The government has no plans to do away with the repayment of National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans for those in the B40 and lower income bracket due to the number of individuals and value of allocations involved, Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin said today.
He said preliminary estimates by PTPTN showed that the proposed cancellation of targeted loans to these groups would involve 1.84 million borrowers with cancellations amounting to RM42.34 billion.
Nevertheless, he said, the government is working to facilitate the repayment of PTPTN loans for these individuals.
"Measures include the deferment of repayments for those who are continuing their studies or who have yet to find a job," he said in response to an oral question from Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fahysal Wan Ahmad on the introduction of a targeted debt cancellation programme for those in these groups.
"Secondly, the structuring or rescheduling of loans according to the borrowers' ability.
"Thirdly, discounts on repayment loans if full repayments are made in a lump sum. And fourthly, repayments only after 12 months of the borrowers completing their studies, to give them the space to prepare."
Wan Ahmad Fahysal had asked if the government possessed the political will to write off PTPTN debts, which he said had been promised in Pakatan Harapan's (PH) election manifesto for the 15th general election.
Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli however denied that PH had offered to cancel PTPTN debts, saying the former youth and sports minister was attempting to cause confusion in the Dewan Rakyat.
Khaled meanwhile said it was possible that parties had made such offers in their manifestos, adding however that the present government consists of multiple coalitions.
"Our stand is that we will only utilise the manifestos that contain the same or similar issues," he said.
"And we have found that none of the parties in the coalition government offer the same things when it comes to PTPTN debts."