KUALA LUMPUR: The Pakatan Harapan government does not share the blame alone for a drop of RM500 million in the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan repayments since last year as policies put in place by the Barisan Nasional government also played a role in the decrease according to Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching (pix). Teo revealed yesterday in Parliament that from June to September of this year, which is when the government had removed 429,945 PTPTN defaulters from the immigration blacklist, there has been a collection of RM817.56 million compared to almost RM1.33 billion in collections the previous year. She said that although the collections have dropped, it was also the fault of the previous government citing former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's decision when tabling the budget for 2018 in 2017 to extend the grace period for fresh graduates to repay their loans from six to 12 months. As a result, she said, loan repayments had dropped from RM351 million in January last year to RM297 million in January this year, and RM384 million in March last year to RM293 million this year. "I do not deny that there was a dip in payment when borrowers were removed from the blacklist but you cannot blame PH or the act to remove people from the blacklist as the (sole) reason for this. If you say it like that, when the former prime minister extended the grace period that was also a wrong decision. It is wrong and unfair to place all the blame on PH alone," she said. Teo was responding to a question by Khairy Jamaluddin [ Rembau-BN ] who asked her to state the amount of PTPTN loan repayment received after the blacklist was removed and the efforts to ensure that the target amount of payment is reached. After stating that they had accrued RM500 million less than last year, Khairy thanked Teo for confirming that loan repayments had gone down by that amount after the blacklist was lifted, adding that this was why errant borrowers were put on the list in the first place by the BN government. He also asked on the status of the proposal being drafted on a new mechanism for PTPTN, and the new approach to help borrowers, especially those earning below RM4,000 a month. Teo said a holistic study on the new repayment policy was completed on Sept 26 and was awaiting feedback from several government agencies following which it would be tabled in the Cabinet. She added that an announcement on the new direction for PTPTN would be made after a final decision is reached. Teo also added that matching the RM4 billion collected from loans last year would be difficult to achieve this year.