By P PREM KUMAR & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
The National Higher Education Fund’s (PTPTN) loan defaulters will be addressed in the similar fashion like bank borrowers who fail to service their financial obligations, including being declared a bankrupt after the complete process.
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching (picture) said bank loan defaulters were not immediately blacklisted by the Immigration Department when they delayed or missed their payments with the banks.
She said these defaulters were only blacklisted when they had been declared bankrupts.
“I feel there are some inconsistencies, as when they have loans with banks, they will only be blacklisted when they are bankrupt. But for PTPTN, we immediately blacklist them when they don’t pay consistently.
“So I feel that is a little unfair for borrowers who need the money to finish their studies,” she said at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
She said Pakatan Harapan had pledged to lift the travel ban on PTPTN defaulters as it impacted their freedom of movement, which was a fundamental human right.
Teo was responding to MP Dr Azman Ismail (PKR-Kuala Kedah) who asked why the government had lifted the overseas travel ban, and if there were any effective ways to force the borrowers to pay their study loans.
She said the government will be consistent in its approaches towards loan defaulters.
“Just because we are the government, we cannot act on a whim. So if we need to bankrupt a borrower to include them in the blacklist, we will do it in the future,” she said.
Teo said recently PTPTN collaborated with the Immigration Department to release 429,945 PTPTN borrowers from the blanket travel ban.
She said the removal of the names of borrowers started on May 24 and was fully completed on June 8, 2018.
Teo, however, said all borrowers should continue to repay their study loans in a consistent manner to avoid a bad record in Bank Negara Malaysia’s credit record Central Credit Reference Information System.
All measures to encourage PTPTN repayments introduced by the previous government would be maintained, she stressed.
Among the measures are a 20% discount on full-loan settlement, 10% discount on settlement of at least half of the total loan and 10% discount on monthly repayments made consistently on schedule via payroll method or direct debit.
Meanwhile, the government is studying five federal laws to be repealed, in line with its pledges before the 14th General Election.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the five laws were the Sedition Act 1948, Prevention of Crime Act 1959, Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, and the National Security Council Act 2016.
Liew said detailed studies would be conducted by the relevant ministries, departments and agencies on whether these laws need to be repealed, amended or replaced.
Besides the five, Liew said the government will table motions to repeal the Goods and Services Tax Act 2014 and the Anti-Fake News Act 2018, in the current Dewan Rakyat sitting which ends in the next three weeks.
“The new government strives to ensure harmony among Malaysians. There have been complaints and concerns from them of certain draconian and colonial laws,” Liew said in a written parliamentary reply yesterday.
He was responding to MP Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Kepong) who asked the government to state the laws which will be repealed by the new government and the rationale behind such move.
Liew said the government will constantly ensure an effective check and balance through court review provisions and media freedom in the country.