GOMBAK: Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman says he does not agree to blacklisting National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan defaulters.
“I disagree with the policy to blacklist those who took up PTPTN loans, who are unemployed graduates or who are not earning a decent salary,” he said.
It was reported that PTPTN was considering a proposal to reintroduce travel bans for loan defaulters.
In a media briefing on Thursday (May 16), the PTPTN management said it was also looking at several other options to improve study loan repayments.
However, PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan said Putrajaya would have the final say on whether to impose the ban, which he added was one of the most effective means of getting defaulters to service their loans.
Syed Saddiq said that the proposal for the travel ban came up during one of the consultation sessions on how to restructure the study loan repayment scheme.
“I was informed that it was a consultation session that had to be conducted frankly, with all the views of the stakeholders before a decision is made in June.
“There are many parties involved, so we need to involve the youth, their parents and teachers in this public consultation programme,” he said at the “Are you Okay?” mental health forum at International Islamic University Malaysia on Friday (May 17).
He added that discussions between himself, Wan Saiful, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng were ongoing over the issue.
Meanwhile, the Muar MP said the responsibility of helping those with mental health issues must be shared by all in society.
Commenting on the case of a teenage girl in Sarawak who committed suicide following an Instagram poll, he said that mental health issues among the youth must be addressed.
He added that social media could be a force to promote mental health.
“Let’s start a movement on this national discourse, do a #LetsTalk campaign,” he said.
The Health Ministry mental health section’s public health physician Dr Nurashikin Ibrahim, who was present at the event, said the suicide rate in the country was about 1.2 to 1.5 per hundred thousand in population.
She acknowledged, however, that there was difficulty in collecting such data, due to the taboo of discussing suicide cases in society.
Also present was Malaysia Psychiatrist Association president Dr Hazli Zakaria.