SEPANG: National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers who find themselves stuck at immigration can look forward to solving their issues swiftly as the corporation has set up a branch in KLIA2.
Opened on March 1 at the departure hall of the airport, it is PTPTN’s 70th branch.
PTPTN chief executive officer Wan Ahmad Wan Yusoff said the branch operates 24 hours a day, adding that the corporation had also made several improvements this year.
“We have extended our careline operations from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week including public holidays.
“There are around 200 officers on duty and we have the capacity of answering around 4,000 calls a day.
“We receive very few calls over the weekend and at night, so we urge borrowers to call us during this period if you are unable to reach us during the day,” he told reporters after the launching ceremony here by Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Mary Yap yesterday.
Other improvements include opening up more channels for borrowers to repay their loan.
The corporation has 241 kiosks called PayQuick all over the country.
“Borrowers just have to enter their IC number and pay their loan. It’s also a way for us to increase our collection.
“The purpose of opening a branch in KLIA2 is to help borrowers who get stuck for not paying up.
“Our focus are on those who are blacklisted,” said Wan Ahmad.
As of Jan 31 this year, 586,863 borrowers have been blacklisted by immigration, amounting to RM11.6bil in unpaid PTPTN loans.
“Of this number, at least 55% have come forward to negotiate with us. We have taken their names out of the list.
“Since we opened this branch, some 300 borrowers have paid their dues,” he said.
Wan Ahmad said there were several ways for borrowers to find out whether they have been blacklisted.
They can check the PTPTN or the Immigration Department portals.
Wan Ahmad urged borrowers to approach their branch officers in KLIA2 at least two to three hours before departure.
“There have been many times when a borrower comes to us at the eleventh hour after being stopped at immigration.
“When this happens, sometimes we will not be able to assist them in time,” he said.
Wan Ahmad also said that these borrowers would receive an e-mail blast from PTPTN.
“Once we blacklist a borrower, we will automatically send out e-mails informing them.
“Upon negotiation, we will then send out another e-mail informing them of their release from the list.
“E-mail is one method we use frequently, therefore we urge borrowers to update their e-mail accounts as well as phone numbers,” he added.
As for their careline, he advised them to call at least four hours before departure.
“On our website, we have a list of marketing executives whom borrowers can call at least three days before flying abroad, should they need any help,” he added.
Wan Ahmad said that these initiatives were aimed at collecting the money owed to PTPTN, so that it could continue giving loans to new students.
“There are many options for borrowers to pay back PTPTN.
“Firstly, they can repay their loan in a lump sum and receive a 15% discount. For those who can’t afford to do so, they can opt to repay 50% of their loans and receive a 10% discount.
“If a borrower can’t afford either of these two options, they can then choose to negotiate with an officer and settle a certain amount they have agreed on and then subsequently repay every month by deducting from their salaries, which also guarantees them a 10% discount.”
Wan Ahmad said last year the corporation targeted to collect RM2bil, but surpassed the sum by collecting RM3.4bil.
“We hope to collect RM4bil this year. We realise that with more enforcement and friendly staff, borrowers themselves feel responsible to repay.
“They are aware that new students are in need of PTPTN loans. Therefore, we cannot simply assume that all borrowers are irresponsible. It is only a handful of bad apples who have yet to repay.”
The ceremony also saw PTPTN undertaking a collaboration with AirAsia to encourage repayment of loans by introducing a refund method using AirAsia’s BIG Prepaid MasterCard.
“Borrowers who own this card will reap benefits whereby they earn a point with every RM2 paid for their PTPTN loan,” said Wan Ahmad, adding that borrowers could use the points that they have accumulated to redeem AirAsia flight tickets, without having any processing fee charged, and selected hotel accommodation.
Card holders, he said, could also store up to six different currencies at a time.
AirAsia Bhd director Datuk Aziz Bakar commended PTPTN for their initiative.
“They are very friendly, proactive and they try to help.
“Borrowers have the responsibility to pay back. If they don’t do their part, it will be difficult for PTPTN to give out more loans.
“I believe that year after year, the number of applicants are increasing,” he added.
Aziz said AirAsia was willing to help PTPTN and the Government for the well-being of society.