GEORGE TOWN, Dec 6 — The government is currently unable to force employers to deduct the monthly salaries of indebted workers who borrowed from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), M. Kulasegaran clarified today.
The human resources minister said Putrajaya will have to amend the National Higher Education Fund Corporation Act first before it can instruct employers to make the deductions — even though the country is in drastic need of fund injections to cope with its RM1 trillion debt.
“Employers can only deduct the salaries if the Act is amended to allow for PTPTN deductions from salaries,” he told a press conference after attending an employment law forum here.
“We need to amend the Act first to allow for this deduction, but I can’t say anything about when or whether the Act will be amended since it’s not under my ministry,” he added.
Kulasegaran was responding to a statement by Malaysian Trades Union Congress president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor that PTPTN cannot make any deduction from salaries of its borrowers without consent from them or their employers.
The minister said the country is now facing a difficult time and in need of funds.
“If we are doing very well, there’s no need to do this,” he said.
Kulasegaran pointed out that even ministers, including him, have had their salaries deducted by 10 per cent due to the country’s dire financial situation.
“This is our sacrifice, everyone has to play their part and students who borrowed from PTPTN must pay it back,” he said.
He added that if the country’s financial situation improves, there would be no need for the government to introduce PTPTN salary deductions.
“I am sure we will catch up and do very well soon,” he said about the country’s economy.
Recently, PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan announced that borrowers earning above RM2,000 a month will have their salaries deducted directly to pay for their loans.
He said it will be like the Inland Revenue Board’s system and the tiered wage garnishment scheme will start in January next year at 2 per cent for those earning between RM2,001 and RM2,499.
It will be extended to 15 per cent for those with monthly salaries of RM8,000 or more.