KUALA LUMPUR: The salary threshold for National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) monthly salary deductions for borrowers has been increased to RM2,000 and above, says Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching.
"In order to ease the burden on PTPTN borrowers, the Cabinet has decided at its meeting on Nov 23 (Friday) that the mandatory salary deductions of 2%, or RM40 a month, will be imposed on PTPTN borrowers earning a monthly RM2,000 and above.
"The salary deduction will increase progressively to 15%," she said when answering a question raised by Wong Kah Woh (PH-Ipoh Timur) in Parliament on Friday (Nov 27).
Teo also said the Cabinet agreed to exempt loan repayments of students who obtained first class honours under the middle income M40 group similar to the lower income B40 group.
She said this entitlement to convert their loans into scholarships applies to students from both private and public institutions of higher learning.
"As for those under the T20 (high income) group, we hope they will continue to repay their loans, as they come from affluent families," she said.
As of October this year, Teo said that a total of 53,113 students with first class honours were exempted from repaying their loans.
She said this involved 37,355 students from public universities and 15,758 students from private universities.
During the Budget 2019 announcement on Nov 2, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said that mandatory salary deductions of between 2% and 15% would be imposed on borrowers earning a monthly salary of RM1,000 and above.
The Cabinet's decision to its PTPTN policy comes a day after students from Mahasiswa Malaysia 2018 held a protest march to Parliament on Nov 22 to hand in a memorandum to the government.
The group said students’ interests, especially on PTPTN, had not been protected in the Budget 2019.
Among 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.