REPORTS by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and LOSHANA K SHAGAR
It is unfair for National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers who default on repayments to be put on a travel ban when banking institutions do not impose similar restrictions, said Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching.
Teo said freedom of movement is a basic right and this was why the Government removed PTPTN defaulters from the travel blacklist.
She said a travel ban would be unfair to PTPTN defaulters.
“Those who owe money to banks do not get their names blacklisted by the Immigration Department if they are inconsistent or stop their repayment.
“Their names are only blacklisted when they are declared bankrupt.
“So we need to be consistent on this. Just because we are the Government, it doesn’t mean we can do things at our whims and fancy,” she said in reply to a supplementary question from Dr Azman Ismail (PH-Kuala Kedah) who asked if there was any effective way to ensure PTPTN borrowers repay their loans.
Teo said proper procedures would be followed, including first declaring defaulters as bankrupts, if there is a need to bar them from leaving the country.
She said PTPTN with the cooperation of the Immigration Department had removed 429,945 defaulters from the travel blacklist.
She however said that all borrowers are encouraged to repay their loans consistently to avoid their names from being listed under the Central Credit Reference Information System.
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