At least restore my PTPTN perks, Najib tells Pakatan

Justin Ong
Activists from Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Malaysia take part in a protest march from Universiti Malaya to Parliament in Kuala Lumpur November 13, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — The government should return previous assistance schemes for federal student loan takers even if it will not honour its own pledge to defer repayment for low-income earners, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Continuing his mockery of the Education Ministry’s policy moves, the former prime minister pointed out that he had introduced incentives for National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers that rewarded academic excellence and prompt repayment.

Borrowers who graduated with first-class honours previously had their loans converted into full scholarships, while those repaying steadily enjoyed tiered discounts depending on the level of repayment.

Najib also mooted a grace period of up to a year after graduation before repayments must begin.

“I announced all these in Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Budget 2018 last year.

“If I and the BN administration could do this with a RM280 billion Budget, there is no excuse for the Pakatan Harapan government that is proud of its over RM300 billion Budget not to do so!” he wrote on Facebook.

He then invited youths and students to join him in demanding the PH administration deliver on its pledge to defer PTPTN repayments for those earning under RM4,000 monthly.

An apologetic Wan Saiful Wan Jan said last week it was not possible to honour the pledge to delay repayment for PTPTN borrowers as Malaysia’s finances were not robust enough to support this.

Student groups responded in anger to the announcement, with the Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Malaysia (Gamis) coalition leading a protest outside Parliament this morning.

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