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PTPTN victimises the youth

I am deeply disturbed by reports that graduates who have defaulted or have had poor repayment rates on loans from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) are now finding it difficult to buy cars, homes or apply for credit cards.

This is as a result of the PTPTN sending their records to the Credit Central Reference Information System (CCRIS) database.

The PTPTN is of course only doing what it must to recover the MYR8.3 billion of its unpaid loans.

At the same time, everyone must be responsible for their just debts.

Nevertheless, this development highlights yet again how the mismanagement of Malaysia’s economy has stacked the odds against young Malaysians.

It is too easy to place all the blame on the shoulders of the young graduates. But this ignores the fact that maintaining a decent standard of living—to say nothing of social mobility—is becoming a remote prospect in our country.

Thanks to government cutbacks, it is increasingly difficult for young Malaysians to obtain higher education without the PTPTN and other loans.

Also, the fact that a car is almost a necessity of life in urban Malaysia means that their being blacklisted via the CCRIS will make it harder for them to obtain well-paying jobs which can help them pay off their debts.

It is also disturbing that PTPTN encourages loan payments through EPF withdrawals. With pension being another worry for Malaysians, this scheme is highly ridiculous.

It would seem that many young Malaysians are now at risk of being trapped in a vicious cycle of debt—if not already, and it may well prolong until after retirement.

Meanwhile the reasoning by PTPTN Chairman, Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, that the blacklist is to encourage the loan payment shows how ignorant they are about the current plight of the younger generation, i.e. increased living expenses and the pressure on the people to make ends meet on a daily basis.

It’s clear that Malaysia desperately needs to radically revamp our present higher education funding model.

Also employers need to start raising wages, especially for the so-called “Bottom 40” segment. Bosses who do so can and should be rewarded with tax breaks.

In fact, our county needs a complete economic overhaul, to ensure that opportunities are made available to all our people.

What is needed for all of this to happen is for Malaysians to elect a government that is willing to prioritize the people, rather than its own political survival.

Voters in Sarawak should lead the way in rejecting the failed policies of the past come 7 May 2016, which have done nothing to ensure a better life for all Malaysians.