GEORGETOWN: The idea to reintroduce the travel ban on loan defaulters of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) did not come from the corporation. Education Minister Dr Maszlee said the suggestion was made during a public consultation hosted by the PTPTN.

“From what I see, PTPTN wanted a public consultation. They wanted to get public opinion on several matters. They wanted suggestions from the public consultation.

“It was not their idea but when the media asked him (PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan) about it, his answer implied so. In my opinion, PTPTN should explain to the media so that such misunderstandings do not occur,” he told reporters after visiting Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) Sungai Ara near here yesterday.

On Thursday, the fund’s deputy chief executive Mastura Mohd Khalid said stricter enforcement to be imposed on loan defaulters who had not serviced their loans for a long period of time was one of the 10 ideas obtained from the consultation on the mechanism for repayment of PTPTN loans.

Mastura said the idea came from round-table discussions with stakeholders including financial experts, members of Parliament and students from January until March, leading to a six-step enforcement suggestion which included a proposal to bar defaulters from renewing their passports, driving licences and road tax.

Seberang Jaya assemblyman Dr Afif Bahardin said the proposal to reintroduce travel restrictions abroad was something that Wan Saiful should not consider.

“I wish to remind Wan Saiful that the PTPTN issue was a rallying cry for the Pakatan Harapan Youth before the 14th General Election who wanted PTPTN to look for a more effective formula.

“It is also one of the determining factors for the youth in this country to change their support to Pakatan Harapan and then topple the Barisan Nasional’s kleptocratic regime in the last general election,” he said in a statement.

Dr Afif urged Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to intervene as the issue involves a promise made by Pakatan Harapan and the aspirations of young people who do not want to see the cost of living becoming a burden on future generations. – Bernama