Syed Saddiq vows to bring PTPTN concerns to Cabinet’s attention

Yiswaree Palansamy
The minister made his thoughts known via a video posted on his official Twitter account today. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman pledged to raise public complaints about the National Higher Education Fund Corporation’s (PTPTN) wage garnishment scheme at the weekly Cabinet meeting tomorrow.

In a video posted on Twitter, the Muar MP said that while it is imperative for borrowers to repay what they owe, the proposed deduction rates must be reasonable.

“Tomorrow, at the Cabinet committee meeting, I will bring forth your voices, so this case can be reviewed again, because I believe that while we must pay the debt — definitely pay the debt — the payment has to be fair, to help the youths, so as to not burden them too much.

“Especially for youths who have been repaying PTPTN all this while, after negotiating with PTPTN, abiding by the terms and paying on time,” Syed Saddiq said, also thanking the youths for their views on the matter.

PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan announced yesterday that his agency will garnish the wages of borrowers earning above RM2,000 monthly at tiered rates ranging from 2 per cent to 15 per cent.

The announcement also follows the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s decision to break its previous pledge for federal student loan takers to defer repayment until they begin earning over RM4,000 a month.

The proposal has drawn criticism from both sides of the political divide as well as from employers and employees.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Abdul Halim Mansor questioned the legality of the scheme, saying the law only permitted mandatory wage cuts for selected statutory bodies such as the Inland Revenue Board (IRB), the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the proposal was complicated and burdensome on private firms as it was unlike income tax and EPF deductions that were applicable to all employees.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran also confirmed today that employers could not be forced to collect the payments on behalf of PTPTN without the necessary legal amendments.

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