In early May 2019, the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) chairperson Wan Saiful Wan Jan said he hoped that the new education loan repayment scheme will be revealed by the end of the month.
On May 16, PTPTN deputy CEO (policy and operations) Mastura Mohd Khalid announced that the travel blacklist on loan defaulters might return. The blacklist was lifted in June 2018, a month after Pakatan Harapan’s victory in GE-14, with over 400,000 defaulters “whitelisted”.
PTPTN received public backlash over Mastura’s statement for going against PH’s promise of easing the burden of PTPTN borrowers. According to PH’s ’10 promises in 100 days’, it was written that PTPTN borrowers who earn less than RM4,000 a month can delay their loan repayment.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail said that the travel ban is inappropriate, stating that the government has yet to make any decision and a review need to be conducted on the old method.
Additionally, PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also opposes the blacklisting of loan defaulters. He said that such method will put too much pressure on loan defaulters as some of them don’t even have a job. Thus, he urges PTPTN to give more time and space for its borrowers.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq said that he will oppose the proposal of the blacklist method if it were to be proposed in the Parliament. Syed Saddiq disagrees on the travel ban with a similar reason. Not all graduates are employed or have a decent salary, thus the travel ban on them is inappropriate.
Nevertheless, Mastura’s statement of bringing back the old method is just a suggestion to gather feedback from the public. It has yet to be discussed in the Cabinet meeting. This misunderstanding was clarified by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.
Politicians attacking the method can be seen as overreacting. But the PH politicians’ rejection will serve as a countermeasure to the pre-emptive move made by PTPTN to bring back the travel ban. From the negative public reaction, it is unlikely for the travel blacklist method to return.