KUALA LUMPUR: The amount of money owed to the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) is RM39bil, which is almost the same as losses incurred by 1Malaysian Development Bhd (1MDB), says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic).
"That's how much money has not been paid to the Government for what it spent on you to give a good education, and therefore opportunities for a better job and income," he said in his speech during the Malaysian Student Leaders' Summit here Saturday (Aug 11).
Dr Mahathir also said that the Japanese were a role model when it comes to hardworking and successful citizens, adding that they had a strong sense of shame when they fail.
He gave a cutting remark, saying that the only time some Malaysians knew shame was when they were badly dressed or caught red-handed stealing.
Prior to the May 9 general election, Pakatan Harapan in its manifesto said it would postpone the repayment of PTPTN loans for graduates whose salaries were below RM4,000 a month and to abolish the travel blacklisting policy.
However on May 31, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik announced that borrowers who fall within this income group would have to continue repayments until the Government worked out a way to fulfil its pledge.
He said the Government had to defer the promise due to the nation's legacy debts.
On June 26, PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan announced that all 429,945 loan defaulters had been removed from the Immigration Department travel blacklist but would have to continue servicing their education loans.