PETALING JAYA: The Cabinet can’t make fair informed decisions on the best possible policies for the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan repayment if the people do not contribute their views, says PTPTN’s Public Consultation Independent Advisory Panel.
The wider public – not just past and present PTPTN borrowers – have a responsibility to weigh in on the matter that is of “national importance”, said the panel’s chairman Sheikh Shahruddin Sheikh Salim in a statement.
“Since the launch on May 16, PTPTN’s public consultation
portal had garnered 180,163 visitors, but only 18,862 submissions of feedback had been recorded
“The public consultation initiative was carried out to ensure
that diverse segments of the public are represented to aid the Cabinet to make fair and balanced decisions that will not satisfy one group at the expense of another,” he said.
The panel’s public consultation town hall sessions – organised to capture feedback on the 10 ideas for loan repayment, promote understanding and address queries – concluded on May 31 at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.
Sheikh Shahruddin, who is also Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd head of Group Bank Operations, said there was some misunderstanding that the public had which the panel was able to correct during the town halls.
“The most common misinformation the public had were the government promising borrowers that they don’t have to pay back the loan, and the call for the abolishment of PTPTN as part of the government’s campaign manifesto for GE14,” he said.
Noting that the deferment of PTPTN’s repayment until a borrower’s salary reaches RM4,000 was part of Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto in GE14, Sheikh Shahruddin said: “The Cabinet will deliberate how far they can achieve the deferment promise when the panel submits its final proposal with the public feedback.”
Rubbishing the assumption that there was no need to pay back the loan, he said: “It was a matter of paying now or pay later in your late 30s, but never about not paying, which is a rampant assumption.”
He explained that should the salary threshold of RM4,000 be introduced, PTPTN’s collection would fall by a third to only RM950mil a year as 68% of PTPTN borrowers earn below that figure.
“The paper also projected that a fresh graduate, with a starting salary of RM2,000 and an annual increment of 5%, will take 15 years to earn RM4,000,” he said.
On the calls for PTPTN’s abolishment, Sheikh Shahruddin said the public was free to make that proposal provided they know and accept the potential impact or have better ideas to deal with the consequences.
“Discontinuation of PTPTN would mean the private sector stepping in to provide higher education loans.
“Commercial loans with stricter approvals will likely sideline students from the B40 group.
“Their higher interest rates (compared to PTPTN’s 1% Ujrah) will further burden future borrowers,” he said.
The public can contribute their feedback via https://www.ptptn.gov.my/kertas-konsultasi-rakyat, before the portal closes on