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Rising debt among youth is worrying
None | 17 Nov 2017 00:30
The increasing number of young debt defaulters is deeply disturbing. It was reported that 410,500 students who had borrowed RM2.8 bil from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) have not repaid a single sen.

Another disturbing news is 24,145 young people below age 35 have been declared bankrupt since 2013. 

The PTPTN seems to be facing an uphill task getting defaulters to pay up. Perhaps the loan defaulters have a false sense of confidence PTPTN will eventually waive their debt since no action has been taken so far. Many of the defaulters graduated 5-12 years ago. 

In 2015, PTPTN began listing loan defaulters in Bank Negara’s Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS). 

Despite the repercussions of being blacklisted, some hardcore defaulters are still not keen to settle their loans. This is because despite being blacklisted on CCRIS, they can still obtain loans from cooperatives and other sources. 

If PTPTN is serious in recovering its loans, it must blacklist defaulters in private credit bureau agencies as well. It is time to take off the kid gloves when dealing with loan defaulters. 

Another worrying trend is the increasing number of young people being declared bankrupt. Government statistics show that 24,145 of them have been declared bankrupt since 2013. 

That’s an average 16.5 young people going bankrupt daily! Most of them defaulted on credit card debts and personal loans from banks.

If young people are our future leaders, what kind of nation will we become if they are irresponsible in managing their personal debts? How then can they manage the nation’s debts? 

Perhaps the rising cost of living and low wages may be affecting them badly, but that is not an excuse as it reflects poor financial mismanagement. They must put their house in order. 

They have no excuse to spend beyond their means. And once they have incurred a debt, they must pay up.

The Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) of Bank Negara has so far done a commendable job in educating and counselling thousands of borrowers who need help managing their debts. Through AKPK, more than 10,000 have paid off their debts. 

Let’s hope others facing similar problems will seek help and counselling rather than going bankrupt or getting blacklisted in CCRIS. 

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