PTPTN blacklist should not apply to unemployed, low paid grads, says minister

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman speaks during a mental health forum at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in Kuala Lumpur May 17, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman speaks during a mental health forum at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in Kuala Lumpur May 17, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

GOMBAK, May 17 — The proposed travel ban on National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) defaulters should not apply to unemployed graduates or those who earn low wages, said Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

“My stance is clear and I have informed the Cabinet and the Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) that I will not agree with the policy to blacklist PTPTN borrowers who are unemployed or those earning undignified salaries.

“If you are earning RM1,400, RM1,200 and we have put a heavy burden on them, it will be difficult for them,” he said to the press after attending the “are you okay” mental health awareness talk at the International Islamic University of Malaysia here today.

He was responding to questions on the recent statement by PTPTN Chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan who stated that they plan to re-introduce a travel ban for PTPTN loan defaulters if the public agrees to it.

Wan Saiful, however, explained that the final decision is up to the Cabinet.

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.

“This is still the consultation phase which needs to be done in an honest manner so that everyone’s opinion will be taken into account before a final decision is made on the matter, probably in June or July,” said Syed Saddiq.

Syed Saddiq also explained that he is in discussion with Wan Saiful along with Education Minister Maszlee Malik and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng on how to tackle the situation while also drawing up future plans for PTPTN and how it could best serve graduates.