PETALING JAYA: Politicians on both sides of the divide are united in criticising and calling for a review of the controversial new repayment scheme for the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers.
The student loan borrowers took to social media to vent their frustration over the new scheme where monthly repayments are calculated based on how much they earn.
Claiming that this would increase the monthly instalment amount for middle-income earners, they said the new scheme would cut their limited disposable income further.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he received many text messages complaining about the new scheme from residents of Port Dickson, where the PKR president serves as MP.
“I will raise the concerns of the borrowers for consideration of the minister and the PTPTN chairman,” said Anwar.
On Wednesday, PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan announced the new scheme of monthly deductions for borrowers with salaries of RM2,000 and above starting Jan 1.
The deductions will range from 2% to 15% of the borrower’s salary. A borrower whose monthly salary is RM2,000 will have to pay RM40 per month while those earning RM8,000 will need to fork out RM1,200.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said he would raise the matter at the Cabinet meeting today.
“I believe we need to pay our debts, but the payment should be fair, not too burdensome ... especially to those who have been diligently paying their loans on time,” he said this in a video clip uploaded on Facebook.
Three DAP state assembly members in a joint statement said the new scheme could increase the financial burden of many borrowers, including those who have not skipped repayments.
“This scheme could affect their disposable income, and may further burden their finances,” said Dusun Tua assemblyman Edry Faizal Eddy Yusof, Ketari assemblyman Young Syefura Binti Othman, and Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lim Yi Wei.
PKR Youth chief Akmal Nasir said the matter needs to be reconsidered, and the agreements between PTPTN and the borrowers need to be reviewed.
“I hope that PTPTN would delay the collection immediately,” he said in a statement, adding he would meet with Wan Saiful to look for a better approach.
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak also took a swipe at the new scheme.
“See what the government of Pakatan Harapan has done.
“Borrowers who have been consistent in payments according to their agreements are now being punished,” he said in a posting on his Facebook page.
Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki also echoed the call to review the scheme, calling on both Wan Saiful and Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik to kembali berpijak di dunia nyata (get real).
“Stop the honeymoon, it is time to fulfil those promises made. The new PTPTN payment scheme goes against the Pakatan Rakyat manifesto and Budget 2019,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Meanwhile, MIC Youth council member Arvind Krishnan said Wan Saiful’s announcement reflects a lack of understanding and empathy on the plight of the people.
“... the truth here is, Pakatan Harapan is out of touch with the people,” he said.
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