Only two out of 2.8m PTPTN borrowers declared bankrupt since 1997

KUALA LUMPUR: Only two out of the 2.8 million borrowers of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans declared bankrupt since the establishment of the institution in 1997.

Its chairman, Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, said the bankruptcy declarations had to be made after the borrowers failed to comply with the court decisions.

Shamsul Anuar, who is also Umno Welfare Bureau chairman, said this fact had refuted the allegation made by some quarters, especially the opposition, that the PTPTN was a cruel institution because it had strong tendency to declare its errant borrowers bankrupt.

"In comparison to other financial institutions providing loans to students, PTPTN is the most flexible, lenient and easiest to negotiate with," he told the media at the Umno Welfare Bureau, here today.

On PTPTN borrowers listed in the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS), he said it was the normal policy practiced by financial institutions in the country.

Surprised by disgruntled voices over PTPTN's moves despite scores of other institutions doing similar actions (declaring individuals bankrupt), Shamsul Anuar said that the opposition wanted to manipulate the PTPTN issue to attract the attention of younger generations that formed the majority of PTPTN borrowers.

"The opposition's way of looking at PTPTN is changing slightly now. In the 2013 general election, Pandan Member of Parliament Rafizi Ramli used the PTPTN to attack the government, by promising to abolish PTPTN that if they won then, but now he wants PTPTN to remain but needs some changes," he said.

Touching on the issue of the travel ban, Shamsul Anuar said it was in line with Section 22A of the PTPTN Act 1997 (Act 566), which allowed PTPTN to blacklist the borrowers.

However, he said, thus far only 17% or 479,067 borrowers were blacklisted from traveling abroad.

"PTPTN believes that those who travel abroad are those who can afford to make PTPTN loan repayment. It was proven when a total of RM1.54 billion has been collected by PTPTN from those who made the repayments after their names were blacklisted," he said, adding that the amount was adequate to finance 64,000 students until they graduate. — Bernama