KUALA TERENGGANU: Whilst National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan defaulters should pay up, they should not be victimised in any way, says Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.
The Higher Education Minister said he had instructed PTPTN not to take action against those who had started paying back or had restructured their loans.
“If there is anyone who have been victimised, please come forward and I will personally help the person.
“However, they must bear in mind that when they took up a loan, it is their responsibility to pay back the amount.
“Should debtors have difficulties in servicing their loans, they can meet PTPTN officials to discuss the matter,” he said after opening the 18th International Conference for University Administrators 2016 here yesterday.
Idris said according to a study on PTPTN borrowers, they defaulted on their repayments due to other commitments such as having to service other loans.
He said the initial target of collecting RM2bil has been achieved and that PTPTN was now focusing on collecting RM3bil this year.
“Due to various initiatives by PTPTN, there are positive signs as more loan defaulters have started to repay their loans.
“Now, PTPTN is able to collect back an average of RM200mil a month,” he said, adding that borrowers were becoming more aware of their responsibilities and the need to pay back.
Idris said the increase in repayments was seen since January this year and the amount started increasing steadily from April.
Since PTPTN was set up in 1997, there are now 2.49 million borrowers.
A total of RM56.4bil have been given out as loans while RM8bil have been retrieved.
On Saturday, The Star reported that about 1.3 million PTPTN borrowers were listed under the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) because they had failed to service their study loans on time.
Its deputy chief executive officer (policy and operations) Mastura Mohd Khalid said once blacklisted in CCRIS, the borrowers could be deemed a “bad paymaster” and this could lead to financial institutions denying them loans or other credit facilities.
Meanwhile, PTPTN’s chief executive officer Wan Ahmad Wan Yusof when met at the “Jalinan Mesra PTPTN – Besut, said there were already available avenues for defaulters.
“Currently, we see that the most preferred method is online banking. What the defaulters can do is that they can call PTPTN to discuss and negotiate without having to be physically present at the office,” he said.