Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, LOSHANA K. SHAGAR and TARRENCE TAN
A total of 410,500 borrowers owe the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) RM6.84bil in loans, says the Higher Education Ministry.
It said that the sum involved a total of RM2.84bil from borrowers who had never paid a single sen to PTPTN since the programme was introduced in 1997.
The remaining RM4.05bil was arrears from borrowers who are paying up their dues but less than the agreed instalment amount, the ministry told Er Teck Hwa (DAP-Bakri) in a written reply.
According to the ministry, RM2.44bil was owed by 355,272 bumiputra students, while RM350mil was owed by 55,228 non-bumiputra students.
A total of 1,900,743 students have graduated from public universities since PTPTN was introduced in 1997.
If the loan repayments were carried out properly, the PTPTN should have collected RM18.97bil in loan repayments.
However, only RM12.13bil was collected as stated by the Ministry on Sept 30, 2017.
From the sum, RM6.55bil was collected from 970,330 bumiputra borrowers, while RM5.58bil was collected from 519,913 non-bumiputra borrowers.
In Budget 2018, the Government is extending discounts for repayment of PTPTN loans until Dec 31, 2018.
Loan borrowers will receive a 20% rebate on the outstanding debt for a full settlement; 10% for repayment of at least 50% on the outstanding debt made in a single payment; and 10% for repayment through salary deductions or scheduled direct debit.
Those intending to pursue their studies to a higher level, for example from diploma to undergraduate, may combine both loans into a single loan and repay upon completion of their studies.
The grace period for loan repayment was extended to 12 months upon completion of study, as compared to the six months period currently.