National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) deputy CEO Mastura Mohd Khalid revealed yesterday, 16 May, that a travel ban was the most successful method to recover loans from defaulters
The revelation was made at the launch of Konsultasi Rakyat, a PTPTN public consultation programme which will go on until 13 June.
"More than two-thirds of PTPTN defaulters started repaying their loans after we imposed the travel ban," Mastura said, reported Malaysiakini.
"However, this method was stopped as it created an inconvenience, as defaulters were stopped (from leaving the country) at exit points," she explained.
Other suggested methods of ensuring repayment of loans included barring defaulters from renewing various documents - such as passports, driving licenses, road tax, and business licenses, - mandatory pay deductions, stricter enforcement, and implementing a guarantor system.
At the event, PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan said the travel ban could be reinstated if that was the wish of the public
"During engagement sessions (with stakeholders), there were discussions on the effectiveness of the travel ban," he said, reported Malaysiakini.
"There were also views that action should be continued against hardcore defaulters to ensure that they would be more responsible. However, we take the middle ground in this consultation. We will gather all the ideas from the people and then the government will make the decision."
However, the comments by Wan Saiful have led many to believe that PTPTN would be bringing back the travel ban for defaulters
Penang executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin had slammed the move as "bringing back a culture from the BN era", reported Malaysiakini.
"I would like to remind him that this PTPTN issue was a rallying cry for Harapan Youth in the 14th general election, where we galvanised youths nationwide so that PTPTN can find a better formula for the future," the PKR assemblyman said.
"The PTPTN issue also became one of the deciding factors for the youth of the nation to swing their support and votes towards Harapan and consequently topple BN."
Meanwhile, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim called for a leeway to be given before implementing a travel ban on defaulters.
"I will support the people's will, and I feel that the public will disagree with any harsh actions, especially for those who have yet to get a job," the Port Dickson MP said, reported The Star.
"They took a loan, buy they do not have any work yet. Why do we want to burden them, that is my view."
Earlier today, 17 May, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik clarified PTPTN travel ban was merely a suggestion based on public feedback
New Straits Times reported Dr Maszlee saying, "The travel ban suggestion did not come from PTPTN itself."
He explained that the suggestion to reimpose the travel ban was made during a public consultation on loan repayments.
The public can also make their voices heard by leaving their suggestions at the Konsultasi Rakyat portal.
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