Higher Education Minister Idris Jusoh has called on the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) not to ‘victimise’ loan defaulters, while reminding the defaulters that they had to settle their loans anyway.
He has pledged to personally help those who had been victimised if the loan debtors sought his assistance to resolve their financial constraints.
The minister has issued directives to the PTPTN not to take action against those who had started paying back or had restructured their loans.
But, he reminded those took up PTPTN loans that it was “their responsibility to pay back the amount.”
“Should debtors have difficulties in servicing their loans, they can meet PTPTN officials to discuss the matter.”
According to a study on PTPTN borrowers, they defaulted on their repayments due to other commitments such as having to service other loans.
Speaking after opening the 18th International Conference for University Administrators 2016 in Kuala Terengganu on Sunday, Idris said the initial target of collecting RM2bil had been achieved and that PTPTN was now focusing on collecting RM3bil this year.
Due to various initiatives by PTPTN, he said there were positive signs as more loan defaulters have started to repay their loans.
Now, he said PTPTN was able to collect back an average of RM200mil a month.
He said borrowers were becoming more aware of their responsibilities and the need to pay back.
The increase in repayments was seen since January this year and the amount started increasing steadily from April.
Since PTPTN was set up in 1997, there are now 2.49 million borrowers.
A total of RM56.4bil have been given out as loans while RM8bil have been retrieved.
About 1.3 million PTPTN borrowers were listed under the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) because they had failed to service their study loans on time.
Once blacklisted in CCRIS, the borrowers could be deemed a “bad paymaster” and this could lead to financial institutions denying them loans or other credit facilities.