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Monday, July 17, 2017

No need to repay PTPTN loans, says youth activist

Adam Adli defends former students who neglect education loan repayment in favour of car, housing loans for fear of losing these assets.
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PETALING JAYA: Activist Adam Adli has come out in defence of former students failing to pay their National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans.
On Saturday, Higher Education Minister Idris Jusoh had said a Bank Negara Malaysia survey showed many were paying for their housing and car loans and even credit cards but refused to pay their education loans.
Idris said action would be taken against these PTPTN loan defaulters, including blacklisting them.
“For a minister to say firm action will be taken against borrowers is not wise.
“Why do you have to ‘punish’ the graduates after they worked so hard to get a place in universities, especially public universities?” Adam told FMT.
He added that students who took PTPTN loans may not be aware of the risks they faced in being blacklisted after they finished their studies.
He said the reason some people refused to pay PTPTN loans was because they do not prioritise study loans, compared with other types of loans.
Defaulting on commercial loans will see their cars or houses being seized by the banks, Adam pointed out.
He claimed the borrowers refused to pay as a sign of protest for needing to pay for university education.
Adam, who is currently doing law, said study loans should be abolished and education must be free for everyone.
“Education should not be a business; it is a right for everyone.”
Previously, in 2012, PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli, who was then PKR strategy director, led a campaign to abolish PTPTN loans and offer free education to the people.
However, two former students do not share the same view as Adam.
Former Universiti Malaya (UM) student Khairol Najib Hashim said PTPTN borrowers had failed to get their priorities right in managing their finances.
“A loan is a loan. To skip the education loan and pay importance to other commercial loans is wrong,” he told FMT in a text message.
Another former UM student, Mohd Ammar Atan, said the borrowers should return the money as they were borrowing it.
“It is not our money, but the people’s.”
Earlier this year, PTPTN chairman Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said 663,000 borrowers had not paid back a sen.
Of these 663,000 borrowers, 19% had been blacklisted because they owed too much and would not be able to get other types of loans and will be barred from leaving the country.
Shamsul said the fund had only collected RM10.8 billion from the RM18.8 billion they had disbursed as of Jan 31.
Whatever money collected is then used to sponsor more students to complete their studies. Those who excel can have their loans turned into scholarships or get discounts. -FMT

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