PETALING JAYA: Politicians from both sides of the divide have called for a review of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan repayment scheme.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (pic) said, "I believe we need to pay forward our debts. But the payment should be fair, not burdensome... especially to those who have been diligently paying their loans on time."
In a video clip on his Facebook page on Thursday (Dec 6), Syed Saddiq said that he had received feedback on the scheme known as "potongan gaji berkala" (regular salary deductions or PGB), and would bring this matter up at the Cabinet meeting on Friday (Dec 7).
PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan had announced that borrowers will see their salaries being deducted every month to repay their study loans.
The scheme would only apply to those earning above RM2,000, with a deduction between 2% and 15%, depending on the salary bracket.
In a joint statement by three DAP lawmakers - Dusun Tua assemblyman Edry Faizal Eddy Yusof, Ketari assemblyman Young Syefura Binti Othman, and Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lim Yi Wei - the trio said that many people have told them that the deduction scheme will affect their current payment plans.
"This scheme could affect their disposable income, and may further burden their finances," they said.
PKR Youth chief Akmal Nasir said that the matter needs to be reconsidered, and the agreement between PTPTN and the borrowers need to be reviewed.
"I hope that PTPTN will delay the PGB collection immediately," he said in a statement, adding that he would meet with Wan Saiful to look for a better approach over the matter.
Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki also asked for a review of the scheme.
He called on both Wan Saiful and Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik to "return back to the real world".
"Stop the honeymoon, and it is time to fulfil those promises made."
In a Facebook post, he said the new PTPTN payment scheme goes against the Pakatan Harapan manifesto and Budget 2019.
Umno's Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted that he hopes the Cabinet will look into the scheme and delay its implementation.
"This is most unfair (about the scheme). I hope the government backtracks on this. Those with existing payment agreements will have to probably pay much more under this new PTPTN payment scheme," said the Rembau MP.
Meanwhile, MIC Youth Council member Arvind Krishnan said Wan Saiful's announcement clearly reflects a sore lack of understanding and empathy on the realities of the workforce, especially the B40 (lower 40%) group.