SHAH ALAM, Oct 5 ― The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) will continue to provide free matching grants of up to RM10,000 to low-income families (B40) participating in the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN-i).
Its chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan, said the matching grant amounting to over RM1 billion was introduced by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he was then prime minister in the 2003 Budget and was distributed to families who saved for their children's higher education through the scheme.
He added the incentive was seen as an encouragement for those in the B40 group to continue to save even though their income was small.
“This is also a government effort to ensure that the group is prepared to bear the costs of higher education. In fact, savings can start at RM20 monthly but they must be disciplined.
“As such, the public's view that (the practice) of saving is only for those with money is untrue. PTPTN is still pursuing the incentive as it benefits and supports the B40 group,” Wan Saiful told reporters after launching SSPN 2019 Savings Week here, yesterday.
The programme which is in its second year will be held over three days at 13 locations nationwide and aims to collect RM1.9 million in savings.
Meanwhile, Wan Saiful said to date, only RM2.5 million of matching grant funds had been distributed to eligible depositors since it was introduced 16 years ago and there was a balance of RM997.5 million from which the public could take advantage of.
He said among the conditions required by depositors to qualify for the grant was to have savings for a minimum period of 10 years, a maximum deposit of RM10,000, and for their child to gain admission to a higher education institution.
Earlier in his speech, Wan Saiful said since the introduction of SSPN from 2004 to August (this year), 4.2 million accounts had been opened under the scheme with a total deposit of RM5.1 billion.
However, he said the total does not equate to 10 million children and teenagers.
“More actions are needed to ensure that every parent has consistent SSPN savings for their children,” he said.
Commenting on SSPN, he said the uniqueness of the scheme is that it is the only savings plan that provides taxpayers with tax relief since 2004. It is also Shariah-compliant and provides competitive dividend rates.
In fact, he said, for this year, the government through 2019 Budget increased the tax relief rate to RM8,000 per family per year compared to just RM6,000 last year.
PTPTN had in fact, announced that more than RM1.1 million worth of gifts were offered through the promotion of the SSPN 2019 Prize Draw to encourage more people to open savings accounts including over RM151,000 in cash as well as a Proton X70 Premium.
Meanwhile, a winner of the WOW Draw! SSPN-i plus, Kartini Jasni, 32, said she chose to save through the scheme offered by PTPTN to give other students a chance to obtain an education loan like the one she had previously. ― Bernama