KUALA LUMPUR: A coalition of student groups is protesting the repayment policy for the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) at Parliament.
They submitted a memorandum to the Education Minister in Parliament to oppose the 2019 Budget's policy on PTPTN.
A representative of Mahasiswa Malaysia 2018, Amirul Syafiq Che Ajizi, said students interests, especially on PTPTN, had not been protected in the 2019 Budget.
"We want the Education Ministry to review the policy that borrowers must start to service their PTPTN loan as soon as they have a salary of more than RM1,000," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.
The Pakatan Harapan government had earlier allowed deferment of PTPTN loan repayments for borrowers earning less than RM4,000 a month, to reduce the people's financial burdens.
However, during the tabling of Budget 2019 on Nov 2, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the repayment of loans would be ensured through salary deductions of debtors earning more than RM1,000 monthly. The deductions will range from 2% to 15%, depending on how high the salary is.
He also noted that students who graduated with a First Class honours can no longer convert their loans to a scholarship.
"Students were told that only those belonging to the bottom 40% (B40) group will get a discount, but not a full scholarship," he said.
He said the abolishment of the 1Malaysia Undergraduates Discount Cards (KADS1M) for students had further burdened students across the country.
Other demands in the memorandum include, an even distribution of students training schemes, aid for those aged 21 and above who earn less than RM2,000, and special discounts for PTPTN borrowers.
Meanwhile, Umno vice-president and Bera MP Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, who was present at the press conference, said the issues will be raised during the Budget debates.
"I hope all the matters involving PTPTN loans can be included as part of an additional Budget to help the students.
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