Before the 14th general election (GE14), Pakatan Harapan listed ten promises to be fulfilled in its “10 promises in 100 days” pledge, one of them being lifting off the travel ban forced upon National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) defaulters.
In June last year, PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan announced that 429,945 defaulters were cleared from the immigration blacklist.
Now that the promise has been kept, PH seems to be clueless in continuing its venture to ease up the burdens of borrowers while ensuring the sustainability of the fund.
In connection to this, PTPTN introduced a loan repayment scheme, known as regular salary deduction or Potongan Gaji Berjadual (PGB) as an initiative to urge the borrowers to repay their loans. PGB was scheduled to begin in January 2019.
However, Education Minister Maszlee Malik announced that PGB had to be postponed following the feedbacks and objections from various parties.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq described it as “burdensome”, while UMNO Khairy Jamaluddin called it “unfair”.
With no penalty of delay in payment, the PTPTN loan repayment dropped. As reported in October 2018, there was a 39% drop in PTPTN loan repayment, forcing PTPTN to take a further step.
Recently, Wan Saiful told the media that the government is still looking for a solution to counter the problem. One of the many ideas is to reintroduce the travel blacklist, though that is just what it is for now: an idea.