GEORGE TOWN, May 17 ― The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) is only gauging public sentiment on banning defaulters from leaving the country, Education Minister Maszlee Malik said today.
He said that to his knowledge, the agency was not immediately proposing to restore the measure and urged it to be clear about the matter.
“I feel PTPTN needs to explain to the media so that there is no misunderstanding,” he told reporters in a press conference after visiting SJKT Sungai Ara this morning.
Noting that the agency was still holding public consultations, he said those with views on the matter should present them to the agency.
Maszlee was responding when asked about news reports quoting PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan as saying they would reintroduce the travel ban for defaulters if the public agrees to it.
However, Wan Saiful said the will be brought to the Cabinet for final a decision.
Yesterday, PTPTN launched its public consultation initiative in the form of an online survey.
The public consultations to get feedback on its study loan repayment scheme will run until June 13.
Wan Saiful was criticised today over the news reports suggesting the travel ban for loan defaulters would return.
Seberang Jaya assemblyman Dr Afif Bahardin likened the proposal to restoring the previous Barisan Nasional government’s policies and rejected the travel ban outright.
“I would like to remind him that this PTPTN issue was a ‘rallying cry’ for Pakatan Harapan Youth in the 14th general election, in which we have galvanized the youth in nationwide so that PTPTN can find a better formula for the future,” he said in a statement today directed at Wan Saiful.
He claimed the issue was among deciding factors for youths who support Pakatan Harapan (PH) and led to the coalition’s win last general election.
“This proposal also is akin to betraying the early struggle of Pakatan Harapan youth,” he said, suggesting Wan Saiful step down if he could not deliver.
Dr Afif also urged Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to intervene in the matter, saying PH must keep its promise to ensure the younger generation is not further burdened by high cost of living.
In its election manifesto, PH pledged to defer study loan repayments for PTPTN borrowers until their monthly salaries reached RM3,000 but the coalition has postponed this after citing the poor state of the government’s finances.
However, it discontinued the travel ban previously imposed on defaulters.