was heartbreaking to learn that many students today are simply not able to obtain loans from PTPTN because borrowers refuse to pay up.

These students are not able to secure a future because of others’ ugly past.

Frankly, it is downright selfish and cruel. When are we ever going to learn that making excuses isn’t going to solve problems?

When are we ever going to understand that responsibility is something that one shouldn’t run away from?

When are we ever going to agree that being selfish is only going to cause more problems for others?

It is high time that we thought about where we are heading when it comes to this issue.

Why the need to have your passports blacklisted at the Immigration checkpoint when you’re about to travel overseas?

Why the need to have threats of having your name published in the newspapers?

Why the need to have your monthly salary forcefully deducted as a last resort?

Taking someone’s money and refusing to return it is as good as stealing.

I’m sure that is something you do not want to be associated with. Enough is enough. Being jobless isn’t an excuse.

Going through red tape isn’t an excuse. Lamenting that you’re lazy isn’t an excuse.

I’m sure you were brought up better than all of that. Instead of complaining and whining, just do what you’re supposed to.

The writer, a lecturer at Sunway College, is a Malaysian-born Eurasian with Scottish/Japanese/Indian lineage. She believes in a tomorrow where there is no racism and hatred