PTPTN borrowers question fund’s delay in notification

JOHOR BARU: National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers are struggling to pay their loans after graduating.

Some claim that they were not given any notice to start servicing their loans before the repayment scheme took effect.

Clerk Tuan Nor Hikmah Tuan Aziz, 26, said that her outstanding amount grew by some RM6,000 over a year after completing her degree in Business Administration in October 2015.

“I only secured a job in April last year and upon applying for a bank loan, discovered there was an outstanding debt of RM6,000.

“I knew I had to repay the PTPTN loan but there was no email or letter stating when I should start paying back,” she said.

Nurse R. Thilagawathy, 26, said that she too realised she had to pay RM6,000 more within a year, after taking up a RM80,000 loan to pursue her studies in nursing.

“I only managed to find work almost a year after graduating,” Thilagawathy said, adding she only paid half the amount owed after she was barred from leaving the country.

Marketing officer L. Joseph, 28, said he was disappointed when his application to pay his outstanding debt of RM7,000 via the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) was rejected.

“I was told I couldn’t use my EPF funds as I had dropped out,” he said.

It was reported that the Higher Education Ministry is aiming to collect at least RM4bil in repayment from PTPTN borrowers this year.

Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said that some RM3.4bil had been collected last year, surpassing its target of RM2bil.

When contacted, Johor PTPTN general manager Muhammad Faizal Adnan pointed out that the agreement signed by borrowers clearly states they would have to start servicing the loan six months after their final examinations.

He said they would usually send an email to alert borrowers to start repaying but sometimes the addresses provided are no longer in use.

“If borrowers are unable to secure a job with a stable income in six months, they can apply for a delay on the repayment scheme, whereby we will not take action such as blacklisting or barring them from leaving the country,” he said.

Muhammad Faizal noted that the repayment scheme would still take effect automatically six months after their final examinations and the amount owed would be reflected in their accounts.

“We advise those seeking an extension to pay whatever amount they can first,” he said.

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