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KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — The public perception of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) is improving as more and more people are using it as a savings fund instead of regarding it as just an entity financing education, it was stated today.
PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan said this was evident from the doubling of deposits to RM790.93 million in the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) in the second half of last year, up from the RM340.94 million deposited between January and May 2018.
This took the total amount of deposits in SSPN last year to RM1.13 billion, the highest since it was established in 2004, and it has now become a stimulus for PTPTN to raise awareness among the people to save for their children’s education, he said.
Therefore, he said, PTPTN has targeted at least RM1 billion in deposits this year, compared to RM625 million last year, and he is confident the target can be achieved with the help of various parties motivating the public to save.
“The Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) always says it is important for us, as the government, to educate the people towards a more positive attitude, and it can be done if we do it in a focused manner,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama, at Menara PTPTN, here.
Wan Saiful said that during the Barisan Nasional era, coming to PTPTN meant obtaining a loan.
“People saw PTPTN as a financing body. That emphasis is wrong if you ask me. That’s why we are trying to change the emphasis so that PTPTN is seen as savings for education,” he said.
He said that as of February this year, the total funds deposited in SSPN, which is divided into two schemes — SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus — was RM4.68 billion, with 3.96 million depositors’ accounts.
“In the long run, if possible, we do not want students to receive a PTPTN loan repayment letter together with the degree scroll. Wouldn’t it be nice if they graduated debt-free?” he asked.
To encourage parents to open an SSPN account, PTPTN is providing various incentives including tax relief and SSPN-i Loyalty Reward which offers a 0.5 per cent dividend on deposits made from January to April, for the eligible depositors.
However, Wan Saiful believes that these incentives are only temporary, and the important thing is to raise awareness for savings among the people.
“It’s great if there are incentives, but even if there aren’t, people should still save for their children’s future,” he said. — Bernama