KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 — The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) cannot afford to honour Pakatan Harapan’s pledge for borrowers to defer repayment until they earn over RM4,000 monthly, said an apologetic Wan Saiful Wan Jan.
In a public apology during the closing ceremony of the 10th Federation of Malay Students Union (GPMS) General Meeting, the PTPTN chairman said he felt personally responsible as he personally included the promise in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) election manifesto.
“The public has demanded the government to fulfil its promise to allow those who earn less than RM4,000 a month a deferment in paying their loans. I’ve been trying to find a solution and keep this promise for months with the assistance of PTPTN’s management.
“Today, I apologise because we cannot fulfil this promise,” he said.
The Perlis PPBM chief said when he was drawing up the manifesto, he did not realise the extent of the government’s debts.
He also added that the RM40 billion still owed to PTPTN will be a burden on a national level and that failure to repay this would deny future students from pursuing their tertiary education.
Wan Saiful then admitted that PH made a mistake when making this particular promise as they lacked the necessary data at that point in time.
“I promise that to make it (the repayment) as easy as possible. Our principle to not burden low income youths still remain the same.
“God willing, I will make an announcement soon, but as a first step I would like to apologise and at the same time ask for your permission to move forward from this unfulfilled promise,” said Wan Saiful.
He also urged his colleagues in the government to be more transparent regarding the promises made in Buku Harapan.
Wan Saiful said it was about time PH party leaders make a serious decision on which promise the coalition can deliver early on, which need rescheduling, and which promise will be broken.
“Maybe now we have new information allowing us to know the extent of the damage left behind by Umno and Barisan Nasional, which stops us from achieving what we want.
“Even though we try our best to fulfil our promises and save our country there will almost certainly be promises we cannot keep as more information is revealed,” he said.
PH has already said it cannot deliver on its pledge to abolish tolls while Education Minister Maszlee Malik said today that the government will only amend the University and University Colleges Act 1971 instead of repealing it as promised.