National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers have been reminded to fulfil their loan repayment obligations for the sake of the fund’s continuity.
PTPTN chief officer for marketing and strategic communications Mastura Mohd Khalid said borrowers facing financial constraints should seriously consider meeting its officers to negotiate new repayment structures.
She said PTPTN has already identified the loan defaulters, who include civil servants, and their names have been blacklisted in the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS), which is a Bank Negara-database system that stores financial records of Malaysian borrowers.
“We want them to realise that it’s their responsibility to repay the (study) loans they had taken from PTPTN so that it has enough funds to provide loans to other students in future,” she told Bernama in an interview.
As of May 31 this year, summons have been issued to more than 100,000 PTPTN loan defaulters while another 136,909 have been blacklisted. However, the names of 52,027 defaulters have been removed from the blacklist since then.
Defaulters were only issued summons once PTPTN had completed the standard operating procedures, which include sending them a letter of demand for payment first and then issuing up to three notices to them, Mastura said, adding that a final reminder would be issued before initiating legal action.
“There had been cases where we withdrew the summons. It all depends on the defaulters’ commitment, arrears, attitude, income and (number of) dependents. The most important thing for them to do is to keep us informed and not to run away from us,” she said.
Asked if it was fair for PTPTN to blacklist the names of the defaulters in CCRIS, Mastura said the step was necessary to ensure that the loans were repaid in a consistent manner.
Proposal studied for several years
She said PTPTN had studied the proposal to blacklist defaulters for several years before the cabinet gave its nod in October last year.
The corporation hoped that the fear of being blacklisted would deter borrowers from defaulting on their loans because their chances of securing housing or car loans, or personal loans, would diminish considerably if their names were listed in CCRIS, added Mastura.
“In November 2014 we announced that effective 2015 the names of hard-core defaulters will be listed in CCRIS. We've given them enough time to meet up with PTPTN officers to negotiate their repayment schedules,” she said.
According to Mastura, PTPTN’s collection rate was low at 46 percent.
“We only succeeded in collecting RM6 billion out of the RM13 billion due to us. We need RM5 billion each year to fund students pursuing their higher education,” she said.
To make it easier for the borrowers to pay up, PTPTN has opened counters at various public areas like supermarkets and the Tasik Selatan Integrated Terminal in Kuala Lumpur.
“We’ve also opened 60 branches throughout the nation to make it easier for the borrowers to meet us. We also have branches at the Urban Transformation Centres, which remain open until 10pm, as well as on Saturdays and Sundays,” said Mastura.