Khaled: “Targeted PTPTN loan abolition for B40 borrowers not in the cards”

THE Government has no plans for a targeted abolition of National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans for borrowers from the B40 category.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin, who was responding to a question from Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal in Dewan Rakyat earlier today, clarified that a targeted programme would involve 1.84 million borrowers with loans worth RM42.3 bil.

Wan Ahmad Fayhsal had asked if the government will introduce targeted PTPTN loan abolition for B40 households and the number of borrowers who will benefit from it.

According to Khaled, the Government has been implementing a number of initiatives to ease loan repayments, including allowing postponements if the borrower is pursuing further studies or is unemployed.

The Government has further allowed loan repayments to be restructured according to the borrowers’ financial capabilities.

“[PTPTN] also provides discounts if the loan is paid in full. Loan repayments also only begin 12 months after the borrowers have completed their higher studies to give them time to earn a stable income,” Khaled explained.

Govt has no political will?

In the Parliament session today, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal also asked if Putrajaya has the political will to abolish PTPTN loans since Pakatan Harapan (PH) made a promise to do so in its 15th general election (GE15) manifesto.

In response, Khaled noted that certain political parties might have made PTPTN-related promises in their GE15 campaigns, but as a unity government comprising several coalitions, they have made the decision to focus only on issues that were mutually raised by its coalition members.

“We found that none of the coalitions [in the unity government] had ever decided to totally abolish PTPTN loan repayments,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, citing the instance when former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was able to abolish a portion of Felda settlers’ loans amounting to RM8.3 billion in July 2021, Pokok Sena MP Datuk Ahmad Yahya asked whether Putrajaya is unable to abolish PTPTN loan repayments or if they simply do not intend to do so.

Firing back at Ahmad, Khaled pointed out that none of the coalitions who once held federal power – be it PH or Perikatan Nasional (PN) – had ever decided to fully abolish PTPTN loan repayments.

He further noted that when PN’s Tasek Gelugor MP Wan Saiful Wan Jan himself did not make any move to abolish PTPTN loans when he had chaired the body from 2018 to mid-2022.

“Therefore, I think we should just quit politicising this PTPTN issue,” Khaled said. – Feb 14, 2023


Main pic credit: Bernama

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