A staggering number of Malaysians are prohibited from leaving the country mainly due to the fact that they owe various government agencies money. Immigration Director General Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali had recently informed that of the nearly 800,000 Malaysians blacklisted and barred from leaving the country loan defaulters of the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) made up the largest percentage. This is a recurring topic in contemporary Malaysia.

Despite efforts by the government to encourage more people to pay off their student loans’ it remains a problem. For the 2018 budget the government had announced a 20 percent discount to those who pay off their loans in full or a 10 percent discount for those who settle at least 50 percent of their loan. Markedly over the past few years the government has been making such allowances for PTPTN borrowers in the form of discounts. Yet there are still errant loan defaulters.

Asides from imposing international travel bans and offering discounts on the loans the government has not considered any other measures in its attempt to collect money owed. Perhaps the time has come for the government to take its efforts a step further. There are suggestions to now make monthly deductions from the salaries of borrowers. Presently employees are subject to SOCSO, EPF and income tax deductions. In a similar vein the monthly deductions of one’s salary should go towards paying off PTPTN loans. Why should the government be lenient towards those who have enjoyed a tertiary education?

The future generations of students hangs in the balance because those before them are selfish and downright malicious. It is high time the government takes a more stringent approach to the PTPTN matter. It can no longer rely on the present measures given the lackadaisical attitude of PTPTN borrowers.


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